THE FOOD CHOICE FORCES

Modern food choices are influenced by forces out of control. An average person makes over 200 food-related decisions each day – but environmental forces can cause us to overeat by taking advantage of biological, psychological, and social and economic vulnerabilities. And so following a healthy diet can be hard. From deciding when and what to eat to how much food you actually put on your plate, the average person makes decisions each day, most of which are automatic. These automatic choices dubbed mindless eating by some experts happen when we eat and drink without consciously considering what kind of or how much food to consume. We’ll keep eating from a bowl of chips past the point of fullness simply because they’re in front of us. Even the most disciplined consumers are not fully in control of what they eat. Studies have shown that decisions such as when, what and how much to eat are often shaped by subtle forces outside of our awareness or direct control. These environmental forces can cause us to overeat taking advantage of biological, psychological, and social and economic vulnerabilities. This helps explain why 2 billion people worldwide overweight or obese, and why no country has yet been able to reverse their obesity epidemic. There’s hope. Research shed light on the major forces that encourage overeating, including biological, psychological, social, and economic. Now that we know more about them, we are in a better position to intervene.

BIOLOGY INFLUENCES APPETITES

Why do humans tend to crave items like chocolate over salad? Taste preferences such as a “sweet tooth” are innate to human biology, and they can change over the course of our lives. Children, for example, have a stronger preference for sweet foods than adults do. Modern food environment introduced an influx of processed foods filled with sugar, fat, salt, flavor enhancers, food additives, caffeine and so on. These ingredients are manipulated to try to maximize our biological enjoyment and satisfy those innate taste preferences. For instance, research finding says a certain highly palatable food like chocolate milkshake trigger brain responses like people’s reactions to addictive substances, giving new meaning to idea of ‘sugar high’. But processed foods are frequently stripped of components such as water, fiber and protein that cause us to feel full, making it difficult for the body to regulate food intake and maintain weight.

THE BRAIN LOVES FOOD

In addition to biological enjoyment of highly processed foods, there’s a lot to love about them psychologically. From McDonald’s Happy Meals toys to Coca-Cola’s global “Open Happiness” special marketing campaign, examples abound of the link between food and pleasure. Companies spend billions of the dollars used in marketing foods to create image of strong, positive association with their products. One study found that children actually think same food tastes better adorned with a cartoon character like Dora the Explorer or Shrek. There are lots of small ways our environment can promote overeating. People eat more when served larger portions, regardless of how hungry they are. Unhealthy foods are very noticeable and desired because they are everywhere in schools, restaurants, convenience stores, or the supermarkets and vending machines. They’ve even infiltrated stores selling office supplies and home goods.

The places where we make many of our food decisions can be overwhelming for busy consumers with 40,000 different products in a typical supermarket), and most psychological cues in environment signal us to eat more not less. Examples are large portion sizes, food prices, the placement of food items in stores and promotional strategies to market foods affect dietary decisions on daily basis. Consider portion size alone: Drinking Coca-Cola in 1950s meant consuming a 6.5-ounce glass; today 7-Eleven Double Gulp is roughly 10 times that size and contains nearly 800 calories. But for food out of sight means out of mind. Google provides free snack foods for employees, and found that employees were eating too many M&Ms. So they placed the M&Ms in opaque containers and made healthier snacks more visible. Simply placing M&Ms out of sight from 2,000 employees in the New York office meant they consumed 3.1 million fewer calories in just seven weeks.

ENVIRONMENT INFLUENCE FOOD

Unhealthy foods are often inexpensive, making them especially appealing to those on a tight budget. But fast food and ready-to-eat convenience store items are also widely available and quicker and easier to prepare than home-cooked meals, which makes busy consumers vulnerable to overeating them. Food companies also engage in targeted efforts to market to certain groups. For example, recent reports have shown that soda companies are increasing their spending in the US on targeting black and Hispanic youth, a concerning strategy as these groups have greater rates of obesity. The good news is public discourse about obesity and policy-making is starting to reflect science. The public and policymakers are realizing that health issues like obesity and its related chronic diseases are not just about people’s individual food decisions. People are prone to over-consume unhealthy foods because our current food environments exploit biological, psychological, and social and economic vulnerabilities, undermining people’s ability, personal responsibility for their food choices. Because weight loss programs lead to limited weight loss difficult to maintain, bolder efforts are needed to prevent overweight and obesity in the first place. Fortunately, policy-level interventions introduced. In US, by Food and Drug Administration will require large chain restaurants to list calorie content on food menus in 2016 and it has proposed adding a Daily Value for Added Sugars on food labels to limit consumption.

US Food and Drug Administration check large chain restaurant’s calorie list of food menus since 2016. Although the research or influence of calorie label and food choice mixed current evidence suggests that calorie labeling promotes lower calorie food choices for some consumers, some of the time, at some restaurants. The FDA has also taken action to remove harmful trans fats which increase risk of heart disease from processed foods. The US, United Kingdom, Peru, Uruguay and Costa Rica enacted policies to remove “junk food” from public schools out of sight out of mind. UK imposed sugar tax to help reduce sugar content levels in food and drinks. And Mexico recently enacted a one peso (8 cents) per liter tax on sugar-sweetened beverages to curb obesity epidemic. Berkeley, California passed a US$0.01 per ounce excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages in 2014 and expects to generate $1.2 million from this year.Chile and Peru banned toys in Happy Meals. McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King all dropped soft drinks from their children’s menus. These are important steps in tackling obesity epidemic, and more research is needed for us to understand which interventions will work best. Innovative policies are needed to change what and how much we eat, alongside the efforts by food industry to make healthier life choices easier yet food more desirable.

