Scientists know plenty about depression. Now they are starting to understand the roots of positive emotion
By Michael D. Lemonick Sunday, Jan. 09, 2005
Richard Davidson was in a lab observing a Buddhist Monk Sink deep into serene meditation when he noticed something that sent his own pulse racing. Davidson, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin, hurriedly double-checked the data streaming to his computer from electrodes attached to the monk's skull, but there was no mistake. Electrical activity in the left prefrontal lobe of the monk's brain was shooting up at a tremendous rate. "It was exciting," Davidson recalls. "We didn't expect to see anything quite that dramatic."
Davidson's excitement is all the more significant because he's known by colleagues as the king of happiness research. When he made the discovery five years ago, he had been studying the link between prefrontal-lobe activity and the sort of bliss deep meditators experience. But even for someone with his experience, watching the brain crackle with activity as a person entered a trancelike state was unprecedented. It made clear, says Davidson, who published the research study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last fall, that happiness isn't just a vague, ineffable feeling; it's a physical state of the brain--one that you can induce deliberately.
That's not all. As researchers have gained an understanding of the physical characteristics of a happy brain, they have come to see that those traits have a powerful influence on the rest of the body. People who rate in the upper reaches of happiness on psychological tests develop about 50% more antibodies than average in response to flu vaccines, and that, says Davidson, "is a very large difference." Others have discovered that happiness or related mental states like hopefulness, optimism and contentment appear to reduce the risk or limit the severity of cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, diabetes, hypertension, colds and upper-respiratory infections as well. According to a Dutch study of elderly patients published in November, those upbeat mental states reduced an individual's risk of death 50% over the study's nine-year duration. Says Laura Kubzansky, a health psychologist at Harvard's School of Public Health, in a masterpiece of understatement: "There's clearly some kind of effect."
It makes sense that there should be. Doctors have known for years that clinical depression--the extreme opposite of happiness--can worsen heart disease, diabetes and a host of other illnesses. But the neurochemistry of depression is much better known than that of happiness, mostly because the former has been studied more intensively and for much longer. Until about a decade ago, says Dacher Keltner, a psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley, "90% of emotion research focused on the negative, so there still are all of these interesting questions about the positive state."
A growing number of researchers exploring the physiology and neurology of happiness are starting to answer those questions. Perhaps most fundamental of all is what happiness is, in a clinical sense. At this point, nobody can really say with precision. The word happiness, Davidson observes, "is kind of a placeholder for a constellation of positive emotional states. It's a state of well-being where individuals are typically not motivated to change their state. They're motivated to preserve it. It's associated with an active embracing of the world, but the precise characteristics and boundaries have really yet to be seriously characterized in scientific research."
Still, subjects can reliably tell researchers when they're feeling good, and two brain-imaging technologies--functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which maps blood flow to active parts of the brain, and electroencephalograms, which sense the electrical activity of neuronal circuits--consistently point to the left prefrontal cortex as a prime locus of happiness.
That raises the chicken-and-egg question of whether the prefrontal cortex creates the sensation of happiness or whether it merely reflects one's more general emotional state. Davidson thinks the answer is both: "We're confident that this part of the brain is a proximal cause of at least certain kinds of happiness." That suggests some people are genetically predisposed to be happy by virtue of their busy prefrontal cortexes, and research in infants confirms it. Davidson measured left prefrontal activity in babies less than a year old and then subjected them to a test in which their mothers left the room briefly. "Some babies will just cry hysterically the instant the mom leaves," he says. "Others are more resilient." It turns out that the babies with the higher left prefrontal activity are the ones who don't cry. "We were actually able to predict which infants would cry in response to that brief but significant stress."
In short, as parents know instinctively, some babies are just born happy. But neuroscientists have also learned over the past decade that the brain is highly plastic. It rewires itself in response to experience, and that's especially true before the age of puberty. One might naively assume, therefore, that negative experiences might destroy a happy personality--and if they're extreme and frequent enough, that might be true. Davidson has learned, however, that mild to moderate doses of negative experience are beneficial. (In animal studies, he compared groups that had been moderately stressed when young to those that never were and found the former better able to recover from stress as adults. In human studies, in which deliberately inducing stress on kids would be unethical, he based his conclusions on self-reported stories of stressful childhoods.) The reason, he believes, is that stressful events give us practice at bouncing back from unpleasant emotions. They're like an exercise to strengthen our happiness muscles or a vaccination against melancholy.
