Authors Posts by Kirsten Cowart

Kirsten Cowart

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Kirsten is a writer who loves to practice vipassana meditation, yoga, travel, and learning about nature, consciousness, and how to make the world a better place. Her current interests involve studying and practicing flow, staying In Flow, and recognizing the natural flow of the universe. Kirsten loves to learn about the holistic healing arts. She is also interested in ancient cultures and practices such as Druidism. Kirsten is honored to be apart of such an incredible movement of love and heart centered living in this world.

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via www.mirror.co.uk
According to a recent study, psychedelics may be the key to cutting back domestic violence especially when to comes to people who have struggled with substance abuse.

It is only recently that new research has been able to resume when it comes to the world of psychedelics. From the 1950’s all the way to the early 1970’s a lot of research was conducted on the subject. LDS or lysergic acid diethylamide was made illegal in the 70’s which made it hard for researchers to continue their work.

It was only recently that the government began to loosen the noose around the psychedelic world of research and allowed a few studies to be done in order to look at the therapeutic possibilities.

Psychedelics and Addiction

When researchers looked at 6 different studies in the 1960’s and 70’s they found that LSD was able to help people who were struggling with an addiction to alcohol and was “as successful as any treatment since,” according to neuropsychopharmacology professor David Nutt from Imperial College in London.

Psychedelics have also been able to help people such as Gordon McGlothlin who until recently had been addicted to cigarettes from the time he was 15 till the age of 65 sometimes smoking as many as 20 cigarettes per day. What is incredible about his story is that even though he had smoked so long and had tried everything from traditional nicotine replacement therapies and even quitting cold turkey, nothing worked until he participated in a new clinical trial involving psilocybin.

via cig007.com
via cig007.com

The research study, which was conducted at John Hopkins University in Maryland would have their test subjects listen to classical music in a room after taking a small blue capsule. After McGlothlin received this treatment he left the treatment center and has been smoke-free for almost 2 years now.

Psilocybin, also known as magic mushrooms has shown a lot of promise as a therapeutic agent when it comes to treating addiction, as well as anxiety and depression.

“I think psilocybin gave me the impetus to stay abstinent. It opens up a whole new dimension to your personality. It is almost as though quitting smoking is peripheral during the experience,” says McGlothlin.

Psychedelic and Domestic Violence

According to a recent study by UBC Okanagan psychedelic drugs may be able to help reduce violence in men who also struggle with substance abuse problems. In this particular study, there were two groups of incarcerated males in the US. The first group is those who do not or have not used psychedelics and the second was those who have used drugs such as psilocybin, MDMA, or LSD.

According to the study after leaving prison 42% of the men in the first group were arrested within the first 6 years because of domestic violence. The second group, those who did use psychedelics would only have a 27% chance of being arrested for violence.

This study followed the lives of 302 inmates who had a history of substance use for 6 years after they were released from prison.

“While not a clinical trial, this study, in stark contrast to prevailing attitudes that views these drugs as harmful, speaks to the public health potential of psychedelic medicine,” says Assoc. Prof. Zach Walsh “As existing treatments for intimate partner violence are insufficient, we need to take new perspectives such as this seriously.”

via collective-evolution.com
via collective-evolution.com

“Intimate partner violence is a major public health problem and existing treatments to reduce reoffending are insufficient,” he goes on to say. “With proper dosage, set, and setting we might see even more profound effects. This definitely warrants further research.”

Professor Peter Hendricks from the University of Alabama is another researcher who worked on this study. He strongly believes that using psychedelics such as psilocybin could completely revolutionize how we treat people with mental health issues.

“Although we’re attempting to better understand how or why these substances may be beneficial, one explanation is that they can transform people’s lives by providing profoundly meaningful spiritual experiences that highlight what matters most,” says Prof. Hendricks. “Often, people are struck by the realization that behaving with compassion and kindness toward others is high on the list of what matters.”

Hopefully, as awareness spreads more studies will be approved on this illegal substance and under the right conditions we could find a more therapeutic use of psychedelics. In recent years, more interest has surfaced leading doctors and researchers to push for more studies to be done.

“The experiences of unity, positivity, and transcendence that characterize the psychedelic experience may be particularly beneficial to groups that are frequently marginalized and isolated, such as the incarcerated men who participated in this study,” says Walsh.

Are you wanting to learn more about Psychedelics and the levels of a psychedelic experience? Check out this video below for more information.

Have you experienced psychedelics?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments below how you think this new area of thought could change how we treat addiction, reduce violence and help people with mental health issues.

Sources- www.sciencedaily.com

www.pharmaceutical-journal.com

Image Source- www.mirror.co.uk

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Unified Field of Consciousness

Einstein believed that there was an equation for a Unified Field that could explain the reason for everything in existence.  With this knowledge, time, space and even humanity’s origin could be deeply understood.

5a69ef_91538f3019dd446ba7418401cfa401bcToday, in the world of quantum physics, there are so many mysteries that our current understanding of reality seems unequipped to grasp phenomena such as the double slit experiment, the observer effect, phantom DNA and quantum entanglement.  At the same time, there are many scholars beginning to think outside the box.

Quantum Physicist Ph.D. John Hagelin explains the foundation of the Universe is a single Universal field of intelligence.  Particles of nature are understood to be One, a Universal ocean of pure, vibrant consciousness in motion. We are just different ripples on a single ocean of existence at the basis of everything.