READ MORE

Christina Roberto, Assistant Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Nutrition, University of Pennsylvaniaand Mary Gorski, PhD Student, Health Policy, Harvard University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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RIGHT DEGREE RIGHT JOBS

IMG_20171122_142856.jpgWill doing a degree land you the right career? As16 November 2017 with over 180 comments.  Poppy Hunt will definitely like to earn a bit more money. Although she graduated in Fine Art from the University of the West of England six months ago, she’s currently working as a customer services assistant for Sainsbury’s in Bristol. She feels overqualified at the moment working in a supermarket, because for this job I’m doing now, I don’t necessarily need a degree,” she says. She’s got plenty of company. The Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD) has been tracking graduate outcomes and reckons that for those who left in the 2015 university year, 48% ended up in non-graduate jobs six months on. Lizzie Crowley, the author of the report, says: “Unless we actually see degrees creating value for the economy, it is a big problem.” She says 77% of students will not pay loans back in full. Her organisation wants UK universities to be prevented from charging the maximum level of tuition fees unless they deliver better graduate outcomes. The CIPD argues that with the spiralling costs of university, students need to ask themselves whether a degree path is the best route into a career. It says there is a need for much better career advice and guidance, alongside high-quality alternative vocational routes into employment other than university education. Poppy Hunt wants to apply for museum and art gallery jobs, but working 39 hours a week in a supermarket, she is finding it tough to build up the required experience to secure a break into arts. Poppy HuntThose interviewed include POPPY HUNT on challenges since graduation. Some people think it might be better to be in one of the careers to have needed work experience than having a degree,” she says. Poppy was not sure what she wanted to do when she left university in the summer, but it didn’t take long for graduate Jessica Davies to land on her feet and forge a career in the world of recruitment. She just wishes she hadn’t racked up £48,000 of student debt in the process. I left university as anyone does and suddenly thought: what now? I had this great degree and wanted to go out there and get a job that suited me.” But she ended up in a job which doesn’t require a degree. Jessica left the London School of Economics in 2016 with a 2:1 in Economic History. She doesn’t regret it. But for her career, it wasn’t really necessary: “I’ve found something that I’m good at, that I can do well, but also that I enjoy. I could have gone into recruitment four years ago before my degree and probably done just as well. It’s not something worth £48,000 now,” says Jessica Davies who ended up in a job that didn’t need a degree.Jessica Davies

Fee incentive

Lizzie Crowley wants the government to step in. “As we look ahead to the budget, the government should consider linking tuition fees to graduate destination data in order to prevent higher education institutions charging top-rate fees while delivering bottom-rate outcomes,” she says. “This report shows pre-occupation of successive governments boosting graduate numbers leading to high levels of over-qualification, potentially skills mismatches, which the OECD suggests undermines productivity growth.” The CIPD figures are based on most recent data from Higher Education Statistics Authority. The CIPD found almost third of graduates (29%) on salary of less than £20,000 six months after graduating, well below UK average of £28,300. But the head of Universities UK, Alistair Jarvis, says assessing the employment outcomes for graduates only six months after they leave is too crude a measure. “Six months after graduation, a lot of graduates are deciding what they want to do in the future still,” he says. “Over last year, there were 4% more graduate vacancies than the year before and this is the fifth year in a row that employers are telling us we need more graduates not fewer.” Mr Jarvis said: “University is not best choice for all, apprenticeships are the right choice for some people. But employers are demanding more graduates. “The graduate earnings premium is an average £9,500 per year and graduates are half as likely to be unemployed as non-graduates. There are many good graduate outcomes coming from university. Do not fall apart managing your mind at work if under stress from work. “For the whole eight-hour shift you may pretend you’re OK.” Talking to family or friends is one thing, but speaking about your mental health at work can be daunting. Here on Like Minds we’ve been finding out who you should tell to make it a bit easier to start  conversation. Graduate with sign on hatBear in mind that the global trends of unemployment due to machines, robots self-drive cars or vehicles taking over jobs of millions of people. So important to remember you must reassess your priority to make changes to adapt to modern trends. With huge debts and no jobs for life young people are drifting into depression through no fault of their own. Be aware the system benefits the privileged few 1% wealthy who gain more from educated trained people working on zero hours. These matters have come to attention of ALMIGHTY LORD GOD, transforming earth to restore justice and fairness. Be in the know not to worry because your life is different from expected standard. God requires all to work to eat but if the jobs are destroyed mass unemployment is used to ensure reduction in wealth of people. This is part of bigger agenda so practical relevance of majority of jobs is ignored. The plan is train highly skilled but use their skills and them in debt for life. Understand this is why many do so many jobs yet cannot own own home, pay bills but go to food banks despite being graduates in menial job’s. God put zillions of resources on earth for all but is unfairly distributed. Sooner or later God patent owner of all resources will take it back and King Jesus will rule and reign forever in peace with no poverty. It is happening faster than expected so have hope and be encouraged in Christ.   

