Happy Healthy Brain

How To Maintain a Happy Healthy Brain

Positive experiences change the brain by making happy connections between the thinking brain and the feeling brain. The more happy connections that survive and thrive… the more learning occurs.

Brain connections hyperlink what we know, what we understand, what we feel, and what we actually do in the  world.

Brain-based happiness is not about thinking positivityit is about feeling positivity.

Positivity nurtures an intrinsic motivation to improve self, hellp others, regulate stress, and balance demands. The positivity effect enables us to reorient ourselves to another’ s point of view and consider all options. Feelings of closed-minded opposition are supplanted with open-minded consideration. Feelings beget mindset.

Carol Dwek describes the ideal positivity ratio (take the self-test) as 3-1 positive to negative feelings that create an open-minded mindset. Affective positivity enables the brain to grow into a healthy mind that is open to new ideas and solutions.

Cogntive learning theory proposes that thought predicts action while affective learning theory proposes that feeling predicts thought. Positive psychology educators, aligned with affective learning, propose that lessons teach and vest emotions, that teachers model and process emotions, and that students express and manage emotions.

The challenge—as in all things educational in this behaviorly static ‘reform’ era of education—is not to simply recall the 7 happy brain secrets on a test. Rather, the challenge is to practice them daily until the 7 happy brain activities become part of the student’s daily muscle or procedural memory.


7 Suggestions for a happy healthy mind

  • Prioritize emotions. At every opportunity across every subject discuss, explore, model, and acknowledge feelings. The brain needs advanced education in emotional learning and competency because emotions are the ‘back to basics’ neurology response, filter, and activator of all knowledge, understanding, and applied skills.
  • Engage strengths. At every opportunity across every subject observe, coach, balance, coordinate, encourage, insist, and embolden positive emotional strengths because emotional strength is just another descriptor of emotional intelligence. The brain is dependent on exquisite emotional synchroncity to reach potency.
  • Envision possibilities. At every opportunity across every subject teach students to construct and deconstruct experience to avoid affective dissonance. The brain is hard-wired for optimsim so teach students how to use their brains to spin straw into gold.
  •  Activate positive memory. At every opportunity across every subject engender the positive emotions associated with prior positive experience. The brain is a resevoir of positive emotional experience that can be siphoned to reinvigorate learning as needed.
  •  Encourage positive self-narrative. At every opportunity across every subject help students influence or change a student’s self-narrative from failure avoiding or failure accepting to a success expecting. The brain is a narrative brain and the stories it tells itself anticipate and predict outcome.
  • Discourage fear. At every opporunity across every subject teach students to relax and feel emotionally safe because fear is at the root of emotional, social, and academic failure. The brain seizes in fear and inhibits new learning because, while fear may force extrinsic compliance, it cannot move the positive emotions that inspire intrinsic motivation.
  • Create flow. At every opportunity across every subject spark innate curiosity and don’t interrupt the pursuit of it. The brain is an avid and self-interested learner when new connections are stimulated to grow and flow and obsolete connections discarded.

Now you know how to turn on the happy and make your brain’s day

Support My Child In Sport

How to Support My Child In Sport? 7 Ways to Deal with Difficult Situations


The last two JiuJitsu contests that I witnessed, I’ve been confronted with a situation, wich is not a new one, but undoubtedly one that needs to be addressed: the young athlete’s parents.

The athlete’s parents need to find the perfect balance between pushing the chjild back, be critical, loving, encouraging, standing on the sidelines, keeping silence or cheering vocally for him. The problem is that when you work with young athletes, sport parents can make or break the success you have with your clients. Your athlete’s parents can often undo the work you do with your young athlete, so the question that needs to be answered is: How much a parent needs to be involved in the sport practiced by the child?

Some specialists say that parents should push their youngsters, in order to prepare them for the rigor of competition and life itself. On the other hand, other experts say, that they should get away, relax and let the athlete just play and have fun.

For example, sports parents can damage athlete’s confidence. They don’t do it with a bad intent, but the results is just the same, lower confidence for some athletes.

Next, I’m putting you a list of difficult situations that I’m often confronted with, when I’m working with a young athlete. The situations are appearing because of the way parents are involving themselves in the competition. Also, I’m offering you an understanding and a way to assist organic from your side, the performance of your athlete.