“Just as the waves are continuous with the ocean. Your body is continuous with the total energy system of the cosmos, and it’s all you.” — Alan Watts

New evidence is beginning to show us that everything is Energy and the result of an indiscernible sound wave or frequency. Vibrational frequency creates the energy that becomes solid matter. Galaxies, planets, plants, animals and humans are all just waves of vibration of this Unified Field. In essence, we are literally united and One at the core!

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Connected Universe

“The Universe is connected and alive and we are a part of the metric of space.” — Nassim Haramein

Nassim Haramein, the Director of Research at the Resonance Foundation, was deeply inspired by Einstein and continued to pursue Einstein’s idea that geometry held the key to creating a unified equation for the Universe. He proposes that space is not empty, but rather full of untapped energy.  This action, reaction, and connection between the energy present in space is creating a dynamic flow in the Universe.  Simply put, it could be thought of as “the Universe is dancing with energy”.

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In the Resonance Foundations various media productions, Nassim explains the idea of a Holofractographic Universe. His findings explore the fractal (infinitely repeating pattern), holographic (illusion) and geometric nature of space from the macrocosm to the microcosm, and thus how the potential of the Whole is within each piece of the Universe on every scale.

“Geometry will draw the soul toward truth and create the spirit of philosophy.” — Plato

Sacred Geometry

“Learn how to see. Realize that everything is connected to everything else.” — Leonardo da Vinci

Everything in the universe is geometrically connected.  Sacred Geometry is the source code of the Unified Field. It’s the language of nature, a fundamental blueprint of the universal creation process.

It’s not a coincidence that human hands & tree branches have the same fractal growth patterns or that our hearts & the Earth have the same toroidal-shaped electromagnetic field.  Even our embryos contain the fundamental geometries of star clusters and galaxies.

Patterns are always present when our eyes are open. Every single system in nature uses fundamental mathematical languages as a template for growth. We can find all kinds of mathematical formulas and sequences in nature, such as the Golden spiral/ratio or Fibonacci sequence/numbers in pineapples, sunflowers, tornado formations and even galaxy arms.

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When we start to see universal patterns everywhere we look, a realization of interconnection occurs deep within us. We start to see that all is intimately unified. When this occurs, we begin to simply choose Love in every aspect of our lives.

“True love is born from understanding.” — Buddha

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Ascension & Healing HeArt

5a69ef_0da913c19fae4e0ea167bc500f41086eAs our understanding of Sacred Geometry develops, we begin to see deeper connections between Science & Spirituality.  As a reminder of our interconnected & united nature with all life, interacting with Sacred Geometry on a daily basis invites harmony & balance into our experience. This idea inspired and changed my life profoundly and I found myself at the center of my passions by exploring Sacred Geometry as a communication tool with consciousness in everyday life.  I found my purpose by participating in nature’s harmony.

“Beauty is a manifestation of secret natural laws, which otherwise would have been hidden from us forever.”  — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I’ve learned that visualization & attention are key in 5a69ef_6fc9a828e0f64ee6bc88f7e017520a34spiritual growth.  They are fundamental in many energy practices such as Qigong, Tai-chi and Reiki. Creating designs based on Sacred Geometry help us to visualize, touch and play with Universal Energy formations, giving us direct communication with the divine.

This is a meditative art that can help us find resonance with our inner and outer lives. Eventually this intention brought me to develop my dream project, Healing HeArt, where I am able to develop and share this deep and meaningful experience with everyone by creating personal communication tools and crafts for seekers.

For the first time in human history we have technology to create precise patterns without any error or mistake. Thankfully there are laser machines available for everyone to produce any possible design from a collective digital platform to the physical world.

5a69ef_df3c0fc24bc2404aa652401179959a0fThe possibilities are infinite when it comes to creating art pieces, tools, crafts, toys or even small size constructions wherein we can meditate or experience the harmonious presence around us.

As Sacred Geometry reflects the potential of the collective, we can also create amazing innovations together and support various artists with our collaboration.

You are not here reading this by accident, you are here for a greater purpose than you could ever imagine. We are here to restore the balance and uplift humanity into the next stage of evolution; from separated duality consciousness to interconnected unity consciousness, in which all life is in equilibrium and harmony.

“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”– Buddha

Love you All

Can Bolel

Support artists like Can by checking out his Indiegogo Project and Awesome Sacred Geometry designs!

Sources-

Article Shared with permission from Inphinity Design

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Doctors have found an exciting new non-evasive light therapy that can help the body’s own cells fight cancer! Supporting our own bodies in fighting disease, aka immunotherapy, is one of the most popular and growing areas of cancer research. Let’s face it, people are tired of chemotherapy and would prefer to avoid dangerous surgeries if they can help it. Now, with new therapies such and this new light technology we can boost the body without harming it.

Assistant professor Yubin Zhou, Ph.D. from the Center for Translational Cancer Research located at the Texas A&M Health Science Center Institute of Biosciences & Technology is actively studying how light can be used to control our body’s immune system and use it to fight cancer.

“Although neuroscientists have been using light to stimulate neurons for years, this is the first time the technique, called optogenetics, has been used in the immune system,” Zhou said.