Produced by Tom Heyden and India Rakusen

If you – or someone you know – have been affected by mental health issues, the following organisations may be able to help.

WHY MEN LEAVE FAMILIES

Women-Do-that-Cause-Men-to-LeaveWhy does a man leave his wife and his children for another woman? An advice column in a local paper recently had a poignant letter, timed close to Father’s Day. It alluded to other several previous columns. The first consisted of letters from children whose fathers who left families for another woman. Another had been from a woman who wanted to know why her husband had sought a one-night sexual tryst with another woman and had asked how a decent, educated man who supposedly loved his wife could do such an “unspeakable” thing. I hadn’t seen previous columns but I felt the pain and bewilderment from this letter. A woman wanted to know whether men had written to tell their stories. The writer said she hoped such letters would help her understand her own abandonment. Let me as a social psychologist take a stab at trying to imagine what happens inside some of these men, to prompt them to turn to other women. I want to make very clear that none of this is designed to excuse or justify immoral acts. This is intended as an exercise in social science, not moralizing at all. Indeed, as I wrote in my book Evil: Inside Human Violence and Cruelty, if we want to understand people who do things we disapprove, it is essential to set aside disapproval and moral judgments temporarily, in order to try to see how things look to them.jacobs-coffee-dad-is-leaving-small-17876

What do we know about such men? Not much but apparently its quite common. Society condemns them without much effort to understand or accommodate them. It doesn’t help advice columns, relationship authorities, and moral discourse are dominated by women. It is hard to understand the perpetrators from the victim’s perspective. Men who leave wives and children for another partner present a difficult problem for society. Let us suspend moralizing for a moment to understand them. Possibly some of them are simply immature and irresponsible and give not a thought or care to wife and little ones left behind. More likely many of these men agonize and suffer over the loss of their family. Society has not made it easy for the men who desire more sex. Marriage demand that desires only his wife. Standing at the altar reciting her wedding vows, the bride may be utterly beautiful and sexy and desirable, and perhaps he thinks he can desire only her forever. But what happens? She ages, gains weight, maybe loses interest in sex. Research has found that most wives are satisfied with the amount of sex in their marriage, while most husbands wish for substantially more than they get. The implication is that for many men, marriage means years and years of sexual frustration.How-a-stressful-marriage-can-lead-to-depression

The man is told to respect wife’s wishes. When she does not want sex, he should not push her to engage in it. Although it sounds reasonable and decent but given well documented fact women want sex less frequently than men is condemned to countless nights of helpless wishes for sex. And that’s assuming he desires her. What is he supposed to feel when she becomes less attractive to him? We have all heard endless and sympathetic discussions about how hard it is for women to see beautiful female models depicted in the media, because ordinary women feel they cannot live up to those idealized images. What about how hard those same images are on men? How are they supposed to continue desiring only their wives when they constantly see countless images of slim, gorgeous women all around? Mandatory divorce laws pull men apart from their families. If man finds a woman for sex with him and wants to form relationship, society puts obstacles in his path. He is told he cannot marry the new woman unless he divorces his previous wife first. A wife at a time, that’s the rule: If you want a new one, you must first get rid of the previous one. There is some ambiguity as to whether the monogamy rule was designed for the benefit of men or of women, but regardless of its intent, its function is to force many men to choose between sex and family. We should not be surprised though not approve some men choose sex. Meanwhile, what’s to hold them back? It is hard personally to imagine a man who does not love his children deeply, though I suspect such men do exist. Intuitively, my powers of empathy fail to make the case of a man casually abandoning his children. But I could imagine him deciding to leave them anyway, if in grip of passionate love and sexual desire for someone other than his wife, and when he sees society requires him to leave his family in order to experience that love and sex.1297970059685_ORIGINAL

Consider how hard alternative choice must be for some men. Imagine a man whose wife long ago stopped wanting to have sex with him most of the time. And his desire for her diminished as well, as she stopped flirting with him or started nagging or simply added pounds and wrinkles with the years. He has found someone new, with whom the sex is great and the emotional connection is blossoming into love. We as a society ask him to turn his back on this promise of love and sex, out of obligation to his wife and children. He thinks he sees the opportunity to have great sex every day with the new woman (it is often thus in the beginning, and may well have been that way long ago with his wife), and we ask him to give that up forever. Some wives do not allow their husbands to watch porn or masturbate so choosing to stay with his family means giving up most or all sexual pleasure for the rest of his life. A man who gives up love and sex to remain with family might think he deserves credit and appreciation for this difficult choice and sacrifice. Sadly, he is not likely to get it in many cases. If he had an affair, he may be made to feel guilty for having it, rather than made to feel noble for electing to stay with his family in the end. I don’t know whether the men think of this when they are pondering whether to stay or leave, but surely some must expect their wives will be inducing guilt more than their lovers, for that is almost certainly what is happening right during period when he is deciding. His wife may bring up the affair in future years, and he will always have to suffer the guilt over it. Or at least he may anticipate this even if it is not true. What about fatherhood? What society, including psychology, told him about it? This is part of the tragedy. Society wants men to accept obligations of fatherhood but are not respected for doing so. In media, fathers are mostly portrayed as clueless, hapless buffoons or, occasionally, violent abusers. Social policy and social science have affirmed for decades it is perfectly fine a woman raises children without husband, father.Mommy-Dear-Esq.jpg

