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Creativity & The New Creative Mind

Creativity & the New Creative Mind

The old creative mind used life for the exploration and enrichment of creativity.
The (empowered) new creative mind uses creativity for the exploration and enrichment of life and new human frontiers.



1. What is Creativity?

2. The Old Creative Mind versus the New Creative Mind

3. The Creative Mind: Brain Structure

4. The Creative Mind: Left-Right Brain Functions

5. The Creative Mind: Corpus Callosum (The Inter-sphere Highway)

6. The Creative Mind: Neurons, Neurotransmitters, Glia Cells & Neuronal Pathways

7. The New Creative Mind: Neuroplasticity - Forming New Neuronal Pathways Through Action & Experience

8. The New Creative Mind and Emotions

9. The New Creative Mind and Depression

10. The New Creative Mind and Dyslexia

11. The New Creative Mind and ADD/ADHD

12. The New Creative Mind and Writing


1.What is Creativity?


Creative Mind

The word "creative" or "creativity" comes from the Latin word "creare" which means "to create, to make" or "to produce". Some ancient cultures, however, did not use the word "to create" to describe the act of 'making' or 'producing' something but rather the word "to discover".

Beginning in the Renaissance (14th - 17th century), into the Age of Enlightenment (18th century), and continuing into the 19th and 20th century, creativity became more and more associated with imagination, creative insights, illuminations, ingenuity, intelligence, and genius.

Today, modern advances in the field of neuroscience provide a new insight into creativity and the creative process. Unlike the past, researchers today are discovering that creativity is not just for a few special people, but that the potential for creativity lies in each person - most specifically, in the brain of each person.

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2. The Old Creative Mind versus the New Creative Mind



The Old Creative Mind

The New Creative Mind
Having a creative mind was considered to be the gift of a few talented minds. Today, modern advances in the field of neuroscience provide a new insight into creativity and the creative process. Unlike the past, researchers today are discovering that creativity is not just for a few special people, but that the potential for creativity lies in each person.
Creativity and the creative mind was thought to be the prerogative of young people. Creativity can be acquired throughout a lifetime at any age.
Being creative was guided by intuition. Being creative is guided by intention.
Being creative was mastered through practicing innate and familiar skills. Being creative is mastered through practicing unfamiliar skills.
Creativity was developed and strengthened on either right or left hemisphere. Creativity is developed and strengthened on both right and left hemisphere.
Creativity focused on already strong right or left brain hemispheric tendencies. Creativity explores and expands across both hemispheres via the corpus callosum
Creativity is guided by existing neural pathways. Creativity is guided by the intention of forming new neural pathways.
The creative mind is influenced by the power of neurotransmitters. The new creative mind influences neurotransmitters.
The creative mind is channeled by talent and intellect. The new creative mind can develop new neuronal pathways through action and experience.
Life is dedicated to the exploration and enrichment of creativity. Visit our list of famous people. Creativity is dedicated to the exploration and enrichment of life and new human frontiers. See examples.

The creative mind and intelligence are determined by genetics and by experience . Both genetics (the program that governs the overall structure of what neural connections in the brain are set up) and experience influence the nature and quality of our brain's neural networks and thus the functioning of our brain.

Neuroscientific research indicates that experience can actually change both the brain's physical structure (anatomy) and functional organization (physiology).

Neuroscientists are currently illustrating the brain's ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections (called Neuroplasticity) throughout life and how the brain can - and does - change.

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3. The Creative Mind: Brain Structure

Brain

Having a new creative mind is a potential that everyone can explore.

Most recent discoveries in neuroscience have established that the biological basis for the creative mind lies in the brain.
In order to understand creativity, it is beneficial to understand the basic structure of the brain.


The brain has three main parts:

1. The cerebrum

2. The cerebellum

3. The brain stem



1. The cerebrum comprises the whole upper part of the skull (about nine-tenths of the whole brain). The deeply wrinkled gray surface of the cerebrum is called the cerebral cortex. It lies right under the skull, and consists of about 14 billion neurons.

2. The word cerebellum means 'little brain' and is beneath the cerebrum. The cerebellum is responsible for muscle movement, posture, and coordination. Drinking water without spilling it, walking or running easily, and being able to throw a ball straight are skills related to this part of the brain. Like the cerebrum, the cerebellum has two hemispheres.

3. The brain stem lies below the cerebellum (muscle movement), thalamus (which receives sensation messages like pain, pressure, temperature and then sends it to the cerebrum), and hypothalamus (responsible for hunger, thirst, sleepiness, anger, fear, happiness and also controls growth).

The human brain is a 3-pound (1.4-kilogram) mass of jelly-like fats and tissues. It is the most complex of all known living structures.

Up to one trillion nerve cells work together and coordinate the physical actions and mental processes that set humans apart from other species. Surgeons can cut living brains without fear of hurting their patients—the organ is incapable of feeling pain.



CreativeBrain


The cerebral cortex (the deeply wrinkled area) is divided into four major parts called lobes:


a. Frontal/prefrontal lobe (blue)—conscious thought, decision making, personality

b. Parietal lobe (green)—plays important roles in integrating sensory information from various senses and in the manipulation of objects; portions of the parietal lobe are involved with visuospatial processing

c. Occipital lobe (red)—sense of sight; vision, lesions can produce hallucinations

d. Temporal lobe (pink)—senses of smell and sound, short and long term memory, processing of complex stimuli like faces and scenes





To the right, view of the brain from below:
pink - frontal lobe,
brown= temporal lobe,
green = cerebellum



The cerebrum and the cerebral cortex are divided into the right and left hemispheres. The two hemispheres are linked to each other by the corpus callosum , a thick bundle of nerves. (see below)
Brainlobes

brainbottom

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4. Left-Right Brain Functions

The New Creative Mind is aware of a potential left-right brain hemisphere dominance
and explores non-dominant brain areas.


<
Left Brain Functions Right Brain Functions
  • Centers for Logic

  • Language
  • Mathematics
  • Analytical Thought
  • Facts
  • Language
  • Grammar, Vocabulary
  • Speech
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Language Comprehension
  • Science
  • Numerical Calculations
  • Sequential Thinking
  • Rational
  • Objective
  • Looks at Parts


  • Controls right side of body

  • Input from right visual field, right ear, left nostril


LeftRight



  • Centers for Creativity

  • Spatial Perception
  • Music
  • Holistic Thought
  • Intuition
  • Artistic creation
  • Art
  • Randomness
  • Synthesizing
  • Subjective
  • Nonverbal
  • Looks at the Whole
  • Face Recognition
  • Spatial Visualization
  • Ability to recognize /express emotions
  • ability to understand shapes and forms
  • having a sense of humor


  • Controls left side of body

  • Input from left visual field, left ear, right nostril

Many people are familiar with the traditional division of left versus right brain functioning: The right brain controls the left side of the body and the left brain controls the right side of the body. The right brain is considered to be the more creative or emotional hemisphere and the left brain is considered to be the analytical and judgmental hemisphere . Anything that is new or not familiar to an individual is right brain dominant. Anything that is familiar is left brain dominant.

Most recent experiments, however, have shown that the left-right division of the brain is not as rigid as it was once believed. Many brain functions are actually not confined to certain fixed locations but are much more distributed and interactive across both hemispheres and all brain regions.

Even though the major areas for language are located in the left hemisphere of the brain, the right hemisphere has language capabilities that can be used (through speech training) to overcome a loss of speaking ability in stroke victims.

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5. Corpus Callosum: The Inter-sphere Highway

Corpus

The New Creative Mind intentionally crosses the inter-sphere highway (the corpus callosum)
to exercise both hemispheres of the brain.


Corpus Callosum:
Left and right hemisphere are brought together in the Corpus Callosum. The Corpus Callosum merges the information from both sides and facilitates the communication between the two hemispheres.


The Corpus Callosum is a large structure in the brain that connects the left and right cerebral hemispheres. It consists of a very thick bundle of nerve fibers (with myelinated and unmyelinated axons).

Information is passed from the left hemisphere to the right and vice versa. This is a vital function as the two hemispheres perform different tasks and need to communicate not only efficiently but extremely fine and rapid.




There are specific activities that can stimulate the left brain:


solving crossword
word search puzzles

recalling new information

hand gestures

classifications of pictures or words into categories

recalling complex narratives

recognizing someone you have met

name recognition

listening to music primarily with your right ear

doing math


Corpus2







The better and more refined the highway, the more and the faster information can flow between the left and right hemisphere.


















There are activities that can stimulate the right brain:


dealing with emotional issues

recalling memorized lists

seeing or feeling objects of different sizes,

seeing different colors

seeing unfamiliar faces

meeting someone new


listening to music with your left ear


Corpus Callosum: Functions & Characteristics

The corpus callosum grows constantly throughout childhood and adolescence. Behavioral studies suggest the existence of a critical time period for callosal functional development starting around the age of 6 years.

A statistical analysis revealed that children whose callosal isthmus increased in thickness over the course of 2 years showed a decrease in interhemispheric information transfer. Children exhibiting a decrease in isthmus thickness revealed an increase in information transfer. These results might indicate a refinement process of the callosal connections to optimize the neuronal communication between the developing cerebral hemispheres.


The story told in "Rain Man" was a Hollywood fabrication, but the character of Raymond Babbit was inspired by a flesh-and-blood individual, Kim Peek, whose remarkable talents despite very severe disabilities closely mirrored those portrayed in the film.  Peek, who died in December 2009 of a heart attack at age 58, was born with macrocephaly and congenital brain abnormalities including the absence of a corpus callosum . From an early age, Peek had a prodigious memory, and as an adult he read and memorized whole books as well as enormous amounts of information. With his father, he travelled and spoke about his condition in the wake of the fame that came with "Rain Man." Psychiatrist Darold Treffert, M.D., who served as a consultant for the film script, called "Rain Man" a "remarkably accurate and sensitive" portrayal of savant syndrome.