'Optogenetics (from Greek optikós, meaning "seen, visible") is a biological technique which involves the use of light to control cells in living tissue, typically neurons, that have been genetically modified to express light-sensitive ion channels.' -Wikipedia
‘Optogenetics (from Greek optikós, meaning “seen, visible”) is a biological technique which involves the use of light to control cells in living tissue, typically neurons, that have been genetically modified to express light-sensitive ion channels.’ -Wikipedia

Typically in neuroscience, the scientists will engineer cells that will produce microbes that are light-sensitive. When exposed to different frequencies of light these microbes will produce proteins that can tell our nerves to send or stop sending nerve impulses.

“Neuroscientists have learned a lot about brain circuits using the technique,” Zhou said, “and now researchers in many other fields are giving it a try.”

Optogenetics and the Immune System

Zhou and his team have found a way to modify the technique in order to help the immune system. The work wasn’t easy: unlike nerve cells, your immune system’s cells don’t use known electrical impulses to communicate. Another challenge is that our immune system cells are deep inside the body and are constantly moving around making it hard to hit with the right amount of light.

They had to use some out of the box thinking and team work to figure out.

“We collaborated with Dr. Gang Han at the University of Massachusetts Medical School who does bionanotechnology and photomedicine development,” Zhou said. “Together, we were able to combine state-of-the-art optogenetic approaches with cutting edge nanotechnology.”

The new nanotechnology known as optogenetic immunomodulation was recently published in an article in eLife.

“This work was driven by talented scientists in the lab: graduate students Lian He and Peng Tan and postdoctoral research fellow Guolin Ma, Ph.D.,” Zhou said, “who fearlessly undertook this daunting project and overcame all the challenging obstacles to make this technique into reality.”

Doctors can use Light to Direct Immune System Cells

With this new technique, the researchers were able to control immune system cells and ‘instruct’ them to kill cancerous tumor cells. Using a near-infrared laser beam that is able to penetrate a few centimeters into your body the scientists can use nanoparticles to turn blue and direct the engineered immune cells to fight specific cancer cells. Just imagine a general and his

war-games-with-the-brain-as-the-generalJust imagine a general and his troops about to go into battle and once they get the light signal from central command they team up and destroy the cancer cells.

 “We are able to wirelessly control the action of immune cells buried deep in tissue,” Zhou said.

The researchers found a way to modify the immune cells so that their calcium gate-controlling protein was light sensitive. When they are exposed to blue light which is emitted by the nanoparticle they ‘open the ion gates’. Once the light is turned off the gates then close. Researchers can increase the flow of calcium into the cells by increase the flow of light.

They are still working on fine tuning the calcium-dependent actions of our immune cells so that they can better target tumor cells and invading pathogens that our body would otherwise not notice or be focused on fighting.

When animal tumor tests were conducted they were able to boost the immune system response which aided in the bodies ability to kill the cancer cells.

“The technique reduced tumor size and metastasis, so there are lots of applications,” Zhou said.

One of the biggest advantages of this method is that it only actives a specific type of immune system cell, the T-cell, and only in the area of the body where the light is being shined. When you get chemotherapy the immune system response is bodywide which can be a miserable process. With this non-invasive light tunable technique, they can focus the immune response only on and around the area of concern.

“Other scientists will likely use the technique to help them study immune, heart and other types of cells that use calcium to perform their tasks,” Zhou said. “It’s quite a cool technology. With these tools, we can now not only answer fundamental questions of science that we never could before but also translate it into the clinic for disease intervention.”

Zhou’s lab has been using this technique in order to see how effective specific cancers drugs will even have on people.

“If successful,” Zhou said, “all these efforts would remarkably improve the current cancer immunotherapies by personalizing the treatment to exactly where and when it is needed, while reducing side effects.”

What possible issues do you see with this new light therapy and the genetically modified immune cells? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Souces-

Texas A&M University. “Harnessing the power of light to fight cancer.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 January 2016.

wikipedia.org

Image Credit: hands-to-heart.com

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via dailymail.co.uk

A recent study has shown scientists that dogs are similar to humans in how they recognize the emotions expressed in facial expressions. Dogs prefer to look us in the eyes and depending on our facial expression they will know if we are happy, threatening or content.

Though dogs combine their senses in order to understand what we are feeling this is the first time that scientists have noticed that a species other than humans can read faces. This isn’t news to those of us that spend a great deal of time with animals but it is still important that scientists are starting to recognize these facts because it will aid in the animal right movement.

This is the experimental set-up used to test whether dogs can discriminate emotional expressions of human faces. Credit: Anjuli Barber, Messerli Research Institute
This is the experimental set-up used to test whether dogs can discriminate emotional expressions of human faces.
Credit: Anjuli Barber, Messerli Research Institute

According to the new study published in the Cell Press journal Current Biology dogs can tell a big difference between when humans are feeling happy and when they are angry. The discovery is being called the first ‘solid evidence’ that an animal other than human can tell the difference between the emotional expressions of another species.

“We think the dogs in our study could have solved the task only by applying their knowledge of emotional expressions in humans to the unfamiliar pictures we presented to them,” says Corsin Müller from the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna.

In the past attempts were made to help prove that dogs could understand our facial expressions but there were issues with the studies that left room for doubt. In this new study, however, the dogs were trained to observe the same person making different facial expressions such as angry and happy faces.  The dogs were then able to accurately select what emotion was being displayed on the person’s face.

Dogs view facial expressions on a monitor. Credit: Image courtesy of University of Helsinki
Dogs view facial expressions on a monitor.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Helsinki

“Our study demonstrates that dogs can distinguish angry and happy expressions in humans, they can tell that these two expressions have different meanings, and they can do this not only for people they know well, but even for faces they have never seen before,” says senior author Ludwig Huber, from the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna’s Messerli Research Institute.