1. High expectations. 

Be accepting and tolerant with your youngster learning process, and his physical abilities. Be sure he know that wining or not, you love him, appreciate his efforts and that you are not disappointed. This will allow him to do his best without the fear of failure.

  2. Negative approach.

Be productive, but don’t coach him on the way to the matt, court or on the way back, at breakfast, at dinner and so on. Your job is to be supportive!

3. Distracting the athlete from the task. 

Your presence should be supportive, cheerful, and minimal. Pep talks, advice, critical instruction should come only from specific person like coach.

4. Competing with the coach

You both have clearly defined roles that should complement each other. Encourage your child to respect his coach, the game philosophy, attitudes, ethics and knowledge.

5. Re-living their athletic life 

Don’t try to relive your athletic life through your youngster. Accept that you are two distinct persons, with different lifestyles, attitudes, desires, and dreams. Accept also that your child may desire a different sport then you. Or that may never excel at any sport.

6. Comparing skill, courage or attitudes with others.

Everyone is different. One athlete can climb mountains but he can be afraid of spiders. One can fight, but turn to jelly if a bee approaches. Everyone is frightened in certain areas. You should tell your child that courage is not the absence of fear, but a means of doing something in spite of fear or adversity.

7Blaming the echipaments, coach, other players.

Blaming others teaches non-accountability. When you’re doing that, you will undermine a useful process of understanding, where the athlete did wrong or what he needs to improved in order to have a successful outcome.

One of many tools and my favorite, that works with difficult parents and give results, is to use a team approach and help parents instill confidence and other positive mental skills. So is my job, to educate parents about how they can support their youngsters mental game.

When a parent is not supporting the athlete’s mental game, like he should do, makes my job twice as hard because the parents athletes’ has a big roll in winning or losing.

Based on the research conducted on what to say, and how to encourage your child, before and after competition, the best thing your should say is:

Before the competition:

Have fun!

Play hard! (In the sense of “do your best”)

I love you!

After the competition:

You had fun?

I am proud of you!

I love you!


How do you support your child in sport, in his endeavors, to become a successful athlete?



Support My Child In Sport


Forgiveness: The Answer to All Your Problems

Never does the human soul appear so strong and noble as when it forgoes revenge and dares to forgive an injury. — E.H. Chapin

Why should anyone forgive? There is no single reason, but this much is clear: harboring anger and resentment is physically, mentally, relationally and spiritually unhealthy. People who are unable to forgive themselves or others have an increased incidence of depression and act with more callousness toward others, are less happy, and have higher mortality rates. And that’s only the beginning.

Without forgiveness, anger and resentment putrefy we trap ourselves in a narrow and vengeful future. Perhaps Max Lucado put it best when he said, “Hatred is the rabid dog that turns on its owner. Revenge is the raging fire that consumes the arsonist. Bitterness is the trap that snares the hunter.” Even justified anger can be every bit as self-destructive as addiction itself: both can feel good, yet are toxic.

Unfortunately, there are doubters. Consider these recent tweets:

  • “Remember: forgive and forget. But if someone hurts you immensely, you don’t have to forgive them. Do what’s best for you and the situation.”
  • “No matter [the] wrong someone does me, I still seem to forgive them and I need to cut it out.”

Make no mistake, Twittersphere. Forgiveness is always best for you in any situation. And with more and more forgiveness apps cropping up on iTunes, the latest of which is “Forgive for Good” by renowned researcher Fred Luskin, you needn’t just take my word for it.

An astonishing example of the power of forgiveness can be found in the practice of burn surgeon Dabney Ewin. His patients would enter the ER “all burned up” both inside and out, writes Megan Feldman Bettencourt in her new book Triumph of the Heart: Forgiveness in an Unforgiving World.

As they lay in agony, enraged at themselves or someone else for their wretched injuries, Ewin spoke to them more like a therapist than a doctor: “You can still pursue damages through an attorney. You’re entitled to be angry, but for now I’m asking you to abandon your entitlement and let it go, to direct your energy toward healing, and turn this over to God or nature or whoever you worship. When you know at a feeling level that you’re letting it go, raise your hand. Then I’d shut up, they’d raise their hand, and I’d know that skin graft was gonna take.”