In addition to an absence of the corpus callosum, similar conditions are hypogensis (partial formation), dysgensis (malformed), and hypoplasia (underdevelopment, including too thin).

In order to increase function or activation of the left or right brain via the corpus callosum, clinicians may use big letters made up of small letters. If you look at the small letters you will fire the right cerebellum to the left brain. If you look at the big letters you will fire the left cerebellum to right brain.

Auditory stimulation (listening to nature sounds, clicks of a metronome, or Mozart in a major key) in the left ear comes to the right brain and vice versa for the right ear.

Transfer of information through touch from the fingertips of one hand to the other without looking requires use of the corpus callosum. The information on which finger was touched must cross this neural bridge to get to the opposite hand.

"Design Magnetic resonance imaging scans were obtained from children with developmental dyslexia and from matched control children. Morphometric measurements were examined to determine if regional differences existed in the corpus callosum between these two groups of children. Setting Magnetic resonance imaging studies were completed at Athens (Ga) Magnetic Imaging. ... Results: Analysis of the corpus callosum revealed that the anterior region of interest (the genu) was significantly smaller in the dyslexic children. Significant correlations existed between reading achievement and the region-of-interest measurements for the genu and splenium. Measured intelligence, chronologic age, and gender were not related to region-of-interest measurements of the corpus callosum. Consistent with previous studies, the dyslexic individuals were characterized by significant psychiatric comorbidity, particularly attention deficit disorder with and without hyperactivity. Reported familial left-handedness also distinguished the dyslexic children. ...Conclusions: Subtle neurodevelopmental variation in the morphology of the corpus callosum may be associated with the difficulty that dyslexic children experience in reading and on tasks involving interhemispheric transfer." Source: Archives of Neurology

The Corpus Callosum has been linked by scientists to Dyslexia, ADHD, Emotional Disabilities, and Autism. A timing problem in interhemispheric transfer of information as well as insufficient information passing between the two halves of the brain has been the object of most recent studies. We will continue to add more "crossing the corpus callosum" techniques to the individual subtopics below.

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6. Neurons, Neurotransmitters, Glia Cells, Neuronal Pathways

brainneuron3

How is the information that is being passed across the corpus callosum processed?

By Neurons - the thought processing centers of the brain.


The human brain may contain up to one trillion neurons. These neurons are interconnected via neuronal pathways so that they can transmit electrical impulses—and information—to other cells.
Billions of neurons (also knows as neurone or nerve cell) are linked to each other throughout the body in networks that make up the central nervous system (CNS) and the peripheral nervous system (PNS).

The CNS consists of the brain and spinal cord.
The PNS consists of the network of nerves (a bundle of neurons) outside the brain.

Neurons carry signals (messages) back and forth from the brain to other parts of the body.


A neuron has four major parts, each with a specialized function:

1. Cell body : The cell body directs the maintenance and repair of the cell. Like many other cells, it contains a nucleus with chromatin and DNA, mitochondria, and apparatus for translating DNA to RNA to protein.

2. Dendrites: Several dendrites (input connections) of a neuron receive signals from other neurons or from the external environment.

3. Axon: One axon (output connection) conducts electrical signals or impulses via the synaptic terminals to the dendrites (input connection) of another neuron. Axons are surrounded by a fatty covering called a myelin sheath. Myelin acts like insulation around an electric wire and helps speed neuron messages. Some axons can reach from the spinal cord to the feet.

4. Synapse: Because neurons do not touch one another, a message has to leap from one neuron to the next neuron across a tiny gap called a synapse.
Synapses always pass signals in the same direction and do not work in reverse.


A message (an electrical impulse) is passed from one neuron to many others along an almost endless number of neuronal pathways. (picture to the right)





How neurons transfer information:

1. Through internal or external stimuli (other neurons or touch, sound, light, smell, pressure, heat, etc.) the brain's neurons receive signals.

2. Dendrites, which are branched and provide a large surface area, perform the "receive function" for those signals. (either chemical neurotransmitters or electrical signals).

3. If chemical neurotransmitters are received, the dendrites can transform those into electrical signals.

4. The electrical signals travel down the dendrites and come together on the neuron's cell body which serves as an integration center.

5. The neuron's cell body adds up the signals. If the sum of all these signals is sufficiently positive, the neuron will produce an electrical output signal (action potential).

6. The electrical output signal travels along the axon to the synapse (synaptic terminal) where it triggers the release of chemicals called neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine (adrenaline)) into the synapse.

7. The neurotransmitters are picked up by receptor sites on the dendrite of another neuron where they again are transformed into electrical impulses.






Some common Neurotransmitters:

Serotonin is a common neurotransmitter manufactured in the brain where it performs important functions. Besides the brain, 90% of a person's serotonin supply can be found in the digestive tract and in blood. An imbalance of serotonin can affect a person's appetite, mood, memory processing, sleep, sexual desire, and social behavior.

Dopamine is another common neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. It helps to regulate movement and emotional responses and enables people to see rewards and work towards them. A deficiency in dopamine is the critical factor influencing Parkinson’s disease. Physicians often prescribe dopamine therapy to increase dopamine levels in the brain. (Source: )

Epinephrine (also known as adrenaline) is a neurotransmitter and a hormone. It increases heart rate, constricts blood vessels, dilates air passages, and participates in the fight-or-flight response of the sympathetic nervous system.

Norepinephrine (noradrenaline) . Norepinephrine is also a neurotransmitter and a hormone. It assists in the body's response to stressful situations. It is also involved in increasing blood sugar levels, opening up the bronchial airways, converting bodily fats to fatty acids, controlling heart rate and blood pressure, and participates in the fight-or-flight response.

Endorphins (endogenous morphine)
Endorphins are endogenous opioid peptides that function as neurotransmitters. They are produced by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus in vertebrates during exercise, excitement, pain, consumption of spicy food, love and orgasm. They resemble the opiates in their abilities to produce analgesia and a feeling of well-being.
Brainneuron

A neuron (picture above) is an electrically excitable cell that processes and transmits information via neuronal pathways (picture below).

Pathways

A number of specialized types of neurons exist:
Sensory neurons respond to touch, sound, light and other stimuli affecting cells of the sensory organs that then send signals to the spinal cord and brain. Motor neurons receive signals from the brain and spinal cord, cause muscle contractions, and affect glands. Interneurons connect neurons to other neurons within the same region of the brain or spinal cord.

Neuron

Why does it matter?

The Synapse, Neurotransmitters, or Receptors are affected by drugs (cocaine, morphine, opium, codeine, heroin, LSD), Alcohol, tranquilizers, some antidepressant medications, and other chemical substances.

It has been estimated that the brain of a three-year-old child has about 1 quadrillion synapses. This number declines with age, stabilizing by adulthood. Estimates vary for an adult with 100 to 500 trillion synapses .

Serotonin


The neurotransmitter serotonin also plays a role in aggression. A lack of dopamine reduces frontal lobe activity and has been associated with schizophrenia. Endorphins play a role in the system which produces sensations of pain and pleasure.


Glia cells (or Glial) outnumber the neurons ten to one. They do not carry messages but surround, support, and protect neurons. Glia cells supply nutrients and other chemicals to the neurons allowing neurons to function optimally.
There are three major types of Glia cells:

1. Astrocytes (green, number 6 in picture) Astrocytes provide structural and nutritional support for neurons, isolation of the synapse, debris cleanup, blood–brain barrier, and participation in chemical signaling. Astrocytes form connections with the blood supply of the brain. The close association of astrocytes with the blood supply allows these glia to transfer glucose and other nutrients to the neurons. Along with specially constructed capillaries in the brain, the astrocytes contribute to the blood–brain barrier . The blood–brain barrier prevents most toxins circulating in the blood from entering the brain. Astrocytes surround and isolate the area of the synapse keeping neurotransmitters from floating around unwanted areas in the brain.

2. Oligodendrocyte (purple, number 1 in picture to the right). Provide myelination (insulation) of a neuron's axons.

3. Microglia (brown, number 5 in picture, Debris cleanup) Microglia are the brain’s immune cells, but they also monitor neighboring brain cells for damage and gobble up debris.




Most recent and ongoing research is exploring the importance of glia cells in all aspects of brain functioning.
Glia

Source: Stanford University School of Medicine

Astrocytes (6) carry on a host of activities. Their long extensions can monitor levels of neuronal activity either along axons at synapses (7) – junctions that relay signals from one neuron to the next – and, when those activity levels are high, signal to local blood vessels (8) to dilate, increasing blood supply to hard-working neurons. Astrocytes also produce and secrete substances that have a major influence on the formation and elimination of synapses.

Why is an understanding of the brain's hemispheres, corpus callosum, neurons, synapses, neurotransmitters, glia cells and neuronal pathways important for the new creative mind?

There are many things that science does know, but there are many more things that science does not know. The fascination and mystery of the creative mind will therefore remain for yet a very long time. While the mystery of the creative mind continues, though, a neurological understanding of the brain helps to protect, support, and expand the new creative mind as we know it now.


Most recent research has found that the brain has the ability to form new neuronal pathways and connections through action and experience . The brain's ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life is called neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity allows the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain to compensate for injury and disease and to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in their environment. Brain reorganization takes place by mechanisms such as "axonal sprouting" in which undamaged axons grow new nerve endings to reconnect neurons whose links were injured or severed. Undamaged axons can also sprout nerve endings and connect with other undamaged nerve cells, forming new neuronal pathways to accomplish a needed function.

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7. The New Creative Mind: Neuroplasticity

With the new discovery of neuroplasticity (the brain's ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections through action and experience), neuroscientists are now revising their previous findings of the immutability of the brain after development with the more recent research showing how the brain can, and does, change.


With new scientific techniques like MRIs (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), or Pet scans (Position Emission Tomography), researchers can observe changes in an individual's brain as it responds to an odor, visual stimuli, auditory stimuli, or other stimuli.