Although the researchers are still not convinced that the dogs are feeling empathically with us they do react to the expressions accurately.

“… it appears likely to us that the dogs associate a smiling face with a positive meaning and an angry facial expression with a negative meaning.”

Müller and Huber also reported that they had a hard time tricking the dogs into seeing the negative face as one that would give them a reward. They believed this was because of previous experience that the dogs had with people who looked angry.

Dogs are quick to learn and adapt based on their experiences and the researchers believe that is a big factor in how the dogs react to the emotions of their human friends.

“We expect to gain important insights into the extraordinary bond between humans and one of their favorite pets, and into the emotional lives of animals in general,” Müller says.

Both Horses and humans use facial expressions to Communicate

Dogs aren’t the only ones who seem to respond to or use facial expressions. According to a study from the University of Sussex, horses express their emotions using facial expressions much like chimps or humans.

Just like humans, horses have intricate muscles in their faces around their eyes, lips and nostrils which they use to express a variety of emotions depending on the situation.

via mirror.co.uk
via mirror.co.uk

Previous research shows us that facial cues are very important in how horses communicate. The more recent study was able to identify 17 unique expressions from horses. This is compared to the 27 unique expressions in humans, 16 in dogs and 13 in chimps.

Researcher Jennifer Wathan, said: “Horses are predominantly visual animals, with eyesight that’s better than domestic cats and dogs, yet their use of facial expressions has been largely overlooked. What surprised us was the rich repertoire of complex facial movements in horses, and how many of them are similar to humans.

“Despite the differences in face structure between horses and humans, we were able to identify some similar expressions in relation to movements of the lips and eyes.

“What we’ll now be looking at is how these expressions relate to emotional states.”

In addition to anatomical investigations, a wide range of video footage featuring horses was analysed to identify the facial expressions and compare them to other horses exhibiting the same behavior.

Professor Karen McComb said: “It was previously thought that, in terms of other species, the further away an animal was from humans, the more rudimentary their use of facial expressions would be.

“Through the development of EquiFACS, however, it’s apparent that horses, with their complex and fluid social systems, also have an extensive range of facial movements and share many of these with humans and other animals. This contributes to a growing body of evidence suggesting that social factors have had a significant influence on the evolution of facial expression.”

She added that a systematic way of recording facial expressions would have a wide range of uses. “With EquiFACS we can now document the facial movements associated with different social and emotional contexts and thus gain insights into how horses are actually experiencing their social world. As well as enhancing our understanding of social cognition and comparative psychology, the findings should ultimately provide important information for veterinary and animal welfare practices.”

Research in this area will help raise awareness for animal rights as well as help us connect better with our animals friends.

Sources-

Dogs know smiles

Mans best friend

Horses

How dogs see emotions

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via buzzfed.com

Researchers have been working on a brand new study based on prairie voles actually consoling their loved one who are feeling stressed, and based on the results of this study, it appears that the infamous “love hormone,” called oxytocin, is the underlying mechanism. Up until now, we have only been able to document the consolation behavior in a few non-human species that typically have higher levels of cognition and sociality, such as dogs, dolphins, and elephants.

For this particular study, the prairie vole were used and were able to show researchers that they are particularly social rodents, which causes them to be the focus of multiple studies in this field. This data led James Burkett, along with his colleagues, to vastly explore their potential for empathy-motivated behaviors.

Even though we do not support the harm of animals on any level, the researchers then were able to create an experiment where relatives and well-known individuals were taken and temporarily isolated from each other, while one was then exposed to mild shocks. Once the individuals were reunited, the non-stressed vole would then quickly proceed to lick the stressed out ones sooner and even for longer durations, compared to a controlled scenario where the voles were separated but neither one was exposed to any added stress.

Next the researchers then took measurements of the voles hormone levels and they revealed that the friends and family members went into a distressed state when they were not able to comfort their loved one.

During the course of the study the researchers were able to find out that one fact that consoling behavior tended to occur only between the voles who were familiar with each other, including non-kin members, but not to strangers, goes on to demonstrate that the behavior is not simply a type of reaction to aversive cues, the authors of the study noted.

Voles are not the only animals that are highly empathic, gorillas have been found to feel emotions deeply too. Take Koko for example; when she was informed of her friend, Robin Williams death, she voiced through her sign language that she felt sad and even motioned the sign for ‘cry’. Koko even became reclusive for a time, seeming to grieve for a time, the loss of her friend.

It is amazing to me that we are just now looking to animals as more of equals with the capacity to not only love but to feel emotions with one another. To console another if they realize they are in some sort of distress.

Personally, I talk with the animals that are part of my family exactly the way I would talk with you. Of course, there are those times where I get strange looks and the occasional snicker, but you know what, animals are sentient beings just as you and I. So why not treat them as such?

Sources-

www.sciencedaily.com

www.livescience.com

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Scientists have just created one of the very first eco-friendly batteries out of a baked oak leaf. Sounds crazy right? Who knew that using a carbonized oak leaf pumped full of sodium (salt) would create a battery’s negative terminal capable of holding a charge.

Recently an article from the University of Maryland was published in the journal ACS Applied Materials Interfaces where they demonstrated their oak leaf battery.

