Monday, April 14, 2014

Art Walkabout "Street Photography"

Don Mangus, Street 1, iPhone photograph, 2014


Don Mangus, Street 2, iPhone photograph, 2014


Don Mangus, Street 3, iPhone photograph, 2014


Don Mangus, Street 4, iPhone photograph, 2014


Don Mangus, Street 5, iPhone photograph, 2014




Friday, April 11, 2014

Art Walkabout iPhone Photos

Here are some more art walkabout iPhone photos I have lensed recently:

Don Mangus, Lakewood Theatre, iPhone photo, 2014


Don Mangus, Highland Park Pharmacy, iPhone photo, 2014


Don Mangus, L Street Traffic Sign Shadow, iPhone photo, 2014


Don Mangus, Knox Street Walkabout 1, iPhone photo, 2014


Don Mangus, Hillside Walkabout 1, iPhone photo, 2014


Don Mangus, L Street Walkabout 7, iPhone photo, 2014





Thursday, April 10, 2014

Life Gets Better As You Get Older

Here's Scientific Proof That Life Gets Better As You Get Older

In the game of life, is it all downhill as young adulthood turns into maturity? Our culture of youth obsession and celebration of the college years and 20s as the golden years of one's life has led many of us to believe that our happiness declines as we age. Some (rather depressing) research has found that 80 percent of life's defining moments by the age of 35 -- suggesting that there may not be much to look forward to in the second half of life.
But this couldn't be further from the truth. The concentration of life's major events in adolescence and early adulthood may not be anything to feel discouraged about -- and it certainly doesn't mean that happiness and life satisfaction decline as we get older. In fact, a growing body of research has proven that we're wrong to think that happiness is correlated with youth. A wealth of scientific and anecdotal evidence demonstrates precisely that it's when people have surpassed many of life's big landmarks that their overall satisfaction and happiness peaks.
Our culture of YOLO and Botox may valorize youth and instill in us a fear and distaste of aging, but this attitude doesn't come close to reflecting the reality of getting older -- and we'd do well to celebrate the ways that life improves as we age.
Here are six scientifically-proven reasons that happiness and aging go hand in hand.
Happiness peaks at 69.
old couple
A highly-publicized recent study suggested that there might be two major peaks of life satisfaction -- one in the early 20s and one in old age. Specifically, the ages of 23 and 69were found to be the happiest years. After the early 20s, happiness was generally found to decline until the mid-50s, after which point it increased again into the 80s.
Other studies (notably, a large 2010 Gallup poll) have corroborated this finding, suggesting that happiness tends to be positively linked with age. Though it may sound counterintuitive, the Gallup poll found that 85-year-olds are generally more satisfied with themselves than 18-year-olds.
“It’s a very encouraging fact that we can expect to be happier in our early 80s than we were in our 20s,” Andrew J. Oswald, a professor of psychology at Warwick Business School,told the New York Times. “And it’s not being driven predominantly by things that happen in life. It’s something very deep and quite human that seems to be driving this.”
Life isn't a downhill decline -- it's a U-curve.
windy road
As the Gallup poll found, happiness is likely to peak in young adulthood, hit a low point during the late 40s and 50s, and then increase again into later life and old age.
"Mankind is wrong to dread aging," The Economist wrote, noting that happiness arcs through the average individual's lifespan. "Life is not a long slow decline from sunlit uplands towards the valley of death. It is, rather, a U-bend."
Economists mining happiness research and self-reported well-being data discovered a perhaps counterintuitive truth: After roughly the age of 50 -- when happiness slumps -- the closer we get to old age, the happier we become.
The trajectory looks like this: On average, happiness declines from youth to middle age until you hit the "midlife crisis" point, at which point -- as people head towards old age -- they experience surging levels of happiness and life satisfaction. The U-curve of happiness has been documented in countries around the world, and applies to both global well-being and emotional wellness, The Economist reported.
There are many possible explanations for this U-curve, but it's likely that decreased ambition and greater acceptance plays a significant role.
We tend to falsely equate youth with happiness.
20 somethings happy
Whether you're old or young, chances are you think of young people as being happier -- even though science has proved that this isn't the case. Duke University economist Peter Ubel conducted a study in which he asked groups of 30-year-olds and 70-year-olds which age group (30 or 70) they thought would be happier. Both groups pointed towards the 30-year-olds, but when they rated their own happiness levels, the 70-year-olds scored higher.