The right shows the Pet scan of a person as he/she reacts to outside stimuli.



brain11




Similarly, the damaged region of stroke patients can be precisely localized by the lack of blood flow, metabolic activity, and neural activity.

brainpetscan



You are not dead until your brain is dead. Your brain needs two things to survive:
Fuel and Activation.

Fuel comes in the form of oxygen and glucose.

Glucose comes from the food you eat, and oxygen comes from the air you breathe.

The art of breathing as well as the art of eating has therefore a major impact on how our brain functions!




Activation of our brain comes through our actions and experience.






The art of breathing can be learned through meditation:

Research on the processes and effects of meditation is a growing subfield of neurological research. Modern scientific techniques and instruments, such as fMRI and EEG, have been used to see what happens in the body of people when they meditate. Meditation changes the brain. Neurological studies have shown substantial bodily changes as a consequence of regular meditative practice including growth in regions of the brain.
Learning Meditation is similar to learning other skills like how to ride a bike or play the piano.


Chakras


While we are born with a complete set of neurons, the connections between them are determined in major part by a learning process . Even though the overall program for determining which neurons should be connected together is under genetic control, it is external stimuli which are crucially important in determining what neuronal network connections are made.

Neuroplasticity, the brain's ability to form new neural pathways and connections through action and experience adds a new perspective and insight into the brain's response to positive/negative short-term stimuli and long-term stimuli.

Unfortunately, neuroplasticity (the ability of the brain to restructure and reorganize itself through experience and action), can have a negative impact on a person's brain, especially young children. Brain plasticity is involved in the development of sensory functions. The brain is born immature and it adapts to sensory inputs after birth. Neuroscientific research has found that repeated action and experience can change both the brain's physical structure (anatomy) and functional organization (physiology) not only during brain development of a child but throughout a person's lifetime . Research can now show that substantial changes occur in certain brain areas, and that these changes can profoundly alter the pattern of neuronal activation in response to experience.


Protecting the creative mind:

Air Pollution:

Air pollution can have serious effects on how our brain and creative mind functions. Currently, air pollution is known to cause damage to the central nervous system by altering the blood-brain barrier , causing neurons in the cerebral cortex to degenerate and destroy glia cells. These changes can permanently alter brain structure and chemistry, resulting in various impairments and disorders.


Nutritional Pollution:

Artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, and unnatural preservatives can alter neuronal as well as glia functions in the brain. Below is just one example of a recent research linking artificial colors with hyperactivity.

"In 2008 the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) in Washington, DC, petitioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban artificial food dyes because of their connection to behavioral problems in children. Two years later, a new CSPI report, Food Dyes: A Rainbow of Risks, further concludes that the nine artificial dyes approved in the United States likely are carcinogenic, cause hypersensitivity reactions and behavioral problems, or are inadequately tested. Artificial dyes derived from petroleum are found in thousands of foods. In particular breakfast cereals, candy, snacks, beverages, vitamins , and other products aimed at children are colored with dyes. Even some fresh oranges are dipped in dye to brighten them and provide uniform color, says Michael Jacobson, executive director at CSPI. .. Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6 contain benzidene, a human and animal carcinogen permitted in low, presumably safe levels in dyes... Meanwhile, in Europe, as of July 2010 most foods that contain artificial dyes must carry labels warning they may cause hyperactivity in children. “ (Source:



Emotional Pollution:


Another study conducted by J. Douglas Bremner, M.D., and colleagues at the Yale University Medical School also linked left-brain damage to childhood physical or sexual abuse. When they compared MRI scans of 17 adult survivors of childhood physical or sexual abuse with those of 17 control subjects, they found the left hippocampus of the abused subjects was 12 percent smaller than that of the controls. What’s more, the abnormalities were mostly or even exclusively in the left hemisphere of the brain.

A study funded by the National Institutes of Health, NARSAD, and donations from the Simches and Rosenberg families. "Hurtful Words: Exposure to Peer Verbal Aggression Is Associated With Elevated Psychiatric Symptom Scores and Corpus Callosum Abnormalities" found that physical and verbal abuse can damage the corpus callosum . Physical and verbal abuse can result in a major reduction in the size of the corpus callosum . It also appears that the psychological impact of childhood physical abuse can especially harm the left hemisphere of the brain.


Empowering the New Creative Mind:

European scientists discovered Parkinson’s disease patients can suddenly become creative when they take dopamine therapy, producing pictures, sculptures, novels and poetry. However, the extreme focus on the new interests may limit performance of normal daily tasks and social activities. Key findings of the study included: •The artwork presented by the patients was mainly drawings/paintings (83%), poetry/novels (50%) and sculpture (28%). In 78% of cases, the patients showed more than one skill, normally writing plus painting or drawing. Some of the patients produced art that was sold and books that were published, but, at the other end of the scale, some of the creative work was of a very poor quality. Source: PsychCentral.com


Human echolocation is a learned ability for humans to sense their environment from echoes. This ability is used by some blind people to navigate their environment and sense their surroundings in detail. Studies in 2010 and 2011 using Functional magnetic resonance imaging techniques have shown that parts of the brain associated with visual processing are adapted for the new skill of echolocation. The potential powers of the new creative mind are infinite.


A number of studies have linked meditation practice to differences in cortical thickness or density of gray matter. One of the most well-known studies to demonstrate this was led by Sara Lazar, from Harvard University, in 2000. Richard Davidson, a neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin, has led experiments in cooperation with the Dalai Lama on effects of meditation on the brain . His results suggest that long-term, or short-term practice of meditation results in different levels of activity in brain regions associated with such qualities as attention, anxiety, depression, fear, anger, the ability of the body to heal itself, and so on. These functional changes may be caused by changes in the physical structure of the brain.


Part of the reason for this [research] lies in new, more powerful brain-scanning technologies that not only can reveal a mind in the midst of meditation but also can detect enduring changes in brain activity months after a prolonged course of meditation. And it hasn't hurt that some well-known mainstream neuroscientists are now intrigued by preliminary reports of exceptional Buddhist mental skills. Paul Ekman of the University of California at San Francisco and Stephen Kosslyn of Harvard have begun their own studies of the mental capabilities of monks. In addition, a few rigorous, controlled studies have suggested that Buddhist-style meditation in Western patients may cause physiological changes in the brain and the immune system.


Some research results support new findings that different forms of exercise induce neuroplasticity changes in different brain regions. The Triple A Survival Guide for Emotions software program is an excellent way for anyone to explore the effects that different kinds of actions and experiences have on the brain and the creative mind.


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8. The New Creative Mind and Emotions

The old creative mind used life for the exploration and enrichment of creativity.
The (empowered) new creative mind uses creativity for the exploration and enrichment of life and new human frontiers.


Emotions are a powerful force. They can create and destroy. Emotions are also a powerful force because they are one of the most influential motivators that can propel us into action and experience and thus the formation of new neuronal pathways.


Generally, the limbic system is considered to be the "emotional brain". The limbic system is tightly connected to the prefrontal cortex and there is some evidence that the left prefrontal cortex is activated by positive stimuli. Additional factors affecting emotions are the neurotransmitters Serotonin, Dopamine, and Noradrenalin.

Different areas of the limbic system have a strong control over emotions such as pleasure, pain, anger, fear, sadness, sexual feelings and affection.


The major parts of the limbic system include the thalamus, hypothalamus, amygdala, and hippocampus.

Thalamus:
The thalamus relays sensory and motor signals to the cerebral cortex and regulates consciousness, sleep, and alertness.

Hypothalamus:
The hypothalamus links the nervous system to the endocrine system via the pituitary gland. It is roughly the size of an almond. The hypothalamus controls body temperature, hunger, thirst, fatigue, and sleep.

Amygdala:
The amygdala performs a primary role in the processing and memory of emotional reactions. It is involved with strong feelings of rage or aggression.

Hippocampus:
The hippocampus helps control the transferring of present experiences into permanent memories. It is also closely linked to the cerebral cortex. In Alzheimer's disease, the hippocampus is one of the first regions of the brain to suffer damage. Memory problems and disorientation appear among the first symptoms.
limbic

Source:

The fact that emotions are mainly processed in the limbic system and not in the prefrontal cortex (area for conscious thought and decision making) makes many individuals feel powerless when it comes to dealing with emotions. Feeling powerless and regarding emotions as something that has to be managed or controlled though, misses the true potential of emotions and the impact they can have on our life.

For the old creative mind, emotions were a source of inspiration that was often guided by innate talent or intuition. Many composers, musicians, writers, painters, sculptors, and other artists were able to bring the powerful force of emotions to life in their art. Unfortunately, being to able to feel and artistically express those emotions also came with the price of melancholy, depression, anger, fear, or despair. (Our eBook What's the Deal with Learning Disabilities discusses in detail the challenging emotions that many famous artists experienced)

Unlike the past, the new creative mind can be much more empowered. Today, the powerful force of emotions can serve not only as an inspiration for art and creativity but also as a powerful force for personal growth .

With a new understanding of creativity and how our brain functions, the new creative mind can use emotions to access and connect different areas of the brain. The interconnectedness of different areas of the new creative mind through the power of emotions can be seen in the life and work of Steve Jobs (connecting art and science), Bill Gates (connecting science and philanthropy), George Clooney, (acting and humanitarian work), Salman Khan (technology and teaching), and many more ..... Unlike the creative mind of the past, people with a new creative mind can use the powerful force of emotions to explore areas of interest beyond their initial field of expertise and interest.

The Triple A Survival Guide for Emotions Software Process

One of the major tasks in using the powerful force of emotions for creativity and growth is to move emotions from the limbic system into the prefrontal cortex (a cognitive level). Once the emotion has reached the prefrontal cortex, the "emotional signal" can be processed and directed to different areas of the brain for exploratory "testing" purposes.

Whether or not an emotional signal has reached an area of the brain that is responsive to forming new neuronal pathways can only be experienced through the actual activation of the brain - action.