Exactly what is the physical difference, though, between a left prefrontal cortex that is predisposed to happiness and one that isn't? It almost certainly has in part to do with neurotransmitters, the chemicals that ferry signals from one neuron to the next. And while the prefrontal cortex is awash in many neurotransmitters, including dopamine, serotonin, glutamate, GABA and more, Davidson believes dopamine may be especially important. Animal studies have shown that dopamine mediates the transfer of signals associated with positive emotions between the left prefrontal area and the emotional centers in the limbic area of the brain, such as the nucleus accumbens, situated within the ventral striatum. In humans, people with a sensitive version of the receptor that accepts dopamine tend to have better moods, and researchers are actively studying the relationship of dopamine levels to feelings of euphoria and depression.
Dopamine pathways may be especially important in aspects of happiness associated with moving toward some sort of goal (monks achieving a meditative state as well as cigarette smokers allowed to light up after 24 hours of deprivation). But other neurochemicals may be more central to other kinds of happiness, including physical pleasure. "People have made progress differentiating the positive feeling you get when you approach a goal, which maps onto dopamine, and the sensory pleasure of enjoying something, which maps onto the opioid system," says Berkeley psychologist Keltner. "We're just beginning to apply a lens to all those parts of the nervous system in which the positive emotions are embodied. This is really neat territory."
Among those exploring that territory is Brian Knutson, an assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Stanford, who, like Davidson, uses MRI to monitor the brains of test subjects. The mental mode he studies is anticipation. "When people think of happiness," says Knutson, "they think of feeling good, but a big part of happiness is also looking forward to something." Knutson's research was inspired by the classic work of Ivan Pavlov, who trained dogs to salivate at the sound of a bell, which they associated with mealtime.
Instead of food, Knutson used money: a small cash payoff if subjects won a video game. "When we looked at their brains just before they got the reward," he says, "we saw this spark that clearly had to do with how positive the idea of making money was." The spark showed up not in the left prefrontal cortex but in what Knutson terms an old section, the nucleus accumbens, located in the subcortex, at the bottom of the brain. The bigger the prize, Knutson found, "the more activation." Knutson believes he is looking at the kind of happy feelings we experience as excitement. The primary focus of his work is to understand the neurophysiology of motivation and decision making--how emotion and reason work together as people make choices. But it could also be a key to mapping out the brain's broader happiness circuitry.
Understanding the neurophysiology of feeling good is one aspect of happiness research; another is understanding how positive emotion affects the rest of the body. As with the brain studies, the term happiness is too broad for a rigorous approach, so researchers tend to focus on specific aspects. Harvard psychologist Kubzansky has chosen to study optimism. In a large study she tracked 1,300 men for 10 years and found that heart-disease rates among men who called themselves optimistic were half the rates for men who didn't.
"It was a much bigger effect than we expected," she says--as big as the difference between smokers and nonsmokers. "We also looked at pulmonary function, since poor pulmonary function is predictive of a whole range of bad outcomes, including premature mortality, cardiovascular disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease." Again, optimists did much better. "I'm an optimist," she says, "but I didn't expect results like this."
In a separate study, meanwhile, which has been accepted by the journal Health Psychology, Kubzansky, working with Duke psychologist and lead researcher Laura Richman, looked at hopefulness and curiosity--mental states that overlap with optimism in some ways. "We found them to be protective against hypertension, diabetes and upper-respiratory infection," she says. Such protective effects may explain the longevity advantage found in that Dutch study of the elderly--an advantage for happy optimists that persisted even when researchers corrected for diet, education and other factors.