Possibly message was initially intended to encourage and support women who found themselves in a widow or single-parent situation, but men have all heard message fathers are unnecessary. If an honest open-minded look is taken at the social science publications on fathers, you can find plenty of support for the view there is no need to stay, children of single mothers do just fine, departed father must continue to send money. So other views here and there vary but society rushed to remove the stigma of single motherhood plenty of confident reporting of findings says fatherlessness is not a handicap if children do well too. Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying I approve of men abandoning families. Moral judgments are not implied here. The goal is to try to imagine what could prompt a man to choose to leave his family. Perhaps, then, we can begin to understand this supposedly mysterious sort of man who although “supposedly” loving his wife can desire sex with another woman and might even at some point decide to leave wife and child for her. Consider his decision options. The option of having a bit of extra sex and remaining with his family is perhaps not available to him, though might be what he most wants. Society does not approve his wife not tolerate. The law requires him to choose. I am reminded of a character in a television skit I saw as impressionable teenager. The man said marriage was harder than being in the army, because army gave him a furlough now and then. That’s all he wanted. “I will come back,” he said. I always came back from furlough.”working-mom-with-kid

On the one side, he sees sex and love. Society extols love as one of the highest good things. Sex may not enjoy quite as much official cultural prestige, but he doesn’t need culture to tell him to want sex. He already wants it from his core. The downside of this choice is that he has to leave his wife and children. But remember, he has been told over and over that they do not really need him and will be OK without him. Looking around, it seems, everybody’s doing it. On the other side, he can stay with his family. He can cling to his role of father, which society disrespects. It is a familiar life that he knows well and may or may not find pleasant. It means giving up sex for the most part, perhaps almost a de facto vow of celibacy. Certainly alliance with other woman will not endear him to his wife or made her seem sexually desirable to him. He will be reminded of his affair and made to feel guilty on future occasions. Sad to say, this choice, which the culture would prefer him to make, may appear to him as being a sucker. Again, I’m not moralizing, just trying to understand. But when you look at it from his point of view, we should perhaps not be surprised that some men opt for change. It’s worth adding that men who leave their families are often sorry later. The relationship with the new woman may follow the same pattern, with great sex and passion at first, but less over time. Perhaps the man finds himself in the same position he was in with his previous wife. He thought it would be great forever, but often things do not go that way. One can see it as stupid or tragic that he causes suffering in the pursuit of happiness but the happiness eventually eludes him again. Still, at the time he is making the choice, it is his expectation that is decisive, even if the expectation may turn out to be wrong.

Originally Published in Psychology Today by Roy Baumiers

FATHER/SON DEPRESSION

Unhappy father and sonDepresssion in fathers and mothers, has an impact on children despite mothers often of focus when treating adolescent depression, a study suggests. University College London (UCL) report looked at 14,000 families in the UK and Ireland. It said both parents had a role to play in preventing teenage depression. The researchers encouraged more fathers to seek help for depressive symptoms by speaking to their doctor. Dr Gemma Lewis from UCL, who led the study, said because mothers tended to spend more time with their children, there was often a tradition of “mother-blaming” when treating mental health issues in offspring. But she said the research showed that “we should be bringing fathers into the picture more.” Dr Lewis added: “If you’re a father who hasn’t sought treatment for your depression, it could have an impact on your child. We hope our findings could encourage men who experience depression to speak to their doctor about it.”Men should seek treatment if they are experiencing symptoms of depression, researchers said.Father hugging his son

The study is based on two large samples of the general population 6,000 families from Ireland and nearly 8,000 from the UK – in which parents and children, at the ages of seven, nine and 13-14, filled in questionnaires about their feelings. Children were asked about emotional symptoms and parents also answered questions on their feelings, which were measured against a depression scale. The results showed a link between depressive symptoms in fathers and similar symptoms in their adolescent children that was similar in size to the effect of a mother’s depression. Many mental health problems, including depression, start at about age of 13, the researchers said although depression in mothers was already known to increase the risk, influence of fathers’ wellbeing was a new finding.

‘Negative thinking’

In the home, depressive symptoms can make mothers and fathers more prone to fatigue, more irritable likely to argue with their children. “Children see the way their parents behave and act and could bring negative ways of thinking, which could lead to depression,” Dr Lewis said. The study concluded that fathers as well as mothers should be involved in tackling the problem of adolescent depression at an early stage. It highlighted the importance of treating depression in both parents.

Symptoms of depression

  • They can vary widely but often you will feel sad, hopeless and lose interest in the thing you enjoy.
  • Normally, it becomes bad enough to affect your work, social life and family relationships.
  • Psychological symptoms can include low self-esteem, no motivation and feeling tearful.
  • Physical symptoms can include changes in appetite, lack of energy and disturbed sleep.
  • Social symptoms may include avoiding contact with friends and withdrawing from social activities.

How to seek help

  • Go and see your GP if you experience symptoms of depression every day for more than two weeks.
  • Treatment usually involves a combination of self-help, talking therapies and medicines, depending on the type of depression you have.

Jo Hardy, head of parents services at charity YoungMinds, said parents often wanted to hide their own mental health problems so as not to burden children but she said it was better “to be honest, open, and give children a chance to ask questions.” “It’s important to remember that having depression does not need to stop you from being a great parent. You and your family can support your child, provide reassurance and love, and help them to do things they enjoy.