The Triple A Survival Guide for Emotions software program was designed to move emotions from the limbic system into the prefrontal cortex and to provide a platform for forming potentially new neuronal pathways through actions. Some software users observed that the action they would have expected as responsive to their emotions was not the action that their creative mind needed - the difference between thinking about doing something versus actually doing something was quite surprising to many. From a Neuroscientific perspective this is not surprising since the process of thinking occurs in the prefrontal cortex while the process of action can happen anywhere in the brain. As the case studies below show, the exploration of the creative mind through action can reveal some amazing discoveries and insights.

Case studies:

Jeremy:
At the age of 11, Jeremy was an intelligent but overweight, overemotional, and over-vigilant young man. He hated his school, friends, his father (divorced from his mother), and his mother's boyfriend. After reading the What's the Deal with Learning Disability eBook, his mother recognized a potential artistic talent in her son but felt powerless and did not know how to help him. During the following weeks, Jeremy was shown how to use the Triple A Survival Guide for Emotion s software whenever he felt sad, angry, frustrated, and overcome by feelings that were difficult to cope with. The immediate effect of the program's first two steps (which focus on moving an emotion from the limbic system into the prefrontal cortex) became immediately obvious in Jeremy's grade improvement. Jeremy was now able to focus on his studies rather than on his emotions. Jeremy's activation of different brain areas - his actions- became a true exploratory journey. While his brain reacted positively to both left as well as right hemisphere activities (he became excellent in playing piano, writing, Karate, oil painting, and drawing), his brain's neuronal pathways really began to react and develop when he tried out Yoga.
At the age of 12, Jeremy attended his first yoga retreat and approximately one year later, he graduated from a 200-hour teacher training course through the Deep Yoga School of Healing Arts (DYSHA). At 13, Jeremy became a certified yoga teacher. At 14, Jeremy was recorded while chanting the 40-verse long Sanskrit prayer, Sri Hanuman Chalisa, which he originally memorized at 13. Currently 15 years of age, Jeremy continues to study Ayurveda, yoga's sister science, and Yoga Therapy.


Tom:
At the age of 8, Tom was diagnosed with severe active and passive language processing disabilities and characteristics of borderline autism. Tom's parents were dedicated, supportive, and willing to invest everything in their son's well-being and education. Even though the book What's the Deal with Learning Disabilities and the software program The Triple A Survival Guide for Emotions had not been published yet, they were more than interested in applying the concept of both to their own and their son's life. After learning about the concept that every disability has an amazing ability (as documented in What's the Deal with Learning Disability book) and the concept that emotions serve to propel us into growth (as exercised in the Triple A Survival Guide software), Tom's parents applied both the book and the software to their daily interaction with their son and their own overpowering, overwhelming, and devastating emotions.
Because of the concept of the Triple A Survival software program , the parents were not just able to deal with their overwhelming emotions but they were able to use those emotions to contribute to their child's growth. Tom's language processing difficulties made it difficult to communicate with him; however, his reaction to being exposed to different actions spoke more than words. To everyone's surprise, Tom's brain did not respond the most positively to painting, drawing, music, Karate, animals, or other boy's clubs activities, but to ice-skating. By combining ice-skating with music and gymnastics, several of Tom's brain areas showed positive stimulation and neuronal growth. Today, Tom is not only a successful college student but also an international ice-skating champion representing a whole nation.


Susan:
At the age of 23, Susan was working as a cashier at a Target store. During Target store rush hours (as she called it), emotions would fly high among customers and her coworkers. Trained by her supervisor not to show her emotions as a cashier (the customer is always right), Susan would come home exhausted, drained, and fed up with people. After using the Triple A for Survival software, Susan reported, "I'd come home, start Triple A, click,click,click..and felt better. The only action I picked was using the program :). I think the reason why it helped so easily was because I could vent my frustrations so quickly. Before I had the program, I would think about everything that bugged me at work for hours and it would make me tired. Now it was out, in the program, and done with it. It was also interesting to see the dates, how I felt, what I did, in the program's journal. That was neat. When I picked writing as an action, I discovered that while I was doing my job as a cashier (having to be nice), those annoying people in line were doing their job as humans (not being nice because of long lines, wrong prices, price-checks, declined credit cards - and what not). As one of my software program actions, I started making a list of all of the human emotions I got to witness from the people in line. Needless to say, since I now approach everything with my head instead of reacting with my own feelings, my whole energy at work and after work changed. I rarely get frustrated at work anymore. When I do, I use the software program in my head. I learned from the program that I can sometimes just let my feelings be and not have to do anything. I found out that by doing that, that I am controlling my emotions rather than my emotions controlling me. I also decided to try out some college courses in human behavior and see where it takes me.


Joe
At the age of 48, Joe was busy working as a custodian at a local college and providing for his family. He liked his neighborhood, his easy access to shopping, his short commute to work, and his children's school. However, dealing with the increasing littering of trash by local kids around his neighborhood used to drive him up the wall and bring up old anger issues. "As a custodian, I have to deal with trash all day long. The last thing I want to see when I come home is trash." By coincidence, Joe heard of the Triple A Survival Guide for Emotions software and since it only required a few clicks, wanted to put it to the test in dealing with his anger. "I actually started laughing when I clicked on the second step of the program." In dealing with his anger about the neighborhood trash, Joe tried different actions. Today, his children's school has a monthly litter pick-up program (under the guidance of Joe's custodian coworkers) with lunch donations from local businesses - and Joe has a clean neighborhood.


Roger
At the age of 56, Roger had worked most of his life as a farrier (a specialist in horse hoof care, including the trimming and balancing of horses' hooves and the placing of shoes on their hooves). Roger was not only working with horses but was as strong as a horse. At over 200 pounds, muscular, beard, and a deep voice), he would have been an excellent character as a blacksmith in any Western movie. Roger's physically demanding work had taken a toll on his back and he was suffering from chronic back pain. Medication was not really an option since he needed to be at the top of his mental performance while working with horses. Roger's wife, who used the Triple A Survival Software program, suggested to her husband to give it a try to see if it would lead him into finding an innovative response for his back pain. Most unexpectedly, Roger did find the perfect activity for his back pain - Yoga! Roger told us, "Yoga was the best thing that I could have done. It has taken care of all my back problems. I really enjoyed taking the yoga classes until my wife came to visit one time and saw all the girls in the yoga class in their tights - that was the end of that. Now I just take my yoga mat and do it at home. It is the best time investment ever."


Karen:
At the age of 52, Karen had spent much of her life suffering from clinical depression. After having tried antidepressant medication and experiencing severe side effects, Karen had decided not to take any more medication. Karen enjoyed her monthly sessions with her psychologist but they did not help her with her daily tiresome emotional struggles. As a history high school teacher, Karen found it difficult to focus on her students and her work. After using the Triple A Survival Guide for Emotions software for only 7 days, Karen was able to apply the program's first two steps (moving emotions from the limbic system into the prefrontal cortex) even when away from the program. Whenever possible during school breaks, while eating, or even during class time, Karen documented her experience in the software program. Since the software program records all experiences in a journal format, Karen was not concerned with having to move her actions and experiences into her hippocampus (transfer of present experiences into permanent memories) but could focus on how her brain responded to different actions. To Karen's surprise, her emotions did not propel her into the kind of growth that she would have expected - watching television, treating herself to chocolate or ice-cream, walking animals as a volunteer in an animal shelter, growing vegetables around her house, or autogenic training (a form of meditation).
A few months ago, Karen reported to us that her most interesting discovery in exploring a variety of actions was her positive response to creative growth and change. "I was never interested really in growing vegetables, working in the yard, or building anything. Following the software program, I tried all different kinds of actions, and to my surprise, seeing things grow and change actually helped the most with my depression. Now, instead of draining me of energy, my depression pushes me into creating something new and different."
Karen's most recent e-mail update informed us that she expanded her enjoyment of growth to her professional life. Instead of teaching history, she is now a high school support counselor for students dealing with emotional issues and depression.


Neuroscience and Emotions

Emotions & Memories:
Today, scientists do know that people tend to remember extremely happy or sad occasions vividly because of the emotional connection. Extreme emotions trigger the release of a chemical in the brain called norepinephrine . Norepinephrine somehow helps memories last a long time – some even a lifetime. For example, when a person asks, “Where were you when the 9/11 attacks happened?” most people can recall immediately where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news. They remember the moment as if it just happened because a national tragedy arouses emotion and emotion somehow makes memories last for a long time. Source: PsychCentral


Emotions & Meditation:
Research on the processes and effects of meditation is a growing subfield of neurological research. Modern scientific techniques and instruments, such as fMRI and EEG, have been used to see what happens in the body of people when they meditate. Meditation changes the brain. Neurological studies have shown substantial bodily changes as a consequence of regular meditative practice including growth in regions of the brain.

Richard Davidson, a neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin, has led experiments in cooperation with the Dalai Lama on effects of meditation on the brain. His results suggest that long-term, or short-term practice of meditation results in different levels of activity in brain regions associated with such qualities as attention, anxiety, depression, fear, anger, the ability of the body to heal itself, and so on. These functional changes may be caused by changes in the physical structure of the brain. Source: DalaiLama.com

Sara Lazar, "We use neuroimaging techniques to study neurological, cognitive and emotional changes associated with the practice of meditation and yoga. We also incorporate measures of peripheral physiology (breathing, heart beat) in order to understand how meditation practice influences the brain-body interaction." Sara Lazar


Emotions & Equine Therapy:
But we must also be aware that starvation itself, alters emotional responses. As an anorexic goes without food, the body responds by resorting to alternative fuel sources. The adrenal glands activate, epinephrine and nor-epinephrine are released, and the anorexic experiences what is known as “starvation high.” In fact, the physiology is not that different from a stimulant medication, or drug. However, as the person is essentially in flight mode, anxiety levels rise, and the desire to restrict food increases to counteract it. Yet, as time goes on, cognitive deterioration is more likely, and the potential to understand what is happening, on a cognitive level , decreases. This also means the anorexic’s chance of recovery declines. So enter a horse. A horse, communicating primarily on a physiological level, uses emotional responses — which have physiological ramifications — to receive and convey messages, read others, and determine roles, expectations and intentions. By responding to the physiology that the client presents with, the horse opens to window to her repressed emotions . PsychCentral

The Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA) is dedicated to improving the mental health of individuals, families, and groups around the world by setting the standard of excellence in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine Assisted Learning, also known as horse therapy or equine therapy. Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) incorporates horses experientially for emotional growth and learning. EAP is a powerful and effective therapeutic approach that has an incredible impact on individuals, youth, families, and groups. EAP addresses a variety of mental health and human development needs including behavioral issues, attention deficit disorder, autism, PTSD, substance abuse, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, relationship problems and communication needs . EAGALA is an international non-profit organization with locations around the world. To find a program near you, please visit their website.