Exactly how states of mind affect the body's biochemistry is still far from clear. "We can do some good speculation," says Kubzansky, "based on what we know about anxiety and depression, so there are a couple of places to look in terms of neuroendocrine function and immune inflammatory pathways." One clue: in addition to reporting a positive mood when their left prefrontal cortexes are active, subjects in Davidson's experiments have lower levels of cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenal gland in response to stress--and cortisol is known to depress immune function. Optimists may simply feel less stress than pessimists and thereby avoid the noxious biochemical cascades that stress is known to trigger. Another likely factor: optimistic, happy types seem to take better care of themselves than sad sacks do. Numerous studies--as well as common sense--suggest that to be the case.
In a series of studies begun in 1998, psychologist Robert Emmons of the University of California at Davis has found further evidence that happy people are better at health maintenance. Emmons randomly assigned 1,000 adults to one of three groups. The first group kept daily journals of their moods and rated them on a scale of 1 to 6. The second group did that and listed the things that annoyed or hassled them throughout their day. The third group kept a journal but added an activity that has repeatedly been shown to improve one's sense of satisfaction with life: they were asked to write down every day all the things for which they were grateful.
Despite being assigned randomly, the last group not only had the predicted jump in their overall feelings of happiness, says Emmons, but were also found to spend more time exercising, be more likely to have regular medical checkups and routinely take preventive health actions like wearing sunscreen. Overall, the "gratitude" group were promoting better health. "They rate themselves as more energetic, more enthusiastic, more alert," Emmons reports. In short, keeping the diaries contributed to their physical and emotional well-being.
Not surprisingly, the advantages were greatest when compared with the group that focused on life's hassles. "People who are grateful tend to view their body a certain way," says Emmons. "They see life as a gift, health as a gift. So they want to take certain measures to preserve it." Reminding yourself of what you're grateful for is a technique open to anyone, but more sophisticated methods of manipulating happiness are showing promise as well. Cognitive-behavior therapy and medication, for example, are used mostly to combat depression, but they may also be useful in enhancing happiness.
Such positive results gratify happiness researchers, who haven't been very successful in attracting federal dollars. "I could easily see being spoofed on the Senate floor for whatever award they give for esoteric, needless research," says Keltner. "But as the findings trickle in showing that positive emotions and happiness make your immune system function better, or help you battle disease, or help you live longer, then you're into fundable territory." Thanks to Keltner, Davidson and others, those findings have gained the field a degree of respectability that's long overdue--and that ultimately could make all of us a whole lot happier. --Reported by Dan Cray/ Los Angeles
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 11:04 David Readett
These are some comments I picked up on the internet. Being totally none scientific I have tried to condense and make some sense of what this means.
I apologise if it seems nonsensical. As I have tried to spiritualise what it might mean.
A group of researchers lead by Prof Sam Chang working on the ”Human Genome Project” will be announcing soon that they made an astonishing scientific discovery. They believe that so called non-coding sequences (97%) in human DNA is no less than a genetic code of an unknown extraterrestrial life form.
The so called “non –coding” sequences is also known as “junk DNA”, which were discovered years ago, and there function remains a mystery. Unlike coded genes (the ones we understand) that carry information and organises our bodily enzymes, proteins and other chemicals. The non coding sequences are never used for any purpose. The information they carry is never read and they appear to have no function at all.
This means we exist on only 3% of our DNA. The junk genes just go for the ride. But what are they, how come they are even there.
Trying to understand the origins they realised they needed to define “What is Junk DNA”, is it really useless andmeaningless or does it have information that is not claimed by the rest of the DNA.
Prof Chang enlisted the help of a young Theoretical physicist come computer buff, Dr Lipshultz, a Wall street market data analyst, to see if it would show the sequences on his computer to see if it was junk (Called “white noise”) or did they carry information. To his surprise the coding and non-coding sequences was not all that different and the junk was not junk at all. It was in fact very orderly.
Eventually Prof. Chang enlisted a Dr Adnan Mussaelian a Russian cryptographer and computer programmer, who promptly confirmed that Lipshultz was correct, so decided to investigate the matter further. Adnan s first impression from statistical analysis was that the junk DNA was done by a sloppy programmer and not very well organised.