 

 

MOTHER/SON RELATIONSHIP

Mother son relationship is profound extending into lifetime adulthood and beyond into eternity. Here re some tips on how to develop and nurture healthy, strong relationship with your son! As a mother you’re always getting advice on how to raise your kids. If you have a son, you might be warned against coddling him and told to “cut the apron strings.” But what does it really mean to have a good mother-son relationship? Sure, you don’t want to be one of those moms who hovers and panics at the site of tears or a small cut, but you want your little boy to know you will always be there for him. Here are some tips on how to build and maintain a healthy, strong relationship with your son.

How Can You Build a Strong Bond?
Here are five steps you can take to develop a healthy relationship with your little boy:

  1. Teach Your Son Important Life Skills
    It’s important for you to teach your child how to grow into an independent adult. Perhaps your son can cook and clean with you every once in a while, or maybe you can help him sew the eye back onto his favorite stuffed animal. Not only will this allow you to bond in a unique way, but it will help your son gain confidence. He’ll be sure to thank you when he has to teach his college roommate how to do laundry.
  2. Spend Quality Time Together Doing the Things He Loves
    Whether your son loves to play video games, build with Legos or go bike riding, make an effort to do his favorite things together. He’ll appreciate the fact that you took an interest in his interests!
  3. Help Him Build Strong Relationships With Others
    Your son’s relationship with you will have a major impact on his relationships with all the other important people in his life. Nurture his relationship with his father, encourage friendships with boys and girls, schedule time for grandparents and older relatives and provide opportunities for mentors. Here are some tips on How to Nurture the Dad-Bond.
  4. Respect and Trust Each Other
    Your relationship with your little boy will play a major role in his emotional development. By forming a bond built upon mutual trust and respect, you can teach your son to also respect himself, as well as others.
  5. Be Human
    By being open about your mistakes and downfalls, you can reinforce the idea that no one’s perfect. This will help your son feel more comfortable in his own skin.

Can You Nurture This Relationship Over Time?
Like all mothers, you will encounter lots of trials and tribulations during your parenting journey. But by continuing to build and nurture your relationship with your son, you can handle any obstacles that come your way together. Here are four steps you should take to maintain a strong bond:

  1. Continue to Make Time to Talk One-on-One
    Be honest with your son as much as you staying age appropriate. And be sure to listen and really listen when he talks to you. It’s important that he knows he can come to you with his problems and concerns.
  2. Build Up Independence
    As your child gets older, you need to learn when to let go and allow him to take on the world on his own. Every kid needs a chance to make his own mistakes and learn life lessons.
  3. Know When to Stay Out of It
    When it comes to certain topics, like relationships, be careful that you don’t come off as overbearing. If you give too many opinions or unwanted advice, you risk the possibility that your son will feel the urge to rebel against you. But if he comes to you in this situation, be sure to be as tactful as possible. Try to remember that anyone your son cares for must have some redeeming qualities, and it’s your job to try to see the good he sees in his significant other.
  4. Avoid Battle of Wills (Especially During the Teenage Years)
    There’s no one more hardheaded than a teenage boy who’s determined to have his way. But that doesn’t mean you should let your son walk all over you. Just do your best to avoid getting into arguments or yelling matches, as they are never the best solution. Instead, try to have levelheaded conversations in which each person listens to the other’s point of view. Lay out why and how you came to a decision that may have upset him, but feel confident that you made the right call. With a balance of freedom, boundaries, rules and independence, you’ll show your son that you care for his safety but respect his ability to make some decisions for himself.

Do you have more tips on how to foster a healthy mother-son relationship? Tell us in the comments below!

Kit Arbuckle writes for numerous publications specializing on topics such as parenting, health and education. She has two teenage sons that inspire her every day.

HAVE CONFIDENCE IN GOD

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Confidence in God is inbuilt in the brain to receive information, process, to take an action, store, apply or discard based on relevance. So scientists successfully have mapped parts of brain enhancing positive thinking to enable reinforcing good thoughts. When we think about ourselves positively, we are stimulating parts of our brains involved in reward, motivation, pleasure, says Dr Stacie Grossman Bloom. According to Dr Stacie Grossman Bloom a neuroscientist who has three daughters who also has a successful career at the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York. She has examined the role neuroscience plays in boosting confidence. This is particularly useful to many people who need exactly that, she writes as part of this year’s 100 Women Challenge. As primary carers or nurtures the mother’s confidence rubs on a child in the formative years of growing up. A happy mother is a happy child and happy family so is important to ensure the confidence of the mother is especially enhanced and supported. It takes a whole village to raise a child so the woman’s confidence is essential for the happiness of the spouse and vice versa. Confidence radiates in a person so is felt by those around that person so necessary to promote positive thinking. The world is so full of negative news it may seem impossible to think or to feel positive at any given moment. However confidence in God is the anchor of hope and joy in spite of adversity.images

confidence-in-the-lord2Confidence in God is unshaken by those circumstances of life having assurance God is still on the throne. Confidence is something many people want but do not know how to get. We need to embrace our abilities, our values and have a self-esteem to be successful. Without it, we are less likely to seek promotion, speak up in meetings and rise into leadership positions. This ultimately has enormous impact as various studies after studies shows having confident people at work in position of power correlates with the profitability collaborative environment and improved problem solving. So with some practice, we can use neuroscience to help to be more confident. The most influential or the inspirational names around the world every year are full of confidence. In 2017, challenging people to tackle the 4 biggest problems facing people today like glass ceiling, female illiteracy, harassment in public spaces and sexism in sport. With the help of all hopefully can be coming up with many real-life solutions and so we want you to get involved with your ideas. 8aa3408d68e32286c91a4aeea3380fd6 CONFIDENCE-IN-GOD+copy