In another study, published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, found that both the young and the old believe that happiness declines with age, but that older adults described themselves as being happier than the younger adults did. These false beliefs about happiness could be damaging to both age groups, the study's authors noted.
"Beliefs about aging are important," the researchers write. "If younger adults mispredict old age as miserable, they may make risky decisions, not worrying about preserving themselves for what they predict will be an unhappy future. Conversely, exaggerating the joys of youth may lead to unwarranted nostalgia in older adults, interfering with their appreciation of current joys."
The older we get, the more we appreciate the little things.
watch sun rise
The types of experiences that make us happy tend to shift as we move through life.Research from Brown University, published in the Journal of Consumer Research, found that while young people tend to seek out and highly prize extraordinary experiences -- such as travel, falling in love or thrill-seeking, which can help them to build a greater sense of personal identity -- older adults assign higher value to ordinary experiences and everyday pleasures, and derive identity from these types of experiences.
“It’s just what you would expect, this emphasis on savoring what you already have when your time starts to become limited,” Peter Caprariello, assistant professor of marketing at Stony Brook University, told the New York Times.
We're happier when we've already accomplished our major goals.
beach hammock
2013 UK survey claimed that the happiest age was 37, which is fairly young in the larger scheme, but suggests that people are happiest once they've already accomplished some of their major life goals and are able to let go and enjoy the ride.
37 is the average age that UK adults hope to have checked most of the boxes on their list of priorities, and it's also the age when they're happiest, the Telegraph reported. It's possible that the resulting reduced ambition and lower stress levels contribute to heightened well-being and life satisfaction.
Other research has begun to explore the tension between ambition and happiness -- namely, that ambition may make us more successful but not happier. Less ambitious individuals may actually enjoy greater happiness and a longer life, according to a 2012 study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology.
"Ambition by definition causes people to raise their goals and aspirations," Timothy Judge, professor of management at the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business,told CNN. "If you have the highest goals in the world you're always going to perceive yourself as falling short. It's like Sisyphus rolling the ball up the hill, a thirst that can't be quenched."
Aging gives us an opportunity for acceptance.
mindfulness
Although a number of factors may be at play in rising levels of well-being -- including biological and environmental considerations -- a tendency towards greater acceptance of oneself and one's life circumstances may play a significant role. As we become older, we may be less likely to struggle to resist or control our circumstance; we may become more likely to realize and live the truth of the Buddha's words, "“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”
Science has also backed the truth of the Buddha's wisdom: A 2013 Australian study found that acceptance of what can't be changed is a significant predictor of satisfaction in later life.
"As we age, we have the opportunity to accept who we are, instead of focusing on who we feel we need to become," psychoanalyst Ken Eisold writes in Psychology Today. "We relax into being ourselves. Our faces start to look like who we are. And the world settles into more and more familiar patterns. That acceptance brings diminished anxiety and a higher degree of enjoyment."

L Street Art Walkabout iPhone Photos

I love to take snaps when I walk...here are some recent iPhone shots...

Don Mangus, L Street Walkabout 1, iPhone photograph, 2014


Don Mangus, L Street Walkabout 2, iPhone photograph, 2014


Don Mangus, L Street Walkabout 3, iPhone photograph, 2014


Don Mangus, L Street Walkabout 4, iPhone photograph, 2014


Don Mangus, L Street Walkabout 5, iPhone photograph, 2014


Don Mangus, L Street Walkabout 6, iPhone photograph, 2014






Tamara Star Blog: Eight Simple Ways Happy Couples Stay Happy

Love is obviously a hot and tricky topic, and while we can all agree good love takes time and effort, love seems to fall apart quickly when the ball is dropped and laziness creeps in.