Emotions & Exercise:
Endorphins are endogenous opioid peptides that function as neurotransmitters . They are produced by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus in vertebrates during exercise, excitement, pain, consumption of spicy food, love and orgasm. They resemble the opiates in their abilities to produce analgesia and a feeling of well-being. Endorphins can be activated by exercising, acupuncture, breast feeding, and deep relaxation.

Back to Top Old - New Creative Mind Brain Structure Left-Right Brain Corpus Callosum Neuronal Pathways
Neuroplasticity Emotions Depression Dyslexia ADD/ADHD Writing






9. The New Creative Mind and Depression

The old creative mind used life for the exploration and enrichment of creativity.
The (empowered) new creative mind uses creativity for the exploration and enrichment of life and new human frontiers.



Depression is the brain's loud and clear message - SOS


The brain's loud SOS message means that there is a loss or lack of one or more resources:

The loss/lack of resources can include:

  • the loss/lack of existential necessities of life: food, money, shelter

  • the loss/lack of physical necessities of life: health, ability to move,

  • the loss/lack of spiritual/psychological necessities in life: love, friendship, trust, intimacy, faith,

  • the loss of someone by death

  • the loss of someone because of a move

  • the loss of a familiar environment

  • the loss of someone because of a break up

  • the loss/lack of trust

  • the loss/lack of closeness to someone

  • the loss/lack of a skill, talent, or destiny that is meant to be explored. This characteristic is the most common reason for a depression in people with a creative mind. Potential writers, musicians, and other artists might experience a depression as their brain's SOS signal that they are meant to do something that they are not doing.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, DSM-IV (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition), below are the signs and symptoms of some mood disorders:

Major Depression in Adults For a diagnosis, at least five symptoms must be present to the extent that they interfere with daily functioning over a minimal period of two weeks.

Depressed mood most of the day
Decreased interest/enjoyment in once-favorite activities
Significant weight loss/gain
Insomnia (too little sleep) or hypersomnia (too much sleep)
Psychomotor agitation/retardation
Fatigue or loss of energy
Low self-esteem; feelings of guilt
Decreased ability to concentrate; indecisive
Recurrent suicidal ideation or behavior
Major Depression in Children or Young People In children, the above classic symptoms for a major depression often may be obscured by other behavioral and physical complaints:

Irritable or cranky mood;
Preoccupation with nihilistic song lyrics
Loss of interest in sports, video games, and activities with friends
Failure to gain weight as normally expected; anorexia or bulimia; frequent complaints of physical illness, e.g., headache, stomach ache
Excessive late-night TV; refusal to wake for school in the morning
Talk of running away from home, or efforts to do so
Persistent boredom
Oppositional and/or negative behavior
Poor performance in school; frequent absences
Recurrent suicidal ideation or behavior
Dysthymia Dysthymia is a mood disorder in which symptoms generally are less severe than in major depression, but the illness is marked by a more chronic and persistent course
Bipolar disorder Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder in which periods of depression alternate with periods of mania (unnaturally high levels of energy, grandiosity, and/or irritability).

Bipolar disorder may first appear as a depressed episode. Research has shown that treating unrecognized bipolar depression with antidepressant medications may trigger the manic phase of the illness.

Children who have a family history of bipolar disorder will require special treatment considerations that should be addressed in any comprehensive treatment plan.


Below are some additional topics relating to mood disorders:
Diagnosis The diagnosis of depression or other psychiatric disorders should be made only in the context of a complete medical examination to identify and/or eliminate any comorbid and/or confounding psychiatric or somatic conditions. More than half of all youth with MDD have other psychiatric disorders, with a significant proportion having two or more disorder Source:

DSM-4: The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) is the current standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals in the United States. It is intended to be applicable in a wide array of contexts and used by clinicians and researchers of many different orientations (e.g., biological, psychodynamic, cognitive, behavioral, interpersonal, family/systems). Source: DSM-IV-TR® Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

DSM-5: The Future of Psychiatric Diagnosis Publication of the fifth edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) in May 2013 will mark one the most anticipated events in the mental health field. As part of the development process, the preliminary draft revisions to the current diagnostic criteria for psychiatric diagnoses are now available for public review. We thank you for your interest in DSM-5 and hope that you use this opportunity not only to learn more about the proposed changes in DSM-5, but also about its history, its impact, and its developers. You can search the DSM-5 for changes at: American Psychiatric Association DSM-5 Development
Research Studies The National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) supports research studies on mental health and disorders. If you are interested in participating in a clinical research on mental health, you can download a free brochure on the following web site: A Participant's Guide to Mental Health Clinical Research .

As of March, 2012, the NIH-funded studies are currently recruiting participants in the following mental health topics: Anxiety Disorders Generalized Anxiety Disorder Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Panic Disorder Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Social Phobia (Social Anxiety Disorder) Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD, ADD) Autism Spectrum Disorders (Pervasive Developmental Disorders) Bipolar Disorder (Manic-Depressive Illness) Borderline Personality Disorder Depression Eating Disorders HIV/AIDS Schizophrenia and Suicide Prevention
Source: National Institute of Mental Health
Treatment The effectiveness of treatment was demonstrated recently in a definitive study supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The Treatment of Adolescents with Depression Study (TADS) showed that a combination of fluoxetine (Prozac®) and cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) led to significant clinical improvement in 71% of moderately to severely depressed adolescent patients. Improvement rates for other treatment groups in the study were 61% for fluoxetine alone, 43% for CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy ) alone, and 35% for placebo . Source:


Placebo:
A placebo is a fake treatment given to a patient for a disease. Patients that are given a placebo treatment (knowingly or unknowingly) will show an actual improvement in their condition. This phenomenon is called the placebo effect. In medical research, placebos are given as control treatments. Common placebos are inert tablets, 'pretend' surgery, and other procedures.


Cognitive Behavior Theory:
Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is a psychotherapeutic approach that includes behavior therapy and talking therapy. Research has shown that CBT is effective for the treatment of a variety of problems, including mood, anxiety, personality, eating, substance abuse, and psychotic disorders. CBT is used in individual therapy as well as group settings, and the techniques are often adapted for self-help applications.


"A Harvard scientist says the drugs used to treat depression are effective, but for many, it's not the active ingredient that's making people feel better. It's the placebo effect."


The challenge of dealing with a depression is the important question: What do I do?

1. Hear your brain's SOS message. Hearing your brain's SOS message is the first important step in dealing with a depression. Failure to recognize the brain's SOS signal can result in alcohol or drug abuse, physical or mental disease, food disorders, heart attack, or loss of life. Drowning out the brain's SOS message through self-destructive behavior like cutting does not change or result in anything.

2. Evaluate the severity of your depression. Evaluating the severity of your depression is the second most important step in dealing with your brain's SOS message. On a scale of 0 to 10, how emergent is your brain's SOS signal? If necessary, call 911 or a suicide hotline.



Suicide Prevention Services Depression Hotline 630-482-9696 Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week

3. Understand that you are not alone and that a loss or lack of a resource is part of the human experience. It is important to understand that your depression makes you a human being and that a lack or loss of a resource is part of the human experience. You are not alone!

Look around you - how someone reacts to the lack or loss of a resource varies with each individual. Depending on your empathy and observational skills, you might be able to recognize someone else's SOS signal. How do even the most toughest individuals in your life deal with loss? You might not only gain some amazing insights into the human experience but also learn some amazing traits. These traits that are the tools of writers, painters, actors, musicians, and a creative mind.

Many potentially artistic people or people with a creative mind receive the brain's SOS signal (experience depression) as a clear message to explore, discover, nourish, or expand their creative potential!
4. Find out what loss or lack or loss of resource your brain is communicating. If you do not know what lack or loss of a resource is causing your brain to send a SOS message, there are several choices of things that you can do. You can talk about it to a family member, a friend, a psychologist, a counselor, listen to your dreams, or write (as a means of self exploration). Your goal is to answer the question, "What resource am I lacking or did I lose?"

Look for subtle and/or significant changes in your social, economic, physical, or spiritual aspects of your life.

By using The Triple A Survival Guide for Emotions software, your feelings can be your guide to discover what lack/loss you are dealing with and what actions you can do.
5. Use your knowledge about Neuroplasticity to respond to your brain's SOS message. Once you know (or if you already know) what resource you lost or are lacking and understand why your brain is sending you an SOS signal, you can use Action and Experience to respond to your brain's SOS message.

Neuroplasticity is the brain's ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections or neural pathways through repeated action and experience.


Neuroplasticity allows the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain to compensate for injury, disease, or chemical imbalances and to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in their environment. Click here to see more pictures of neurons and their functions.


Neuroplasticity differs from one individual to another. Scientific studies have found that numerous brain areas show altered activity in depressed patients but i t has not been possible to determine a single cause for depression.

Click here to go to the Neuroplasticity chapter of this web page.


Because of neuroplasticity, most recent Neuroscientific research shows that
action and experience can actually change both the brain's structure and functioning.
brainneuron3

Our Triple A Survival Guide for Emotions software program was designed to help an individual with neuroplasticity and the formation of new neuronal pathways through action and experience . Because the brain's SOS message (a depression) depends on the individual and what lack/loss of resource causes the depression, it is important to explore a variety of actions to find out what actions are most effective.