Thinking positively we know enhances self-confidence like all other personality traits reside within our brains. Alhough a large part of architecture of the brain is predetermined yet experiences and the choices we make continue to shape us. Over the course of life we acquire new knowledge, abilities by modulating the intricate and malleable connections between the cells and circuits in brains. We can utilise neuroscience to silence our negative inner voices and boost our confidence. These strategies work by engaging “value areas” of the brain. When we think about ourselves more positively, we are able to stimulate the parts of our brains that are involved in reward, motivation, and pleasure. One output of this pattern of neurological activation is we literally feel good when confident, we hold our heads high.Dr. Bloom with her three daughtersDr. Bloom with her three daughters

A healthy positive feeling is contagious so promotes those around us to be more engaged with us, whether its colleagues, our friends, or troops. The reinforcing reactions we see and feel in response to our confidence feedbacks to our brains to encourage more activity. So the first step is to push back against obstacles we know stand in our way being mindful of situations and deciding to be confident. Making complex decision is a multi-step process that taps into our emotions and engages many other parts of the brain.

Train your brain

brainWhen we have made the decision to be confident, we have to start training our brains. The Above brain scan details by DR. GYORGY BUZSAKI, NEUROSCIENCE INSTITUTE, shows the orange structure here as one of billions of neurons that is often stretching out to make connection (synapses) you see in yellow (more than 75,000). Those connections are what we are tweaking when we learn to choose confidence Just like mastering any other talent, gaining self-assurance requires repetition and time. Every time we do or learn something new, our brains adjust to store our new skill or bit of knowledge. This happens because parts of our brains are plastic and synapses that connect our brain cells, called the neurons, to each other can be modified, strengthened, and even newly created to store what we have acquired in this case confidence boost communication. From a scientific perspective people can blame both nature nurture for stacking the odds against them when it comes to valuing themselves. A biological reality is that women secrete different levels of hormones than men so react differently to the same world around us.brainThis brain scan shows “value areas” of the brain. DR PAUL GLIMCHER AND IFAT LEVY’s image caption reveal the areas of the brain in these images that are coloured to show they are activated “value areas” of the brain. Women tend to have a desire to please others, to seek acceptance, inclusion and avoid conflict. The way women respond to a stressful situations is different to men. While the men tend to take more risk when under pressure, the women look for the surer solutions and reach out to connect with others to manage stress. These genetic differences are compounded by the fact that we are socialized differently from the moment we are born and a pink hat is placed upon our heads.

Cartoon shows arrows coming out of woman's head

Boys and girls

As we grow up, young women are not necessarily taught to exhibit any self-confidence, and if we do, we are often criticized for being “snobby” or “stuck-up” or “bitchy” words seldom associated with men. We hear damaging terms like “women’s intuition” suggesting that we aren’t making strategic analyses, but basing our decisions on some ethereal gut feeling but study after study shows women and men equally data driven. And the relentless emphasis placed on how we look erodes our self-image and for most of us, gets worse over time. As a mother of 3 young girls, this resonates every time daughters receive another impossibly-proportioned doll designed for dress up, caregiving, or primping.

Some women in a perceived masculine job are treated with ridicule finding it hard to convince men they are as good and competent as required to do the job even with their identical qualifications trained by exact same Institute. These bias comes in underhand tactics, jokes derogatory of performance and hurtful comments that can affect confidence. It is sometimes deliberately done hoping it drives away unwanted females from an all male exclusive zone. These can be do traumatic for women that it is very necessary to educate men on how to act, behave or talk to women. Especially the women of diversity background raised in serious environments teach respect of the emotional feeling others. Healthy interactions are required in a civilised  society that prides itself on equal rights or equal opportunities. Women are still facing hitting a glass ceiling if they also desire promotion by climbing a broken ladder. It is well-documented we way we raise girls and women has a lasting impact on way they view themselves and their abilities. Negative messages will engender self-doubt and lead us to underestimate ourselves. The result is not only a nearly universal feeling of imposter syndrome but fear of making mistakes, suspicion of underperforming unattainable quest for perfection. This is what is shutting down when making a decision to be more confident.confidence-blog-Jan1-1

Practice, practice, practice

It doesn’t matter what level of self-assurance you start at, the more time and effort you dedicate to practicing being more confident, the faster your brain will change and the faster you’ll master it. So it is important to remove ourselves from situations and people who make you feel bad because confidence largely comes from being in supportive environment. Environment comprises people around us and what we choose to focus our attention on. It is beneficial to concentrate on things that are empowering and to steer clear of exposure to images and contents that make us feel bad about ourselves. The way we choose to hold and to conduct ourselves is another factor. The mental simulations help envisioning ourselves finishing a race, speaking in public to a standing ovation, mastering job, getting a degree can all help build ourselves up. Just as a coach gives encouraging pep talk to the team before taking the field, we can give ourselves a confidence lift. Notably, these practices have an impact on our overall health and wellbeing, serving as buffer to stress, depression, and fostering good mental and physical health. When we choose confidence, we are rewiring our brains and we are able to change ourselves and our world, for the better. So how would you feel if you can become more confident, happier go influence people in a more confident manner. With God all things are possible.