Over many decades of treating burns, Ewin discovered that the attitude of his patients greatly impacted their healing. “With someone who’s real angry, we’d put three or four skin grafts on, but his body would reject them.” For this surgeon, helping his patients forgive was step one.

Then there’s Robert Enright, a developmental psychologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who has been conducting research on forgiveness for decades. Enright found that patients with coronary artery disease who completed forgiveness therapy had better blood flow to their hearts, thereby reducing their risk of sudden death. Enright was also among the authors of a study that looked at the use of forgiveness therapy among patients in treatment for substance abuse. Those who took part in 12 twice-weekly sessions reported less depression and anxiety, an improvement in self-esteem, and reduced vulnerability to drug use than the control group.


Even Thinking About Forgiving Helps

Forgiveness is indeed for the forgiver. Research also shows that people who think about forgiving are not only happier — they are also healthier. That’s right, even thinking about forgiving helps to improve the nervous and cardiovascular systems in research subjects. Still more benefits:

  • Physical Health: In addition to lower mortality rates, forgiveness is linked with better immune system functioning, lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of heart problems.
  • Mental Health: Forgiveness is associated with fewer negative feelings (anxiety and depression), higher self-esteem, more feelings of control and freedom, an increased ability to cope with stress and trauma, finding meaning in suffering, and increased feelings of closeness to God and others.
  • Relationship Health: Forgiveness is linked with higher quality marriages and more committed romantic relationships. With forgiveness, grudges don’t intrude in the relationships and couples can work toward rebuilding trust.

The Forgiveness Process

So how can you learn this skill? We learn to forgive by first seeking forgiveness ourselves, though forgiving ourselves can be particularly challenging. But as we come to understand what it means to be forgiven ourselves, we can become more eager to forgive other people for their transgressions.

Acknowledge your own humanity. When we appreciate that we are imperfectly perfect human beings, accepting that wrongs are part of life is easier to digest. Life is full of up and downs. Forgiveness is simply an effective coping skill for managing life on life’s terms.

To get started, choose a minor hurt or offense that you have superficially forgiven but the peace and the emotional experience of forgiveness might be eluding you. Why start with a minor hurt? If you were learning to play a musical instrument like the piano you wouldn’t try to learn the skills you need to play well by playing with the Houston Symphony. You’d learn the skills by practicing the basics. In the same way, if you choose a really difficult offense that you still need to forgive, such as physical abuse as a child or the murder of a close relative, you won’t have the bandwidth to learn and apply new skills.

Ask yourself if you are holding onto anger, a desire for revenge or resentment. Is it helpful? Is your life better as a result of allowing these anchors to the past to mire you down in unwanted emotions? If the answer is no, then remember, your life is your own creation. Where you apply your attention will make your experience. So, attend to helpful thoughts. Let go of resentments.

Forgiveness is really more about our relationship with ourselves than whom or what we are forgiving. We should be our own best friends, but instead we frequently judge, shame and otherwise beat ourselves up. Accept the past, journal about it, share it with others, make sense of it, and then direct your attention to helpful things: recovery, goals, hopes, helping others, or using your strengths in meaningful ways.

Forgiveness Counteracts the Bad

Recall how strong the negativity bias is? Our brains light up more when exposed to frightening images than happy ones and we are better at recalling the facts of negative events than positive ones.

That means that even after you have forgiven, fear may try rekindling the fire of resentment from time to time. When that happens, remind yourself (aloud if necessary) that you have forgiven and you would like to move on.

Repeat the forgiveness process if necessary, set your attention on meaningful, healthy goals and activities, and get busy flourishing in recovery.

Psychology and Psychologists

Psychology and Psychologists

Psychology is by far the newest hot topic in our society. Whether it’s an instant diagnosis of an out-of-control actor or actress, airline pilot, sports figure, or political candidate, the media swarm to provide explanations in the form of quickie diagnoses and social commentary.