Here are eight things happy couples do to keep that from happening:

1. They deal with past pain. This one is a biggie. Once we pass the age of 16, the likelihood of experiencing hurt, disappointment, or betrayed is 100 percent. Happy couples take the time individually to feel past pain, heal it, and leave it where it belongs... in the past. We may love the one we're with, but we'll also project all over them if we don't deal with our past hurts.

When we have pain that hasn't been processed, we carry it forward. You can't skim over or positive think your way out of emotional pain, and when we try to stuff our emotions, we'll find a way to make our current partner pay for the past sins of others because pain wants to be processed. Healthy couples deal with their past so their present can be happy.

2. They don't over-think everything. Remember the phrase paralysis by analysis? Over-thinking and over-analyzing someone's every word, move or intention kills any chance of intimacy or connection.

Happy couples take one another at face value, versus looking for alternative meanings in each other's words or actions. Emotional paranoia is a sign of emotionally operating from the past in an effort to stay safe in the present. Healthy couples aren't hyper vigilant. Even if they've hurt one another in the past, they don't expect to be hurt again.

Remember, we see what we expect to see -- happy couples stay in the now moment.

3. They are emotionally open. Keeping one foot out emotionally to protect yourself is like trying to consistently drive 65 mph while tapping your brake every other minute. Healthy couples respect their own boundaries, but are vulnerable and open towards one another. Too often we experience hurt and never really let go again. Happy couples take their feet off the brake and trust.

4. They avoid taking one another for granted. Happy couples don't take for granted that they'll be together forever. They remember to turn on the charm and attention they give others, towards one another. It takes two to do the hot passionate dance of tango -- happy couples don't drop one hand and expect the other half to keep dancing.

5. They keep making eye contact. As William Shakespeare said so well: "The eyes are the window to your soul."

Let's face it, life is busy; over time it becomes a little too easy to navigate getting out of the house in the morning without making eye contact. It may sound small, but eye contact is intimate. Happy couples remember that intimacy in the bedroom starts with intimate contact throughout the day. They look at one another.

6. They continue to be intrigued. Even if you met at birth, spent every day together and have talked for hours, there is no way to know everything about another human being. We are all individuals with unique thoughts, perceptions, and emotional experiences.

People change over time, and healthy couples continue to explore one another, while realizing it's impossible to know everything, no matter how long they've been together.

7. They stay in the moment. Happy couples know remaining in the present moment is non-negotiable when it comes to love. Regardless of tough times, they remember the past does not equal the future. Healthy partners have a relationship with the person in front them now, not the ghost from yesterday.

8. They continue touching. Two large influences on our sex drive originate from our skin and our brain. Relationships are hot in the beginning because we're touching and kissing, as well as talking and questioning one another, constantly.

As time goes on, happy couples continue to touch. When we touch the one we love, the hormone oxytocin is produced, providing us with a fertile opportunity for connection. Oxytocin is one hell of a powerful love drug. Talking stimulates the brain, while touching stimulates everything else. Happy couples touch each another a lot.

Post by Tamara Star, originally published in Digital Romance

Monday, March 24, 2014

Posttraumatic Growth

From yee Wiki:

Post-traumatic growth or benefit finding refers to positive psychological change experienced as a result of the struggle with highly challenging life circumstances. These sets of circumstances represent significant challenges to the adaptive resources of the individual, and pose significant challenges to individuals' way of understanding the world and their place in it. Posttraumatic growth is not simply a return to baseline from a period of suffering; instead it is an experience of improvement that for some persons is deeply meaningful.

This concept is part of the positive psychology approach. It is commonly reported by cancer survivors.