Below are some additional actions to the software program that focus specifically on depression:

The experience, the feeling or reaction that you have after having taken action, is the best indicator how your brain responds to your action and whether you want to repeat that action to form new neuronal pathways . You will know that you are responding to your brain's SOS message and that you are on the right path when you feel a sense of clarity, enlightenment, uplift, satisfaction, and empowerment.

Software program: Action Experience/Comment:
Click on the "Write" option. Either in the software program or on paper, write about what lack/loss of a resource you think is causing your depression.

Do not expect to already know exactly what lack/loss of a resource is causing your depression (your brain's SOS message). The process of writing is an inner exploration. By writing, you are slowly accessing different regions in your brain. You might think one thing is causing your depressed feelings, but through the process of writing you might discover that it is actually something else. Follow your brain's SOS message. Feeling pain or crying while writing are a sign that you are getting closer to the source of your depression.

Talking Unless you find out what loss/lack of resource you are dealing with, it will be difficult to respond to your depression. Similar to writing, talking can be an excellent way to explore something. Try to talk to different people to see which ones help you gain more insight what is causing your depression. Try talking to
family members, a psychologist, a counselor, friends.....

Make sure that you note in your software program how talking (and with whom) made you feel.
Listening If you know what lack/loss of resource is causing your depressed feelings, the action of "listening" is very powerful.

If you have the chance to join a support group for even just one session, it might be a great opportunity to try out the "listening" action at least just once. There are support groups for many losses. Since your goal is to try "listening" rather than talking for this action, we do not recommend an online experience.

The only way for you to find out whether a support group contributes to you forming new neuronal pathways or not is to try it out. Record in your software program how you felt after just one visit. If it was a positive experience, you can repeat it. If not, you have no obligation to do it again. The choice is always your.
Antidepressant Medication - record your experience If your psychologist or psychiatrist prescribes antidepressant medication, you can use the software program to record your experiences while being under medication.

Do not stop taking any medication without the consultation of your doctor!

However, merely taking medication does not respond to your lack/loss of a resource. With or without medication, your brain's SOS message might come back even louder if you do not respond to the lack/loss of resource that you are experiencing.

Antidepressant Medication -
read & research

We highly recommend PsychCentral or the to read the most current research on antidepressant medication. You can find a wealth of the newest research. (It is changing constantly!)

Here is an excerpt from PsychCentral:

"Although it is widely believed that a Serotonin deficiency plays a role in depression, there is no way to measure its levels in the living brain. Therefore, there have not been any studies proving that brain levels of this or any neurotransmitter are in short supply when depression or any mental illness develops. And while blood levels of serotonin are measurable — and have been shown to be lower in people who suffer from depression — what doctors still don’t know for certain is whether or not the dip in serotonin causes the depression, or the depression causes serotonin levels to drop." (PsychCentral)

If you do take antidepressant medication, don't forget to read the description that comes with your medication. If you did not get one, please ask your doctor or pharmacist for it. The FDA requires all antidepressants to carry a black box warning stating that antidepressants may increase the risk of suicide in persons younger than 25.

After doing the action of "read & research", record in your software program how you felt afterwards. Your goal is to form new neuronal pathways and if reading makes you feel empowered, try to include reading about topics that help you on a regular basis.

Food Many people wonder if Serotonin can be influenced by diet. Sera ton in is a neurotransmitter that works especially along a neuron's synapses . Because of the brain-blood barrier , the brain is protected by access of many substances.

Serotonin levels are affected by diet. An increase in the ratio of tryptophan to phenylalanine and leucine will increase serotonin levels. Fruits with a good ratio include dates, papayas and bananas. Foods with a lower ratio inhibit the production of serotonin. These include whole wheat and rye bread. Research also suggests eating a diet rich in carbohydrates and low in protein will increase serotonin.

There are foods and some nutrients that can increase levels of tryptophan which is the amino acid from which serotonin is made. Eating a carbohydrate-rich meal will have your body trigger a release of insulin. This in turn causes any amino acids in the blood to be absorbed into the body except for tryptophan. It remains in the bloodstream at high levels following a carbohydrate meal, which means it can freely enter the brain and cause serotonin levels to rise.

Eating too much of anything though can backfire, so as a rule of thumb it is always best to remember - balance.

Eating a balanced supply of food is important for everyone, but especially for people dealing with depression since energy, appetite, and nutritional needs are easily affected by one's mental state.

Eating regularly and at scheduled times is as important as eating a balanced diet. About 90% of the human body's total serotonin is located in the gut where it is used to regulate intestinal movements. Other functions include the regulation of mood, appetite, sleep, memory and learning. Only about 5% of Sera ton in is produced in the brain. Keep a schedule of when you are supposed to eat and try to stick to it. While it can be a challenge (especially during difficult times), it will take care of your nutritional needs and not add on any physical challenges in add it on to dealing with a depression.

One of the fun actions to do when using the Triple A Survival Guide for Emotions is trying out the effects of different foods on one's mental state. Strawberries, bananas, pineapple, juicy apples, potatoes, spaghetti, and even chocolate - are some ideas that have worked for some people. Unprocessed, uncolored, and food without preservatives are the most recommended types of food to eat. Read more about nutrition....
SAD/ Sunlight A most often overlooked factor in a discussion about depression is light, specifically sunlight.

Sunlight has an immediate effect on our mood and how our body processes food.

Sunlight also has an effect on sera ton in which is involved in the regulation of functions such as mating, feeding, energy balance and sleep.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published by the American Psychiatric Association, SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is “...'a real mood disorder that requires diagnosis and may require treatment. If you regularly experience a significant, lasting, downturn of mood when the weather gets colder and daylight lessens then you should consider consulting a psychiatrist or other health professional to discuss your symptoms,' says Douglas Jacobs, M.D., Executive Director of the nonprofit organization Screening for Mental Health and Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. SAD has been linked to a biochemical imbalance in the brain brought on by the shortening of daylight hours and a lack of sunlight in winter. The most difficult months for SAD sufferers are January and February. Younger persons and women are thought to be at higher risk. There is also some evidence suggesting that the farther someone lives from the equator, the more likely they are to develop SAD. Whereas the exact number of Americans suffering from SAD is not known, it is believed that between 10 and 20 percent of the U.S. population may suffer from mild symptoms associated with the disorder. These symptoms can include: - excessive sleeping, difficulty staying awake, overeating, and weight gain during the fall or winter months; - feelings of extreme fatigue, inability to maintain regular lifestyle schedule; - depression (feelings of sadness, loss of feelings, apathy) combined with irritability; - lack of interest in social interactions, losing interest in activities of enjoyment; - remission of symptoms in the spring and summer months."

Research on the effects of light therapy on seasonal affective disorder suggests that light deprivation is related to decreased activity in the serotonergic system and to abnormalities in the sleep cycle, particularly insomnia. Exposure to light also targets the serotonergic system, providing more support for the important role this system may play in depression. Sleep deprivation and light therapy both target the same brain neurotransmitter system and brain areas as antidepressant drugs, and are now used clinically to treat depression.

Try out the effects of sunlight on your mood. Spend just 5 minutes in the sunlight and enjoy the warmth and light. By recording your action and experience in your Triple A software program, you will have a record of what to do when you might need it most.
Sleep Besides food and light, sleep (or the lack thereof) is an important factor in responding to the brain's SOS signal. Finding a balance of how many hours of sleep is beneficial versus how many hours of sleep is an escape is an individual experience. If possible, establishing a sleep pattern (time and amount of sleep at night that are beneficial, and nap hours) can be beneficial in dealing with a depression.

Light therapy, sleep deprivation, and sleep time displacement (sleep phase advance therapy) are being used in combination to interrupt a deep depression in hospitalized patients.
Exercise "Exercise can do a lot to improve your mood — and across the board, studies have shown that regular exercise can be as effective a treatment for depression as antidepressant medication or psychotherapy. In the past, it was believed that several weeks of working out was necessary to see the effects on depression, but new research conducted at the University of Texas at Austin found that just 40 minutes of regular exercise can have an immediate effect on mood." (PsychCentral)

Endorphins are endogenous opioid peptides that function as neurotransmitters . They are produced by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus during exercise, excitement, pain, consumption of spicy food, love and orgasm. They resemble the opiates in their abilities to produce analgesia and a feeling of well-being. Endorphins can be activated by exercising, acupuncture, breast feeding, and deep relaxation.
Herbs Herbs have the power to heal and to harm. Many herbs sold in non-specialized stores have been processed or manufactured in a way that little or none of their benefits remain. The only benefit is for the stores, not the consumers.

St. John's Wort, which is commonly sold as an antidepressant herb can result in sera ton in syndrome. " Serotonin syndrome can occur when you increase the dose of such a drug or add a new drug to your regimen. Certain illicit drugs and dietary supplements are also associated with serotonin syndrome. .. But too much serotonin causes symptoms that can range from mild — shivering and diarrhea — to severe — muscle rigidity, fever and seizures. Severe serotonin syndrome can be fatal if not treated." Mayo Clinic

Learning about herbs and their power is an exciting experience that involves smelling, touching, seeing, and breathing them in. Investigate in the yellow pages, colleges, with medical providers, or specialty stores to find the right teacher.
Selflessness We highly recommend learning the skill of selflessness during times when you are not focused on your depression. Selflessness is a skill that has to be learned and exercised like any other skill until it becomes automatic. Selflessness includes doing something for somebody or something else because it is done for them. Actions that exercise selflessness are taking an animal for a walk, petting an animal, doing chores for someone, doing community service, giving someone a massage, writing something nice to someone, ... coming up with actions for selflessness is only limited by the creative mind. Like food, regularity is important for learning selfless actions.