Even as the global economy proceeds in its faltering recovery, developing countries overturn their leaders, and the nation’s debt continues to soar, the media quickly gloss over these events and instead focus their attention on the latest star’s personality meltdown. Of course, although the media shape our perceptions of news events, they also base their coverage on what they think the public wants.  And the public wants psychology, or at least they think they do.

Whenever a star enters rehab, breaks up a long-term relationship, or sadly becomes gravely ill, there is invariably a media psychologist ready to comment. In many cases, the psychologist is a legitimate professional with appropriate background to provide insightful commentary. However, the commentary must come in such small sound bites due to time limitations that the subtleties are ignored in favor of obvious and broad generalizations.

Psychologists portrayed in television dramas and sitcoms also perpetuate an image of the field that is inaccurate. Movie characters with psychological disorders may or may not be realistically depicted, but they invariably are slanted toward the psychopathic end of the spectrum. Given the popularity of crime dramas, it’s natural enough that the majority of characters have antisocial personality disorder, substance dependence, or both.

We all desperately want to understand our behavior and this explains psychology’s rising popularity. It’s for this reason that we so often fall prey to psychological misrepresentations in the media and myths.

But what do we really know about psychology? Much of what people learn in high-school and college students introductory courses is scientifically accurate, particularly when students are exposed to great textbooks and great teachers. However, as in any field, there are changes and new knowledge that don’t reach people who don’t go on into more advanced study or keep up with the literature.

You may have heard, for example, that the only jobs open to psych majors who don’t go on for a master’s or doctorate are not actually in psychology.  If this were true at one time, it’s no longer true anymore. There are a variety of great jobs open to people who majored in psychology in college.

Many research labs in hospitals and private companies employ psychology majors with a bachelor’s degree. These lab assistants conduct interviews, analyze data, and serve in administrative roles. Psych students with a background in research obtained while they were in college provide valuable functions in these labs and may stay in those positions for many years, receiving promotions as they continue to gain on-the-job training and expertise.

Bachelor’s level psychologists can also serve important functions in such jobs as behavior analysts involved in providing services to specific populations such as work with developmentally challenged children and adults. Outside of psychology, a bachelor’s degree provides a valuable background for jobs in industry, sales, marketing, and a host of other people-oriented positions.

Moving into the realm of psychological knowledge, there is also much to rethink about the field. Some “facts” are never taught in a factually correct way because traditions handed down fail to convey the whose story. Who founded the first psychology lab in 1879, for example?  The usual answer we teach students is Wilhelm Wundt, who set up his psychophysics recording devices in Leipzig, Germany and began measuring responses.

However, in that very same year, William James set up his own psychology lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was not an “experimental” lab in the same way that Wundt’s was, but James nevertheless intended to provide a scientific study of behavior through his newly-developed stream of consciousness method. Wundt may be credited with being more scientific than was James, but as you may recall, Wundt based many of his behavioral observations on thinking about what his mind was doing (introspection). Not really all that different from stream of consciousness when you come right down to it.

Then there’s the expression “Correlation doesn’t equal causation.” What psychology student has not memorized this mantra? While doing so, students come to believe that correlation can’t possibly demonstrate causation. I won’t argue that this statement was never true.

For many decades, the only correlational statistic around (Pearson’s r) offered no hope of determining directionality. However, starting in the 1970s, statisticians discovered ways to use correlations in prediction equations. Mediational methods soon followed, and we now have impressive ways to draw arrows from predictors to outcomes in complex correlational models.

By the same token, experimental studies weren’t always the best way to determine causality.  Students learn that by comparing the average scores of experimental vs. control groups, they can prove that the experimental manipulation “caused” the outcome. We know now that unless researchers control for possible third (fourth, fifth or more) factors, even studies using experimental designs may lead researchers to draw erroneous conclusions.

Random assignment of people to conditions controls for many problems in experimental studies, but doesn’t guarantee a completely clean path to causality.  A great example of this problem was the research that led to discovery of the “Hawthorne effect.” You may remember this as the idea that being observed may lead to changes in performance apart from the treatment itself.  Just by conducting an experiment you may be producing spurious results.