The general understanding that suffering and distress can potentially yield positive change is thousands of years old. For example, some of the early ideas and writing of the ancient Hebrews, Greeks, and early Christians, as well as some of the teachings of Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and the Baha'i Faith contain elements of the potentially transformative power of suffering

Attempts to understand and discover the meaning of human suffering represent a central theme of much philosophical inquiry and appear in the works of novelists, dramatists and poets. Scholarly interest in post-traumatic growth began to gain considerable strength in the 1990s, based on the idea that greater interest should be placed on studying people who are actually healthy, and the better and brighter aspects of human behavior. 

Today, there is overwhelming evidence that individuals facing a wide variety of very difficult circumstances experience significant changes in their lives many of which they view as highly positive. 

Posttraumatic growth has been documented in relation to various natural and human-made traumatic events, including life-threatening disease, war, abuse, immigration and death of loved ones. It has also been documented in many countries and in the context of different cultures with evidence that PTG is a universal phenomenon but also manifests some cultural variations. Growth from trauma has been conceptualized not only for individuals but also for families as systems.

Causes

Posttraumatic growth occurs with the attempts to adapt to highly negative sets of circumstances that can engender high levels of psychological distress such as major life crises, which typically engender unpleasant psychological reactions. Growth does not occur as a direct result of trauma, rather it is the individual's struggle with the new reality in the aftermath of trauma that is crucial in determining the extent to which posttraumatic growth occurs. Encouragingly, reports of growth experiences in the aftermath of traumatic events far outnumber reports of psychiatric disorders, since continuing personal distress and growth often coexist.

As far as predictors of Post-Traumatic Growth, a number of factors have been associated with adaptive growth following exposure to a trauma. Spirituality has been shown to highly correlate with post-traumatic growth and in fact, many of the most deeply spiritual beliefs are a result of trauma exposure (O'Rourke 2008). 

Social support has been well documented as a buffer to mental illness and stress response. In regards to Post-Traumatic Growth, not only is high levels of pre-exposure social support associated with growth, but there is some neurobiological evidence to support the idea that support will modulate a pathological response to stress in the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenocortical (HPA) Pathway in the brain (Ozbay 2007). 

It is also alleged, though currently under further investigation, that opportunity for emotional disclosure can lead to post-traumatic growth though did not significantly reduce post-traumatic stress symptomology (Slavin-Spenny 2010).

Gender roles did not reliably predict post-traumatic growth though are indicative of the type of trauma that an individual experiences. Women tend to experience victimization on a more individual and interpersonal level (e.g. sexual victimization) while men tend to experience more systemic and collective traumas (e.g. military and combat).

Given that group dynamics appear to play a predictive role in post-traumatic growth, it can be argued that the type of exposure may indirectly predict growth in men (Lilly 2012).

Characteristics

Results seen in people that have experienced posttraumatic growth include some of the following: greater appreciation of life, changed sense of priorities, warmer, more intimate relationships, greater sense of personal strength, and recognition of new possibilities or paths for one's life and spiritual development.

Two personality characteristics that may affect the likelihood that people can make positive use of the aftermath of traumatic events that befall them include extraversion and openness to experience. Also, optimists may be better able to focus attention and resources on the most important matters, and disengage from uncontrollable or unsolvable problems. The ability to grieve and gradually accept trauma could also increase the likelihood of growth

It also benefits a person to have supportive others that can aid in post-traumatic growth by providing a way to craft narratives about the changes that have occurred, and by offering perspectives that can be integrated into schema change.

These relationships help develop narratives; these narratives of trauma and survival are always important in post-traumatic growth because the development of these narratives forces survivors to confront questions of meaning and how answers to those questions can be reconstructed.

Individual differences in coping strategies set some people on a maladaptive spiral, whereas others proceed on an adaptive spiral. With this in mind, some early success in coping could be a precursor to posttraumatic growth. A person's level of confidence could also play a role in her or his ability to persist into growth or, out of lack of confidence, give up.