“Leaves are so abundant. All we had to do was pick one up off the ground here on campus,” said visiting professor and Author Hongbian Li, from the University of Maryland’s department of materials science and engineering.

What is so exciting about this news is that this type of battery can be made out of other eco materials such as peat moss and banana peels as well. Oak leaves were chosen for the study because they take the least amount of preparation in order to be made into a battery.

via multicell.co.uk
via multicell.co.uk

Lithium Battery Concerns

Most rechargeable batteries that are used in society today are made out of lithium. Just imagine your computer, remote control or cell phone battery and you will know what I am talking about.

When using lithium, there can be some concerns to ourselves and the environment moving forward and that is why scientists are looking for eco-friendly alternatives.

Lithium battery companies are working very hard to make sure that batteries are as safe as possible for use in our homes. Sometimes in rare cases, microscopic metal particles will come into contact with other parts of the battery cell which can cause it to short circuit. In some cases, a failed battery can explode which can expose us to dangerous battery chemicals.

Unfortunately, After we use batteries often times they end up in the trash and in the local dump when they aren’t disposed of in the proper ways.

Cleanup of environmental issues caused by lithium manufacturing is expensive both in money and the cost to our environment. According to the EPA, there was a 7 million dollar cleanup project because of an old Pennsylvania lithium processing site.

“Lithium, boron and chromium were also detected in off-site public and private wells.”

The CDC also evaluated the risks of the contamination on their site here. Long story short we must be very careful what kinds of chemicals we want to risk having dumped into our water supply because even though Lithium was used in the past as a prescription drug treatment for mental health issues, we are starting to better understand how this light metal can cause serious health issues.

Lithium toxicity can appear in the form of tremors, mild ataxia, drowsiness, muscular weakness, vomiting, and diarrhea. If you are exposed over a longer period of time then the lithium may start to block your nerves ability to communicate with your muscles.

Scientists Use Oak to Create a new Battery Alternative

Now scientists are working to make a safer eco battery that will be rechargeable just like the lithium batteries but without the consequences. So far sodium can hold a longer charge but struggles to recharge as many times as lithium at this point in time.

30B1D08800000578-0-image-m-9_1454069243173One of the biggest roadblocks in this project is finding a good anode material that can work with sodium since it is large than lithium. Some scientists have looked into using graphene and other materials which will retain and attract the sodium but most take too much time and money to produce. However, with the oak leaf, everything changes.

In this new case, scientists found that they could heat the oak leaf at 1,000 degrees C for an hour in order to burn off the underlying carbon structure. The structure of the leaf is also important in this discovery because the underside is covered in pores where the leaf would absorb water. In the battery design, the pores will absorb sodium electrolytes. The top of the leaf has layers of carbon that helps the leaf be tough enough to create sheets of nanostructured carbon where the sodium can be absorbed and the leaf can carry the charge.

“The natural shape of a leaf already matches a battery’s needs: a low surface area, which decreases defects; a lot of small structures packed closely together, which maximizes space; and internal structures of the right size and shape to be used with sodium electrolyte,” said author Fei Shen.

“We have tried other natural materials, such as wood fiber, to make a battery,” said assistant professor Liangbing Hu, of materials science and engineering. “A leaf is designed by nature to store energy for later use, and using leaves in this way could make large-scale storage environmentally friendly.”

According to the scientists, the next step is “to investigate different types of leaves to find the best thickness, structure and flexibility” for the electrical energy storage process. Researchers are focusing on perfecting the design and aren’t looking to commercialize right now.

Perhaps we will learn from nature the needed technology to get away from harmful chemicals and create a safer world for everyone.

Sources-

Maryland NanoCenter. “You’ll never ‘be-leaf’ what makes up this battery!.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 January 2016. 

batteryuniversity.com

www.treehugger.com/corporate-responsibility/living-with-the-side-effects-of-lithium-ion-batteries.html

wikipedia.org

Image credit: Sharon Freeman

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via a-listinterviews.com

A new scientific study is warning people that they need to find ways to reduce their chronic anxiety and stress. If people don’t find ways to balance out their lives and find peace then they are much more likely to develop mental illnesses such as depression and possibly even dementia.

The study from the Rotman Institute at Baycrest Health Sciences looked at the area of our brains that is most impacted by chronic stress, fear, and anxiety. They concluded that there is an “extensive overlap” in the brain’s neurocircuitry in all of these conditions. This may show us why issues such as chronic stress and developing disorders such as Alzheimers and depression are connected.

Experiencing some stress is normal, but if it starts becoming a regular thing then something need to change.

via doctorshealthpress.com
via doctorshealthpress.com

Unfortunately, experiencing stress is considered to be a normal thing when it is on occasion and doesn’t last very long. When you feel stressed about work, helping the planet, or worrying about a loved one these stresses can all be quite normal.

However, if these anxieties and stresses become a normal part of your daily life then that is considered chronic stress. Chronic stress can start to effect our jobs, relationships, spiritual growth, and brains.

Not only does stress hurt our brain but prolonged exposure can harm our metabolism, heart, and immune system. Long-term memory and spatial navigation rely on the brain’s hippocampus which will start to atrophy when we are stressed over a longer period of time.

“Pathological anxiety and chronic stress are associated with structural degeneration and impaired functioning of the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex (PFC), which may account for the increased risk of developing neuropsychiatric disorders, including depression and dementia,” said Dr. Linda Mah.