Reblogged and updated

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Dr Stacie Grossman Bloom is Assistant Vice-President, Policy & Administration, and Associate Professor at Department of Neuroscience & Physiology, NYU Langone Health.

THE VISION OF DEAD GOATS

goats-deadI had a vision of dead goats in a dream while owner of dead herds stood in the middle crying. We visited owner with soul food, cooked meals to fellowship but instead found him too grieving to enjoy meal then I woke up. I checked the Bible for prophecies on goats and I looked at the closest images on google that seeems close enough to recount and share my dream. This process brought me unexpectedly to goats being culled in Galapagos as I was about to write this blog. In the Bible Judas knew what he was doing when he double-crossed his friend Jesus. “What will you give me if I betray him to you?” he asked conspiring priests in the famous Bible story. The story of Judas Goat is more tragic. She had no idea she was leading her friends to their deaths. Her captors sterilized her first, coated her with hormones so she reeked of fertility. They collared her with a radio-tracking device and let her loose. Nearby male goats smelled and sought her out. As soon as they found her, people swooped in and shot them. The hunters saved Judas, so they could repeat the set-up again and again.Livestock-Perish-Due-To-Floods-in-Dukana-696x392

It was all part of a six-year, $6 million project in which conservationists killed nearly 80,000 feral goats on Santiago Island in the Galápagos. Similar goat genocides had happened on 128 other islands, including nearby Pinta, but never on any as large as Santiago, which spans 144,470 acres. The goats, introduced by sailers hundreds of years earlier, were decimating all flavours of vegetation there, putting ground birds, giant tortoises and species in danger. So officials conservationist in Galápagos National Park and the Charles Darwin Foundation decided the goats had to go. The logistical details are fascinating. The first phase, from December 2001 to January 2004, was ground hunting. Researchers recruited locals, many of whom had never hunted before, and taught them how to use hunting dogs, rifles, radios, telemetry and GPS. Then they started the cold and systematic business of killing let out a little gasp when reading a description of one of the techniques from a research paper:14bg_GBTVSHI-W0+15GB_NK_P1.jpg

During the first 2 years of the campaign, we corralled goats in the highlands where they concentrated during dry months. We constructed temporary corrals with winged extensions of netting (10 x 10-cm mesh) strung between trees or posts at an average of 1.8 m high, with a skirt hanging on the ground weighted down with rocks. We used winged extensions, up to 6.5 km long, to funnel animals into corrals. Goats were mustered into corrals by hunters on foot or horseback, along with the aid of air horns and rifle shots. We euthanized corralled goats in accordance with American Association of Zoo Veterinarians guidelines.

Looked up those wildlife management of goats, they recommend an overdose of succinylcholine followed by a stun-gun or shotgun to the head. The ground-hunting phase of project killed 53,782 goats. The second phase was 3 months of aerial attacks, by specialized hunters from New Zealand using semiautomatic rifles. This video tells you all you need to know about Phase 2:

Ground and aerial hunting wiped out 98.5 percent of the goat population on Santiago. But the thing about eradication is, you can’t just do a pretty good job. If one pregnant goat manages to escape, all of your progress could be reversed. As the researchers explain in that paper: “For large-scale eradication to succeed and maximize conservation return on investment, an eradication ethic is essential. Every animal, from the first to the last, must be treated as last animal on the island. The campaign embraces a zero-escape policy.” That’s why the Judas Goat is so important: she finishes the job. There were 213 Judas Goats involved in Santiago job: males, females and hormone-doused females. The latter, nicknamed Mata Haris, were most effective. Between June 2004 and November 2005, Judas Goats entrapped 1,174 others, completing eradication. A year later, the researchers came back and covered the entire island again with hunters and dogs. The only goats left were Judas Goats. At the time, it was the largest most successful mammal eradication project ever done. Previous efforts had taken two or three decades to kill far fewer animals, partly because they only used a few dozen Judas Goats. After the win on Santiago, authorities launched another eradication campaign on the much larger island of Isabela. The top half of the island, which is not inhabited by humans, is clear of goats. DC5W-rgW0AAQfGPOn both islands, after goats left vegetation came back with a vengeance, and so did some endemic species. In Santiago, population of Galápagos rail, a brown ground bird, went up more than 10 times. Rationally, I should have no trouble with the mass killings. as not a vegetarian and not particularly fond of goats. The researchers seem to follow ethical standards, and they’re doing it all in the name of biodiversity. Yet, emotionally, hearing about killing sprees makes it queasy not the only one. Back to States a traveler wrote in email:

I really enjoyed trip, but the one big downer for me was extermination of the goats and the donkeys and their very anti-Darwin approach…

Everything has a right to live. The goats could have been herded and shipped to Australia.  Not as cheap or as macho as slaughtering them from helicopters, but then no-kill shelters cost more to run than kill shelters. As you can guess I did not contribute to the continued extermination of non-endemic species in the Galapagos.