A recent article by Iversen, Christiansen & Elklit (2011) suggests that predictors of growth have different effects on PTG on micro-, meso-, and macro level, and a positive predictor of growth on one level can be a negative predictor of growth on another level. This might explain some of the inconsistent research results within the area.

Another characteristic of posttraumatic growth is it can coexist with negative psychological adjustment after traumatic events, so it is important that measures of grief used in both clinical and research domains allow for an assessment of positive response.

Related concepts

In contrast to resilience, hardiness, optimism, and a sense of coherence, post-traumatic growth refers to a change in people that goes beyond an ability to resist and not be damaged by highly stressful circumstances; it involves a movement beyond pre-trauma levels of adaptation.

It could be possible that people who are highest on these dimensions of coping ability will report relatively little growth. That is because these people have coping strategies that will allow them to be less challenged by trauma, and the struggle with trauma may be crucial for post-traumatic growth.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. Blog: Five Things Preventing You From AttractingYour Beloved

By Margaret Paul, Ph.D. 
Most of us would love to be in a loving, committed relationship. Yet, for many, this seems to be elusive. There are some good reasons for this.

1. We Attract at Our Common Level of Self-Abandonment or Self-Love
Do you abandon yourself in one or more of these four ways?

Staying focused in your head rather than being present with your feelings in your body

Judging yourself harshly, putting a lot of pressure on yourself

Turning to various addictions to avoid your feelings and to fill up inner emptiness

Making others responsible for your happiness and self-worth

People who love and value themselves, and take responsibility for their own happiness and self-worth, are not attracted to people who abandon themselves. Two people who abandon themselves often get together, hoping the other person will give them the love they are not giving to themselves, only to be disappointed and move on. We do not have love to share with another when we are not loving ourselves.

2. Fear of Rejection -- Loss of Other

When you abandon yourself -- which means that you are rejecting yourself -- then you naturally fear being rejected by others. The fear of rejection leads to feeling anxious in relationships, which leads to trying to have control over not being rejected. Whatever you do to try to control not being rejected -- being overly nice, having sex too soon, giving yourself up and being compliant, tolerating unloving behavior on the part of the other person -- is inauthentic and often leads to the rejection you are trying to avoid.

3. Fear of Engulfment -- Loss of Self

If you came from controlling parents and learned to give yourself up to avoid a loss of love, then you might have a big fear of being consumed and smothered in a relationship. You might believe that you need to give yourself up to be loved -- to avoid rejection -- and this fear might lead you to pull back from a relationship the moment it starts to get close. 

If you find yourself coming on strong at the beginning of a relationship and then losing interest as soon as the other person is interested, then you likely have a fear of engulfment and are relationship-avoidant.

4. Level of Happiness and Self-Worth

If you are an unhappy person with low self-worth, do you expect that a happy person with high self-worth is going to be attracted to you? This is very unlikely. The problem is also that you might not be attracted to another unhappy person. You might hope to find a happy person who will make you happy, but it doesn't generally work this way.

If you want to attract a happy person and create a loving relationship, then you need to first do your inner work to become a happy, loving person.

5. Attachment to the Outcome

When you meet someone and you become attached to the outcome, in terms of making your happiness and worth dependent on the other person liking you, you may put out an energy that actually pushes the other person away. Most of us don't want to be responsible for another's happiness, worth and well-being. It doesn't feel like love when someone is focused on getting love rather than on being loving.

Getting Love, Being Loving

This is the essence of the issue of attracting your beloved. Is your primary intent in being in a relationship to get love, or is it to share your love with your beloved? If it's to get love -- due to your own self-abandonment -- then your challenge in attracting your beloved is to learn to love yourself and share your love.

If you want to be in a loving, committed relationship and you have not been able to manifest this in your life, or if your current relationship isn't working, then you first need to learn to create a loving relationship with yourself. 

Once you know how to fill yourself up with love to share with a partner, you will find that you have a much easier time attracting your beloved and creating a loving relationship.