Dr. Mah who is an assistant professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto concluded in her research that the effects of chronic stress are “not completely irreversible.” If we can get our stress under control then we can start to heal our brains and possibly reverse the damage.

“Looking to the future, we need to do more work to determine whether interventions, such as exercise, mindfulness training and cognitive behavioural therapy, can not only reduce stress but decrease the risk of developing neuropsychiatric disorders,” said Dr. Mah

Mindfulness can help

Mindfulness and other stress-relieving practices such as yoga and exercise can help you rebalance your mind and better handle the waves of stress that come into your life. Mindfulness is a technique that has been proven to help people slow down, stay in the moment and reduce stress.

Mindfulness is a technique where one becomes fully immersed in the moment and experiences each sense in that moment. If there are birds chirping, a warm shining sun, or a green tree then all of these senses are fully enjoyed in that moment. Mindfulness also helps you become neutral and observe the present moment instead of reacting to it.

Many people practice this technique by observing the urge to scratch an itch instead of immediately scratching it. They learn to have a pause between stimulus and response in order to gain greater self-mastery over themselves and their life. Believe it or not, all of these subtle techniques can reduce stress and help heal your brain.

Mundane Tasks can become your ally

Did you know that doing mundane tasks such as washing the dishes can be relaxing? Florida State University has found that when you wash the dishes while using mindfulness techniques it will decrease stress while calming your mind.

via inhabitat.com
via inhabitat.com

The study looked at whether or not washing dishes could be used as a contemplative practice that helped to create a positive state of mind while focusing on the present moment.

“I’ve had an interest in mindfulness for many years, both as a contemplative practitioner and a researcher,” said doctoral candidate Adam Hanley, “I was particularly interested in how the mundane activities in life could be used to promote a mindful state and, thus, increase overall sense of well-being.”

The study was conducted with 51 students. The students were instructed to wash the dishes while focusing on the smell of the soap, feel of the dishes and the warmth of the water. The students reported that the activity reduces their nervousness by 27% while also increasing their levels of inspiration by 25%. 

The control group that washed the dishes without using any meditation or mindfulness technique found no added benefits from the activity. So the next time you are in a position of doing a ‘mundane task’ use mindfulness and make that task one that relieves stress and gives your brain a break.

Let us know in the comments below what you do to reduce stress.

Want to learn how to make mindfulness a part of your daily life? Check out our guide here!

Sources-

Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care. “Chronic stress, anxiety can damage the brain, increase risk of major psychiatric disorders.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 January 2016. 

Florida State University. “Chore or stress reliever: Study suggests that washing dishes decreases stress.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 October 2015. 

If you are feeling down and out I can let you in on a quick way to turn your mood (and possibly your life) around. It’s all about perspective really. We can take some concepts used in art and apply them to human happiness. Art is all about observation really, and the skills we develop as artists can be applied to many things, including peace of mind and happiness.

Let’s say you set up a still life on your table. Maybe some fruit or a nice bouquet of flowers and a charming old-fashioned oil lamp. You can take that subject and look at it from many different angles and see many different things. Each angle or perspective would be different though no less correct. What each individual perspective has in common other than the subject matter itself is that it’s an incomplete view of the subject at hand. You can approach the subject from one angle and it will look totally different when you zoom in from a different direction. We can apply this idea to our own lives by simply remembering that we can’t always see the full picture when it comes to a person, a thing, or a situation.

via wallpaperup.com
via wallpaperup.com

This idea helps us to be more tolerant toward others, and it helps us maintain our own sense of peace when we feel life is treating us unfairly. Remember when considering the subject of yourself, the most important perspective you should be concerned with is your own; because you have the most complete picture of yourself as a person. You alone have access to your thoughts and all the myriad of variables and circumstances that cause you to make the decisions you do. Everyone else just has pieces of the puzzle, you have the full picture and it’s up to you to decide how you want to look at it. Just remember, good or bad you are the one who has to live in your head. On that note, I should add that consistency will go a long way toward preserving your sanity and peace of mind. While the side of ourselves we present to different people might differ in some ways if we can keep our facts somewhat consistent we’ll keep our lives simpler in the long run.

In the art world, we understand that not only does our perspective alter the image we see, so too does the lighting. Generally speaking, the brighter something is the more positively we view it.  We all know a room that is lit up is generally a lot less frightening and imposing as the thought of something hiding in the darkness. We can take this idea of lighting and compare it with gratitude. Gratitude is like the light we shine into the darkness that chases away the shadows of our fears and reveals to us the blessings we truly have. The more we shine the light of gratitude, the more we are able to see those blessings that were once hidden from us.

If we were to go back to the still-life analogy, we can start off by striking a match or sparking a lighter in a darkened room. We have a small amount of light that allows us to find a bowl of fruit or flowers to paint then we notice a lantern we can turn on. The lantern gives us a better view of the room and from there we’ve illuminated the door which we can pass through to see a beautiful sunset for us to paint ablaze with all the beauty and splendor nature possesses.

Paint your Life
via gwoltal.myfastmail.com

I should also add that what you put in is key. If you had ignored the fact you had a match or a flashlight and just focused on the darkness and wandered in said darkness you probably would have stubbed your toe or bumped your shin. Next, you might have stumbled around the room cursing and knocked over the table or stepped on the cat and gotten clawed.