Now let’s get to the idea that neurons, once destroyed, are gone forever. Neurons ordinarily do not replace themselves after they die. However, neurons can regenerate throughout the nervous system. Existing neurons also continue to grow new dendrites in healthy brains throughout life, making it possible to lay down new synapses, or connections, with other neurons. Instead of the brain simply withering and dying as we grow older, it has the potential for continued plasticity.

The old tried-and-true facts in social psychology are also going through important revisions. We are now gaining insight into the old adage that attitudes don’t predict behavior. The theory of reasoned action, developed in the 1970s, showed that our intentions and the expectations of our social group affect the attitude-behavior relationship. You can predict behavior from attitudes as long as you are measuring the right intervening factors. Researchers also know now that we have to take into account the attitudes that people don’t outwardly express in order to predict their behavior.

You may say that you are completely unbiased toward people of different races, genders, or nationalities—these are your explicit attitudes. However, lurking under the surface of your outward open-mindedness may be the implicit attitudes that reflect your true, hidden, biases. A simple tool known as the Implicit Association Test compares your implicit and explicit attitudes. People’s implicit attitudes correlate much more strongly with their actual behavior, particularly when people wish to present themselves in a favorable light.

This brings us to a discussion of the unconscious and its role in everyday life. Just as Freud’s “discovery” of the unconscious (a supposed fact which itself is a myth) led to the wide popularity of psychodynamic movement, the throwing aside of Freudian concepts is equally popular in a world now increasingly dominated by neuroscience.

However, you don’t have to believe in the universality of the Oedipus complex to recognize that many events that we experience take place outside the realm of awareness. If you’ve ever been the victim of inattentional blindness, such as not seeing the “invisible gorilla,” you can certainly attest to the fact that you don’t perceive or remember everything that has ever happened to you.

These are just a few out of many of the psychological facts that we once learned which are no longer considered facts (if they ever even were). I invite you to explore the many new and fascinating ways in which psychology is evolving.

Keeping an open mind and challenging the status quo in any field will help you stay on top of the latest knowledge. In psychology, your open mind may also help you reach the goal we all seek of better self-understanding.

Performance: How to Use The 3 Golden Rule to Win


When is comes to winning or losing a title or a competition, maybe the competition you prepared all your life for, best performers have personal rules and they don’t let  much to the chance. They respect to the letter The 3 Golden Rule !

Rule number one : Enough Sleep

The National Sleep Research Project, states that if it takes you less than 5 minutes to fall asleep, you are sleep deprived.

According to many years of research, experts say that the most important thing for boosting athletic performance and winning a championship or a world record, isn’t the most amazing uniform or the best shoes or a high-carbohydrate diet, the secret is actually a bit more simpler: A good night Sleep!

“I think sleep gets the shorter end of the stick, when we all, athlete or otherwise, have competing priorities,” said Norah Simpson, a sports scientist at Stanford University who studies the role of sleep on athletic performance. And sometimes athletes are confronting with jet lag, thanks to international travel, or unusual time when the competition takes place.

To understand even better the consequences of sleep deprivation, you need to know that sleep is a resource that condition the state of well-being and the physiology of a human, long interruption generates serious disorders. Human performance is dependent of sleep-wake homeostasis ( the sleep-biorhythmia is genetically determined and has a regular character). Sports performance is dependent on both,  the amount of sleep you get, and quality of the sleep before a competition.

The negative effects of sleep deprivation include : thinking process is slowing down, decline of memory capacity, decreased alertness, attention concentration, decline of  efficiency in aerobic and anaerobic exercises, faster fatigue, and hindrance to restoration.

Did you know that top athletes, like Roger Federer, gets between 11 and 12 hours of sleep per night, also the NBA basketball player, LeBron James, gets 12 hours of sleep per night? How many hours do you have?


Rule number two : Breathing Training

man in yellow and black tank top doing exercise on seashore at daytime
Photo by Artem Bali on Pexels.com

Oxygen is an essential element, air quality and breathing are directly related to the quality of life. Any vices have negative effects on the human being and cause somatic and psychic disorders. In sport performance, oxygen is essential to all athletes because it facilitates the production of glycogen, one of the main sources of muscle energy. During training, the glucose molecule is divided into 2 molecules of pyruvic acid. One of the molecules enters muscle cells, where, in combination with oxygen, produces triphosphate adenosine (ATP – Adenosine TriPhosphate) – the source of muscle energy.