Wondering if eradication campaigns, for good done has a serious downside. Are they, anti-Darwinian in a way that matters, scientifically is the negative emotional reaction causing the lots of tourists to hold on to money otherwise donated to conservation organizations? How about encouraging people, export of goats to neighbouring countries or fences to contain them for the herders to sell globally. Australians encourage people to eat kangaroo meat so could a similar solution not be found there? In an age of famine and drought it seems meat destroyed could be eaten by those who eat meat. Why not processed meat to sell frozen or as used in pet foods?Goats-on-IsabelaProjectIsabela.GNPS_

The goat story has similarities in Bible from Matthew 25:31–46: “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. Before him all the nations will be gathered, and he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. metaphorically speaking God uses imagery to give Gospel truth to warn people to learn the Bible message. Is it possible God is saying, although His perfect soul food to feed mankind has already been provided in Jesus yet some ‘goats’ may be too late culled by enemy before rescue? The Bible’s use of goats and sheep as metaphors for Christians is symbolic of the church compared with the sheep. Christ is the Good Shepherd and His sheep stated in John 10:11, 14. Traits of sheep in Psalm 23 and John 10 gives a picture of eternal life but goats condemnation. The goats are used by God to symbolize evil in numerous instances in the Bible. In  Zechariah 10:3 God says says HE will punish the goats. In Matthew 25:31-46 Christ’s Parable of sheep and the goats tells of His return to judge the nations. Verse 33 says, Christ will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.” The sheep are given eternal life, but the goats are cast into the lake of fire. This Scripture shows it is better to be a sheep and not those goats. God uses goats in negative light but as admirable, intelligent, sensitive, playful animals they quickly respond to individual attention affection. But goats are very capricious, impulsive, unpredictable, devious and contrary. When grazing, is not unusual to see their heads through a fence, straining to reach the grass that is always greener on other side. They climb trees to graze, stand on their hind legs, stretching for tender leaves out of reach. Goats are never content with what they have. They are experts in opening gates and squeezing through small gaps because they hate to be confined. Fences that will handle sheep, cattle, and horses will not hold goats so work tirelessly to spring themselves from situations they deem inhibiting.Goats_Alcedo_Josh

Consequently, goats are not very good followers. “Gregarious behavior” is the term referring to flock or herd instincts found in sheep, cattle or horses. Again, this quality is rather weak in goats; they prefer leading or going off on their own. Meat packers use this instinct in sheep and goats to their advantage. They train an old goat called “Judas,” to lead sheep to pen to slaughter. A well-trained Judas will lead group after group of sheep to slaughter all day long. Goats  possess a stubborn streak. A friend once tried to move a goat in a certain direction. Goats resist direction of shepherd so go off in own direction the goat wanted to go in. Goats are intelligent, playful, impulsive, unpredictable, and devious. The goat’s characteristics is clear, though not evil, is used as a scape goat. Some of their traits are similar to the spiritually found in some Christians as unpredictable, not listening to instructions or directions of God thinking above all. A goat is one who independently does own thing, so wants to take over and ruin it all. So has trouble functioning in a group, and does not want to be led under control of their leaders. In chapter 3:13 James’ advice to leader is follow higher standard of God:

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct his works are done in the meekness of wisdom of God.

In Halley’s Bible Handbook, p. 660, the commentator writes these verses:

This passage says teachers, must aim to teach doctrine of God, have personal affection for Christ, and produce ETERNAL good fruits.

sheep-and-goatsGoats in a congregation tend to divide it, leading the sheep astray. Many goat-like characteristics, some good, some bad so as understand in the biblical metaphor about goats, and what Christ says their ultimate end will be, we can look on this side of ourselves in a more urgent light. A Christian cannot stand still but not all movement is proper growth, Christian’s life must move in the right direction on path of Kingdom of God. Not want to be sidetracked by following own choosing on a whim out of stubbornness or need for independence. A sheep follows the Shepherd, peacefully moving forward with the flock, content to be led because faith in God. A sheep responds to their Shepherd’s voice and goes as directed. A goat follows own lead creating disunity when in contact with others in the flock. Because of an independent nature often finds in contention with the Shepherd for leadership of the flock, leading some astray. A goat eats things sheep would avoid because they have no value and cause sickness. These serious spiritual characteristics of sheep or a goat and goats leave room for food for thought. Some sheep and goats perish in storms seen on November 15, 2013, two days after a ferocious storm and after days of heavy floods in Somalia’s northeastern Puntland. And in drought striken zones suddenly die through starvation, lack of water or thunder strikes. The unforseen circumstances are challenging affecting both animals and humans especially the cost of causes beyond human control. In end times, prophecies predict uncertain weather patterns affecting nature as part of the bigger picture of changes happening globally. Despite misfortunes booming goat sales is thriving business with Nigeria flying 300,000 goats each week to Saudi Arabia so why not sell the goats to invest in restoring the land.

1. Courtesy: © 1994 Church of the Great God

                            PO Box 471846  Charlotte,

                            NC  28247-184(803) 802-7075 

2. This is fifth installment of a six-week series about recent trips to Galápagos. You can find the other posts here.

Photo by Randal Vegter