The law of Karma or the law of Attraction is real; you get what you give. If you are an angry bitter person you’ll have an angry bitter life. If you are peaceful and loving, chances are your life will be peaceful and loving as well. Think of it as making a sandwich. If you put good healthy ingredients into the sandwich you’ll have a wholesome tasty lunch. If you squeeze a bunch of hate and angst and anger between a couple of slices of apathy you’re bound to get a s**t sandwich. Just simple logic.

Now most of our power comes from within, from the perspective we choose to look at things, and from the light we choose to shine; our power comes from how we choose to ACT in situations (thoughtfully, mindfully, aware, as opposed to reacting blindly or emotionally).

We can choose to paint a happy scene and happy places, or we can choose to paint a scary terrifying scene of our own personal hell and focus on that for half of forever. It’s up to us what kind of subject matter we want to focus on… You are the god of your own universe as am I, but we’re also co-creating with all the other gods and goddesses around us, it’s important to honor that and our ability to choose, and how necessary that ability is sometimes.

Think about all the different perspectives that are out there and surround yourself with the people who build and empower you to become the kind of person you want to be. Keep the healthy mirrors around you; cherish the people who will believe in you and lift you up. They will give you strength when you are feeling weak. They will make you smile when you want to cry.

Surround yourself with people who reinforce your perspective of good in yourself and the world. When you encounter negative people who try and cut you down or make you feel small remember they are coming from their own small perspective. Try and see them in another light and hold space for the beauty that’s inherent within, while respecting that sometimes the best way to do that is with space.

Finally, remember the words of Bob Ross while you are painting your life,

“This is your world, you can make it however you want.”

Written by Rebecca River

Sources-

Shared with permission from original author.

Featured Image credit: banashreepalit.files.wordpress.com

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As we take baby steps towards living more ethical lives, we start to notice that we are surrounded with an overwhelming list of issues that we need to address in order to thrive with nature and honestly do no harm. We may start out by reducing our meat and dairy consumption and as our sensitivity returns eventually swear it off altogether. Each of us is on our own path and is doing the best we can and that is why when a valid solution is given to a current problem we want to shout it from the mountaintops!

Leather use is still extremely common!

Leather, is an issue that many of us have been familiar with ever since we were children watching movies such as 101 Dalmations, and yet most of us don’t notice how often we use products made out of leather every day. Animal hides are easily recognized in situations such as hunting and fur coats but it is actually much more common than that. Common products such as vehicles, furniture, shoes, belts, books, shirts, some wallpaper, hats, and wallets are often made out of leather.

In a world where we would prefer to avoid plastic products as much as possible, it is awesome to know that someone has taken the time to use a recycling technique to introduce a new Vegan approved leather alternative.

Piñatex™ is the innovative product made by Ananas Anam

The new ‘leather’ was designed by Ananas Anam which has been created from a sustainable high performing natural textile which is made from plant fiber waste. Piñatex™ is located in the Philippines where they create the product out of pineapple leaf fibers.

via ananas-anam.com
via ananas-anam.com

This awesome new approach is going to help support local farmers in a whole new way. Using a common waste product from pineapple farms in these growing countries the products will be made without any extra need for fertilizer, water, land or pesticides.

What an incredible idea to use something that is just being thrown away and instead craft it into a product we could use worldwide to stop the needless killing of animals for their skin. These products could be easily used in upholstery at home and in our cars, used for fashion accessories or clothing.

Check out this awesome infographic that shows us a breakdown of how the process works.

Via www.ananas-anam.com
Via www.ananas-anam.com

Decortication

When the pineapple leaves have their fibers extracted this process is known as decortication. This can be done on a local level within the community providing jobs and helping the locals. The remaining plant material that isn’t extracted can be used as an organic fertilizer and returned to its proper place in the earth.

The locals can use the organic fertilizer on their crops or sell it to make an additional income that can help promote sustainable organic farming in that region of the world.

After decortication, the fibers go through a process to be made into a ‘nonwoven textile’ which is what the vegan leather is made out of.

John-Jenkins-Pouffe

Leather is not only starting to be recognized worldwide as unethical but it is also becoming more scarce and expensive. This is unfortunately pushing the world towards the use of more plastic materials and we all know that plastic is already a major issue worldwide.

This is why the introduction of a sustainable textile that is super versatile, is just in time to help us shift into a more conscious world.

Car-seat
via ananas-anam.com

“Our vision is to develop textiles and textile materials that use processes that enhance the well-being of the earth and its people through the entire life cycle of the products. Our inspiration is the *Cradle to Cradle® approach, which supports ecological, intelligent and innovative design policies within today’s economic environment.” -ananas-anam.com

via ananas-anam.com
via ananas-anam.com

Carmen Hijosa is the Social Entrepreneur behind this brilliant design.

Carmen Hijosa founded Ananas Anam Ltd who was known for selling leather goods in Ireland in from 1978 to 1993. Knowing the industry she decided to start searching for a new approach that would provide for the world’s needs without using the traditional leather.

via ananas-anam.com
via ananas-anam.com

Back in the 90’s Hijosa decided to take a consulting position in the Philippines where she worked in a design center with product development. This is when she learned that pineapple leaf fibers could be used for so much more than they already were.

The pineapple leaf is both strong and has a fine quality making it an ideal alternative to leather. She spent the next several years perfecting her method which is when Piñatex™ was formed.

Hijosa and the other members of the Ananas Anam Ltd tell us that they are a diverse group of people with a wide variety of skills, backgrounds, and nationalities. Their goal is to develop textiles that are not only natural but they have a positive impact on the product world.