Some people use the term Altruism instead of selflessness. Pure altruism consists of sacrificing something for someone other than the self (e.g. sacrificing time, energy or possessions) with no expectation of any compensation or benefits, either direct, or indirect.

Selflessness is a chosen action to go beyond one's own "self" and it is one of the highest signs of Personal Growth . As such - in making the choice to be selfless- one becomes part of a wider universe and vast cosmos (order). It is the very same cosmos that is responsible for the brain's SOS signal, the depression. (More details are discussed in our What's the Deal with Learning Disability eBook)

When using the Triple A Survival Guide for Emotions software program, do not skip any of the 4 steps. It is only through experience (Step 4) that you will be able to determine how effective your action (Step 3) was. Many software program users have reported to us that the experience they encountered was not the one they had expected. The only way to find out how your brain reacts to the action is by actually doing it. Once you discover through experience how your action affected your brain, you can repeat that action to form new neuronal pathways and have an impact on your depression. You can read more about actions and experiences in the Creative Mind and Emotions section.

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10. The New Creative Mind and Dyslexia

The old creative mind used life for the exploration and enrichment of creativity.
The (empowered) new creative mind uses creativity for the exploration and enrichment of life and new human frontiers.


The 3 most important things to know about Dyslexia:

1. Dyslexia is most likely caused by a dominant right brain hemisphere which is responsible for creativity & innovative thinking.

All of the people listed below had or have Dyslexia:
Pablo Picasso, Leonardo Da Vinci, August Rodin (French sculptor), Jorn Utzon (architect who designed Sydney Opera house), Agatha Christie, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gustave Flaubert, W.B. Yeats, Ann Bancroft (Arctic Explorer), Alexander Graham Bell, John R. Horner (Jurassic Park), Pierre Curie (Physicist), Werner Von Braun, Erin Brockovich, George Patton, Henry Ford, William Hewlett, Charles Schwab, Andrew Jackson, Thomas Jefferson, John F. Kennedy, Nelson Rockefeller, Woodrow Wilson, George Washington, Cher, John Lennon, Harry Belafonte, Tom Cruise, Whoopi Goldberg, Jay Leno, Keanu Reeves, Henry Winkler, and Robin Williams. Source: What's the Deal with Learning Disability


2. If you have Dyslexia, or think you might have it, learn about both the challenges as well as the strengths of Dyslexia.

Symptoms of Dyslexia (Challenges): Strengths:
  • Usage of incorrect or inconsistent spelling
  • Skipping lines or words while reading or writing
  • Leaving out punctuation marks,
  • Tendency to omit, alter or substitute words
  • Confusing sounds like ch, th, sh,
    Confusing similar looking words like from/form, on/no
  • Struggling with short term memory
  • Confusing left/right, over/under, up/down,
  • Being uncoordinated
  • Showing poor time management skills
  • Struggling with sequences of letters or numbers
  • struggling with changed or reversed shapes
  • left-right confusion
  • difficulty remembering ordered lists, such as the months of the year
  • difficulty remembering a group of unrelated facts like the multiplication table
  • problems with fine motor control in handwriting
  • visual problems associated with motor control of the eyes
  • Unique and innovative thinking
  • unique visual & spatial ability
  • original pattern recognition
  • exceptional problem solving skills
  • Instead of going from point A to B, you prefer going your own individual way
  • heightened intuition and creativity


To see a list of famous people with Dyslexia and their amazing talents and abilities, click here.


3. If you have Dyslexia, there are several things that you can do for both your challenges and your strengths:

Actions for the Creative Mind:
1. Explore and support your talents Being dyslexic means that you have a great responsibility for being creative and innovative. Without dyslexic people, our world would be quite different. Many writers, painters, sculptors, inventors, explorers, architects, politicians, and business people are or were dyslexic. Because of their strong right hemisphere, many famous people were able to enrich the world with their unique, creative, and innovative thoughts.
2. Be the first in something. It appears that many dyslexic people are destined to be the first in something . You might be the first to come up with new ideas for sports, for academics, for finances, business, politics, or for other discoveries.
3. Know that you are not alone. If you have dyslexia, you might be struggling in school. Most famous people struggled in school and had terrible academic experiences. Reading about them can help you not to feel alone. Our What's the Deal with Learning Disability book describes their experiences, what they or their parents did to deal with school, and what they did differently to become famous.
4. Understand the brain This web page explains the most important aspects about the brain. Take the time to read the sections above about brain structure, left/right brain functions , and the corpus callosum . All of them play an important part in what causes dyslexia.

Dyslexia can be genetically inherited!

Look both at the challenges and talents that your parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents were facing to find out if dyslexia runs in your family.

The Center for Clinical and Developmental Neuropsychology has reported that subtle neurodevelopmental variation in the corpus callosum may be associated with the difficulty that dyslectic children experience in reading and on tasks involving interhemispheric transfer of information. A poor allocation of neural space and insufficient arousal of the left hemisphere might encourage the by-passing of the corpus callosum and an inappropriate reliance on right hemispheric strategies during language and number processing.
Source: Archives of Neurology


High speed photography can show that dyslectics' movements on one side of the body are out of synchrony with movements on the other. It has been observed that if a dyslectic child hears a click, his right side turns toward the sound a fraction of a second before his left side turns. When he blinks, the right eyelid starts down before the left. When he smiles, the right side of his mouth turns up before the left one. All this happens so fast that it is unnoticeable to the naked eye, except for giving the impression that the child is a bit "twitchy." Apparently the child does not hear the sound twice, but the secondary signal that comes across the corpus callosum from the right hemisphere to the left is late getting there (timing issue), so in effect, the child appears to be reacting twice to a single stimulus. This effect could account for some of the hyperactivity and distractibility so common in LD children and would certainly make sustained attention tiring.
5. Understand Neuroplasticity

During the last decades, neuroscientists have discovered that the brain can change its physical structure in response to action and experience. This ability of the brain is called neuroplasticity. You can change how your brain works and its structure through your actions. This discovery has led to promising new treatments for children with dyslexia.

Source: Dalai Lama : "How thinking can change the brain" .
6. Motivation The most common factor found among people who have successfully dealt with dyslexia is motivation. Motivation is a very strong force that connects all areas of the brain. Because of neuroplasticity, you can form new neuronal pathways , improve your inter-sphere corpus callosum transmissions, and strengthen your right/left brain functions.

Examples of the power of motivation are:

Despite her troubles with spelling, Agatha Christie became a famous mystery writer.
Despite trouble with math, JJ became a millionaire with computer programming.
Despite reading problems, Charles Schwab became the founder and CEO of the Charles Schwab Corporation, an American brokerage and banking company with 7.9 million client brokerage accounts and $1.65 trillion in assets.
7. Learn a music instrument. An excellent technique to strengthen your corpus callosum and increase the speed between your left/right brain hemispheres transmissions, is to play a music instrument.

The front portion of the corpus callosum has been reported to be significantly larger in musicians than non-musicians. Research has shown that children with dyslexia tend to have smaller and less developed corpus callosums than their non-dyslexic counterparts.

It has been found that the Corpus Callosum was larger in professional musicians than in non-musicians. Playing instruments involves a lot of cross hemisphere processing to keep both hand’s movements in time with each other. This suggest that by regular practice the Corpus Callosum can be strengthened. The Dore Program, Interactive Metronome and primitive reflex based treatments such as INPP all involve cross-lateral movements designed to train this area of the brain. Other activities may also help. Such as computer games like Wii Drums and some aspects of Wii Fit may also help.
8. Fast ForWord Michael Merzenich developed a series of “plasticity-based computer programs known as Fast ForWord.” Fast ForWord offers seven brain exercises to help with the language and learning deficits of dyslexia.
9. Read, read, read Every time you read, you are accessing and using your left brain hemisphere. Because of Neuroplasticity (the brain's ability to change its structure and functioning), if you read regularly over a period of weeks, you will strengthen and even build new neuronal pathways.

If you are a parent with a dyslexic child, make sure that reading is NOT associated with frustration. You would not want to form neuronal pathways that relay the message to stay away from reading and that reading is frustrating.

Below are some techniques that have proven very successful.

1. Teach your child to say "help" whenever he/she cannot read a word.

2. Train your child's brain to say "help" so that it becomes an automatic response BEFORE the child experiences frustration. Frustration will make dyslexic symptoms worse.

3. If you notice frustration in your child, gently bring the reading to a close without your child noticing. You do not want to teach the child's brain to associate frustration with the message to stop reading.

4. Try to read with your child at a structured time. While many dyslexics do not like structure, it is good for their brain and learning a skill.

5. Be aware of your child's emotional and energetic state. Trying to read with a dyslexic child when he/she is tired, angry, worn out, only reinforces the dyslexic symptoms.

6. Be aware of your own emotional and energetic state. STOP reading when you get frustrated. Remember that the letters of a dyslexic child do not remain static on the page but move. Your child might be able to read the word 'was' at one time but the next time he/she sees the word it might look like 'saw'. Letters like u, v, w, n, h, m, easily turn for a dyslexic child and makes reading the words almost impossible until the brain is trained sufficiently

7. Be aware of 'trigger' words. There are 'trigger' words that cause your child's brain to get disoriented and begin moving letters and words around. Some of those trigger words include "she, all, and, any, am, are, was, but, .... " For a complete list of trigger words, see Ronald Davis' book The Gift of Dyslexia which is available on Amazon.com

8. Choose reading materials that your child enjoys. Since trigger words are some of the easiest and basic reading words (but cause the most problems), it is more important to select reading materials that are interesting rather than the level of reading. Additionally, the brain of a dyslexic child can be extremely curious and demanding. Uninteresting reading materials will cause more problems.

9. While reading with your child, take breaks at periods. Dyslexic children initially run over periods and other punctuation marks. By stopping and discussing what you are reading at periods or end of paragraphs gives your child not only a break from reading (left brain hemisphere activity) but also a chance to be innovative (engage his right brain hemisphere).