Recommendations on healthy breathing:

  • You should do your physical exercises in areas with the lowest possible degree of pollution ( especially early in the morning, mountain where the air is thinner, also in parks, green areas, outside the city);
  • You should avoid exercising in periods with ultraviolet rays, if you can’t, you should try indoor;
  • Avoid arias where is smoke or people smoke ;
  • The attention should be focused on breathing, and the muscles involved in breathing, to have maximum efficiency you should ask for specialized help.

Rule number 3 : Mindfulness

According to Professor Peter Clough and Dr. Keith Earl, “mental strength is the capacity that an individual has to deal effectively with the stressors, challenges and pressure to present their best performance in spite of their circumstances”.

The application of mindfulness in sport performance is more popular then ever, but in the year 1775 Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi presented the Flow Theory, witch suggests that optimal performance can be achieved when the mind of the executing person is totally absorbed by the task. Work experience is an interaction between skill and level of challenge. Experience with “flow “is more likely to occur when an athlete is highly qualified and personally challenged by the situation.

For example in combat sports like Mixed Martial Arts, for the athlete to have the best mental focus, it is necessary to move into “another world “ once he steps into the octagon, ring or tatami, where sometimes nothing more is heard then the coach’s instructions.

Here you have some of the most important benefits of mindfulness:

  • Improves ability to control thoughts and emotions;
  • Manage psychical discomfort;
  • Increase recovery time;
  • Maintain you present 100% in the moment;
  • Enhance endurance and concentration;
  • Increases connection between the brain and body, enhancing physical efficiency;
  • Boosts your confidence –  by learning how to get unstuck from negative thinking patterns;
  • Mindfulness helps you adapt and change to whatever situation you are faced with.

What rules do you have and use, for your personal success?







Athletes Mental Health

Supporting Our Athletes Mental Health

Mental health is an important and often overlooked dimension of overall young athlete health and optimal functioning. Mental health exists on a continuum, with resilience and thriving on one end of the spectrum and mental health disorders that disrupt a young- athlete’s functioning and performance at the other.

Approximately one in five adults experiences mental illness in a given year, and this rate tends to be highest among young adults, many of whom are college junior athletes or young athletes.

Prevalence estimates of mental illness among young  athletes are relatively similar to their non-athlete peers. Even in the absence of a clinically diagnosable mental health disorder, young athletes may have impaired overall well-being as a result of sub-clinical symptoms of mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression and insomnia or the misuse of substances such as alcohol or prescription drugs.

Emerging adulthood is an important and sometimes difficult developmental period. Collage athletes are faced with similar developmental challenges as their non-athlete peers and additionally must respond to the challenges and opportunities of collegiate sport. The sport environment has both risk and protective factors for mental health disorders. Additionally, genetic predispositions and environmental influences outside of the sport environment may impact mental health.
Mental and physical health are inextricably linked. For example, there is evidence suggesting an elevated risk of injury among athletes who experience anxiety or depression, who abuse alcohol or who have an eating disorder. Furthermore, the athlete’s psychological response to injury has the potential to exacerbate existing vulnerabilities to depression or anxiety, substance abuse or disordered eating behaviors.

Insomnia and sleep disorders can be an indicator or risk factor for mental health challenges, and can compromise academic and athletic performance through direct or indirect pathways.
Mental health is a key component of young athlete wellness, and the athletics department can play a pivotal role in providing an environment that supports wellness while also providing resources so that young-athletes can obtain referrals to mental health services.

The sport environment is an important venue for establishing mental health promotion practices, destigmatizing mental health challenges, normalizing care seeking, facilitating early identification of mental health disorders and ensuring that all student-athletes in need receive care from a licensed practitioner who is qualified to provide mental health services. It is also an important venue to learn about the role that mental well-being plays in total health and the ability to thrive, both on and off the field of play. Indeed, sport can provide an exceptional opportunity to promote and develop mental wellness for life.
Student-athlete mental well-being is best served through a collaborative process of engaging the full complement of available campus and community resources, which may include athletics, campus health, counseling services, disability services and community agencies.