So you may have some questions specifically about the product. Here are some important points covered on their website.

Is Piñatex™ a form of leather?

via ananas-anam.com
via ananas-anam.com 

No, leather is made out of animal skin. Piñatex™ is a textile made from pineapple leaf fibers that after being finished can take on a similar texture and finish as traditional leather. This product is a vegan product that is both natural and safe.

Are you sure Piñatex™ is 100% animal free?

Yes, Piñatex™ assures us that there is no animal products or by-products used in the process of making this product.

Is this process Sustainable?

via ananas-anam.com
via ananas-anam.com

One of the most important parts of this whole plan was to create a product that is 100% sustainable. This is the founding principle of the company.

Since the pineapple leaves are a leftover byproduct of the pineapple harvesting process there are plenty of materials to go around and there is no need to plant more pineapples. This process just makes the waste products more valuable to the farmers and creates more opportunities for local farmers to support their communities.

Is the Piñatex™ product biodegradable?

Yes, as part of the research and development it was determined that this product does biodegrade, unlike many plastic materials.

What an incredible way to make a huge difference in our world. Thank you Carmen Hijosa for spending so many years of your life in search for an actual solution for the textile industry.

Sources-

www.ananas-anam.com

offgridquest.com

en.wikipedia.org

Image credit: ananas-anam.com

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If you or someone you know has had the unfortunate experience of being diagnosed with cancer you have had to make some tough choices in order to preserve your life and quality of life. Perhaps in your case, the choice was made to undergo the harsh treatments of chemotherapy.

For those of you that aren’t aware Chemotherapy is a common cancer treatment where chemicals are used to kill the cancer cells. These chemicals are very strong and can carry some pretty intense side effects. The chemicals are designed to target any cell that divides quickly in the hopes to hit the cancer cells but, unfortunately, our body has other cells that divide quickly too.

Healthy cells that line your intestines and mouth are at high risk as well as those that cause your hair to grow.

What is Chemo Brain?

via a4bc.wordpress.com
via a4bc.wordpress.com

People who survive the battle of cancer through the use of chemo can end up with an issue that makes it hard to think or remember things which are often referred to as chemo brain. This chemotherapy connected impairment of the brain is also known as chemo fog.

Although more research is needed to better pinpoint the exact chemical or issue causing the impairment it is still a very real issue and concern for these patients.

Mindfulness Meditation as a form of Stress Reduction Has been found to Help Reduce Chemo Brain

The Regenstrief Institute and the Indiana University School of Medicine recently conducted a study which shows us that a stress reduction program based on mindfulness can create a sustainable improvement to people who suffer from cognitive impairment due to cancer treatments. This program has shown success in improving focus, memory and function in these cancer survivors.

This treatment referred to as MBSR was used to help colorectal and breast cancer survivors who were feeling fatigued after their battle and most of whom were in fact treated with chemotherapy.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.”- psychologytoday.com

Focus Improves and Thinking becomes Easier with MBSR

Cancer survivors who participated in the program liked it so much that they had over a 95% retention rate which suggests that they found benefits from the 8-week class made up of 2-hour sessions.  

The patients in the control group had supportive counseling and educational materials which is the common therapeutic approach. Whereas the people who participated in the MBSR group had a greater ability to pay attention, made fewer mistakes on the various cognitive tasks, and reported that they saw lots of improvement.

Other related studies found the treatment to also help with post-cancer depression, sleep disturbances, and fatigue.

via ziptrials.us
via ziptrials.us

Researchers believe that the reason why mindfulness training works on helping someone improve their functioning is because of how the technique works. When you are using mindfulness you are trained to observe your internal body and mind reality without reacting.

For example, you would sit and observe the various sensations of your body, your thoughts, and emotions without seeking for a distraction or engage with them. You would just observe them as they are while staying present and not react to them.

When a person works hard to stay present for long periods of time it literally rewires the brain in such a way that many other parts of your life change for the better because of the effort you put forth in a simple meditation session.  

The specific technique used for these cancer survivors was both yoga and meditation as well as other elements to help their patients get the best results.

“More people than ever are surviving cancer due to the development of targeted and effective treatments,” said Shelley Johns, Psy.D. “Yet many cancer survivors are living with difficult and persistent side effects of these treatments, which can be incapacitating.”

“Mindfulness meditation practices enable cancer survivors to better manage cancer-related cognitive impairment, reported by approximately 35 percent of cancer survivors who have completed treatment,” said Dr. Johns,”MBSR provides a creative solution for survivors whose social and occupational functioning may have been negatively impacted by cognitive difficulties.”

What an awesome way to help support those who are recovering from such an intense and trying time in their life.

Already a hardcore meditator?

For those of you that are hardcore meditators and are looking for the next level of peace and liberation from a meditation technique have got to check out Vipassana. It is an incredibly transformational program that has been carefully passed down from the Buddha Gotama and yet many Buddhists don’t know about it.  

This intense 10-day course isn’t for the faint of heart and yet if you work hard and learn the technique it will forever change your life and it has done for me. The best news is that the program is free. Your session is paid for by previous students that felt the program was so beneficial that they gifted it to you. Click on this link to learn more.

Sources- www.sciencedaily.com

www.mayoclinic.org

www.webmd.com

www.psychologytoday.com

www.dhamma.org

Image Credit: consciouslivingtv.com

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