10. Reading with a dyslexic child is an amazing experience. While you are training your child's brain to strengthen his interhemispheric transmission across the corpus callosum, you get new insights into the magic of moving letters, trigger words, and the innovative ideas that your child might have about the reading material.
10. Write, write, write A dyslexic's dominant right brain hemisphere is filled with innovative thoughts, ideas, and creativity. Since writing is an excellent way to bring those ideas to life, many dyslexic people become writers. See our list of famous people with dyslexia .

Experiment with different ways of writing to find out which method is most conducive to bring out your creative thoughts. Writing on paper, on a typewriter, on a computer have different effects on different writers.

Experiment writing with left, right, or both hands. Research has shown that the functioning of the corpus callosum can be increased by different hand usage. (the right hand controls the left brain hemisphere, the left hand the right brain hemisphere, and by using both you are using both hemispheres.)

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11. The New Creative Mind and ADD/ADHD


The old creative mind used life for the exploration and enrichment of creativity.
The (empowered) new creative mind uses creativity for the exploration and enrichment of life and new human frontiers.


If you have ADD, or think you might have it, learn about both the challenges as well as the strengths of ADD.
Symptoms of ADD/ADHD (Challenges):

  • Inability to maintain attention
  • Impulsive behaviors
  • Physical and motor restlessness
  • Not paying attention
  • Making careless mistakes
  • Not listening
  • Not finishing tasks
  • Not following directions
  • Being easily distracted
  • Fidgeting
  • Talking excessively
  • Running around at inappropriate times
  • Interrupting others
  • Having difficulty awaiting turns
Strengths:

The ability to focus on a multitude of tasks simultaneously. A unique ability to see ordinary things in extraordinary ways, to display unique personal observations and insights, to find a new approach to problems or issues, to make sudden and astonishing connections, to come up with non-conformist independent ideas, and to have a keen awareness of any sights, sounds, or
movement. To see a list of famous people with ADD/ADHD, click here .



According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR), the symptoms of ADD/ADHD fall into three categories: inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity, and combined. Modern research describes ADD or ADHD as a “ neurobiological disorder resulting from problems in the dopamine neurotransmitter systems in the brain.” Most cases are genetically inherited . If a parent or close relative has ADD, there is a 30% or higher chance that a child will also have ADD. More generally, ADD/ADHD is characterized as the inability to maintain attention, impulsive behaviors, motor restlessness, not paying attention, making careless mistakes, not listening, not finishing tasks, not following directions, being easily distracted, fidgeting, talking excessively, running around at inappropriate times, interrupting others, and having difficulty awaiting turns. Source: What's the Deal with Learning Disabilities


If you or your child has ADD/ADHD, there are several actions that you can take to work with both your challenges as well as your strengths.
1. Genetics Since ADD/ADHD can be genetically inherited, explore and examine your ancestors' life for ADD/ADHD symptoms. In doing so, please keep in mind that what might be regarded as a disability today might have been an amazing ability in the past. Please refer to the list above for both challenges as well as strengths in your family history research.
2. Environment Besides genetics, environment can have a major impact on a child with ADD/ADHD. The book " What's the Deal with Learning Disability " describes what the parents of Thomas Edison, Galileo Galilei, Orville Wright, and Michael Phelps did differently to enable their child to become successful.

Dedicate two 24-hour periods to taking notes about your child's environment and his/her behavior in a specific environment. One period should include a child's academic environment while the other period should include a weekend day. Most schools should allow a parent to shadow a child's school day.

During your observations, take notes when your child is physically or mentally restless and when he/she is not restless. Your goal is actually to look for the times when your child is not physically or mentally restless because it will guide you in understanding your child's brain functioning better.

Since ADD/ADHD children are acutely observant and aware of sights, sounds, lights, and movement, pay attention to those influences on your child's brain.

After your two periods of observations and taking notes, use intermittent observation times to confirm or revise your original notes. If your child is taking medication, also record the times of administering the medication in your notes.

You can use your notes to modify your child's environment and to recreate certain environmental factors. If your child appears to be calmer and more focused in a certain section of a store, notice the next time you go to the store if the same section in the store has the same effect again.

In observing your child's environment and taking notes, you are empowering yourself with the choice of recreating positive environments and getting to know your child's brain better.
3. Neurobiology Since ADD/ADHD is considered to be a neurobiological disorder, understanding the most important aspects of neurobiology can help you in understanding your child's brain. Chapters 3 to 7 of this web page cover some important aspects of neurobiology.
4. Neuroplasticity Chapter 7 of this web page discusses neuroplasticity and the brain's ability to restructure itself and to form new neuronal pathways. Whether you have a child with ADD/ADHD or whether you are an adult with ADD/ADHD, knowing about neuroplasticity empowers your creative mind.

The challenge of having ADD/ADHD and neuroplasticity is that you might want to form many different neuronal pathways at the same time. Unfortunately, any growth - including that of the brain - takes time and patience.

You can make a list of things that you would like to develop and focus on a few of them. Not all of your neuronal pathways will respond positively to growth. Only action and experience will tell you what skills you will be able to work on and which ones will be too difficult. The Triple A Survival Guide for Emotions software will provide you with a list of actions to try and keep a record of all of your dates, actions, and experiences.
5. Exercise Meditation, Yoga, Swimming, Running, and Martial Arts have shown to be beneficial exercises for children and adults with ADD/ADHD. Unlike non-ADD/ADHD children and adults though, it is important to record whether you benefit from doing a variety of exercise activities continuously or to just focus on one.
6. Divergent Energy In dealing with ADD/ADHD, it is important to remember that one of the strengths of ADD is the ability to focus on a multitude of tasks simultaneously. This divergent energy and interest in various things results easily in not completing a task. As the life of Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, and Thomas Edison have shown, (described in What's the Deal with Learning Disability ), understanding and learning how to use this divergent energy creatively can open up new paths and frontiers for the ADD/ADHD mind.

In addition to the above insights for anyone dealing with ADD/ADHD, below are some additional important factors that affect ADD/ADHD:

"In 2008 the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) in Washington, DC, petitioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban artificial food dyes because of their connection to behavioral problems in children. Two years later a new CSPI report, Food Dyes: A Rainbow of Risks, further concludes that the nine artificial dyes approved in the United States likely are carcinogenic, cause hypersensitivity reactions and behavioral problems, or are inadequately tested. Artificial dyes derived from petroleum are found in thousands of foods. In particular breakfast cereals, candy, snacks, beverages, vitamins, and other products aimed at children are colored with dyes. Even some fresh oranges are dipped in dye to brighten them and provide uniform color, says Michael Jacobson, executive director at CSPI. ..Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6 contain benzidene, a human and animal carcinogen permitted in low, presumably safe levels in dyes... Meanwhile, in Europe, as of July 2010 most foods that contain artificial dyes must carry labels warning they may cause hyperactivity in children. “ (Source:


"Meditation has been used as an attention training method for many thousands of years, and was mostly involved with religious or spiritual practices in various parts of the world, especially in the eastern countries. Breathing meditation is a popular method which can be applied to all people without instructions that are too complicated. In meditation therapy, by breathing meditation which is specified to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorders , benefits this group of patients, it would be very useful, culturally appropriate, cost-effective and would reduce the drugs used which will save the child from drug side effects." Source: ClinicalTrials.gov


The United States Institute of Health continuously conducts research about the "Functional MRI of Relaxation Response Training in Adults With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)". It also conducts research about the benefits of meditation, yoga, and other relaxation techniques for adult and children with ADD or ADHD. Check for latest studies at ClinicalTrials.gov


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12. The New Creative Mind and Writing


The old creative mind used life for the exploration and enrichment of creativity.
The (empowered) new creative mind uses creativity for the exploration and enrichment of life and new human frontiers.


Writing is one of the most powerful ways to explore and enrich one's own life and to enter previously unknown human frontiers.

By beginning to write, a person's mind initiates an electrical impulse that continues to travel along neuronal pathways (shown to the right) into unknown areas of the brain.


Those unknown areas of the brain that are reached and accessed through writing can include:

hidden feelings (limbic system)

subconscious memories (prefrontal, parietal lobe)

genetic memories

imagination
(the ability of forming images and sensations when they are not perceived through sight, hearing, or other senses)

dreams (dreams can be recreated through writing)

other previously unexplored territories of the brain in all subject matters.

brainneuron2


Case studies & examples:

On March 30, 2012, Danny Hurley was a guest on the Charlie Rose Brain Series about Schizophrenia. During the 60 minute Charlie Rose Brain Series, Danny shared his journey from being a university honor student to being a schizophrenic. The turning point of his mental voyage into schizophrenia occurred during a trip to Europe where he began writing a journal. His writing did not remain in the prefrontal areas of his brain but took a journey into the world of voices, images, and feelings of grandeur associated with schizophrenia.

In her book, Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within , Natalie Goldberg "inspires writers and would-be writers to take the leap into writing skillfully and creatively. She offers suggestions, encouragement, and solid advice on many aspects of the writer’s craft: on writing from “first thoughts” (keep your hand moving, don’t cross out, just get it on paper), on listening (writing is ninety percent listening; the deeper you listen, the better you write), on using verbs (verbs provide the energy of the sentence), on overcoming doubts (doubt is torture; don’t listen to it)—even on choosing a restaurant in which to write. Goldberg sees writing as a practice that helps writers comprehend the value of their lives." Source:

For some, Natalie Goldberg's book has accomplished much more than writing skillfully and creatively. By following the book's writing prompts and beginning to write, people have taken a writing journey into their imagination, spirituality, recuperation from depression, and recovering memories of near-death experiences.

To read more about the creative mind's power of writing, please visit our The Lost Art of Essay Writing web page.

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This software program turns challenging emotions into personal growth through action and experience. Read more... This eBook strengthens the left brain hemisphere with grammar exercises. Read more.... Explore your creative mind with this innovative essay writing software program . Read more... This eBook examines the old creative mind and the new creative mind and the connection between Learning Disabilities and Creativity. Read more...





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