In a eureka moment he thought, “ may be the non-coding junk DNA was a genetic code written outside of time and space and deposited it in our DNA for us to discover”. What if it was a base code placed there for us to find and then build up our own computer programme code. The thought seemed ridiculous, biologist for years have tried to make junk DNA sequences meaningful and failed.
He decide to experiment with known chemicals feed it into the programme and see what happened.
Eventually he discovered a pattern regarding cancer cells. And that this could not be coincidence, when it came up again three or four times in 200 tests. Further experiments by Prof Chang revealed that there was a possibility of embracing this discovery for future instant healings. His particular concern was cancer. The non- coding DNA was able to unearth a sequence regarding the production of cancer cells which further research could give some answers of how to deal with them.
The conclusions were absolutely amazing.
That the so called Junk DNA was like a computer basic system upgrade. From which the user can then download and adapt it to suit their needs.(Most ordinary people only use a very small fraction of their computers potential, but will be familiar with upgrades).
In other words the so called junk DNA was Basic programme of potential upgrades, which they called the” Big code” system. The” basic code” is the parts of the DNA that we actually use and develop. The astonishing thing was that the upgrades came with the DNA in the first place with creation, and that’s what the so called Junk DNA is.
They have concluded that:-
The ingenious here is that the upgrade is already enclosed within our DNA– That the junk DNA is nothing more than hidden and dormant upgrade of our basic code.
The question is, was the basic code a purposeful act when earth was developed in the first place, and can the upgrades be cancelled by a “remote control” whenever desired “Soon or later”.
They have to come to the unbelievable notion that every life on earth carries a genetic code and that evolution is not what we think it is. This discovery may well shake the very roots of humanity – our beliefs in our concept of God and in our own power over our destiny. With the right paradigm we may discover one day that all forms of life and the whole universe is just one huge intellectual exercise in thought expressed mathematically, by design, by a Creator.
This has immense repercussions for believers. That some of the major developments in scripture could be simply be the fact that God just flipped a switch and removed a few upgrades. Or put it another way downgraded the programme, Hence earth is going backwards, as creation presents itself and not going forwards as evolution suggests.
Believers need to realise that in the beginning mans DNA was pure and perfect.
For example when Adam sinned and fell from his position into a three dimensional world God just turned off the upgrade (in other words he downgraded the “Big Code”programme), similarly, with Noah and the flood, the tower of Babel.
When it suited God, with the arrival of the Lord Jesus Christ, Jesus just bought into the upgrades and did miraculous things, culminating with the resurrection, and the day of Pentecost.
As the church therefore, through whatever reason, accidentally or through lack of faith forgotten how to tap into the lost upgrades and will the end times be the time when the church finally realises the upgrades are there and wake up to what is happening.
May be the end times the church will be like the two witnesses (Jew and gentile) and be indestructible and restore all that has been lost.
For further notes and scriptures see “How to change your DNA”
(Trumpetsound – January 2014.)
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 11:12 David Readett
This is a summary in “Christian Speak” of the latest scientific discoveries regarding DNA and the potential impact on the Christian faith with a conclusion on the pitfalls.
Russian scientist research 90% of “junk” DNA
The discoveries are to the credit of Russian biophysicist and molecular biologist Pjotr Garjajev and his colleagues, who ventured into DNA territory Western researchers, have failed to consider. Western scientists have limited their studies to the 10% of our DNA responsible for building proteins. That means they have dismissed the other 90% of DNA as “junk.”
Garjajev refused to accept that such a huge majority of DNA could hold no research value. To probe the mysteries of this uncharted terrain, they paired linguists with geneticists in an unconventional study to test impact of vibration and language on human DNA.
What they found was completely unexpected — our DNA stores data like a computer’s memory system. Not only that, but our genetic code uses grammar rules and syntax in a way that closely mirrors human language!
They also found that even the structuring of DNA-alkaline pairs follows a regular grammar and has set rules. It appears that all human languages are simply verbalizations of our DNA.
Scientists Prove DNA Reprogramming using words and frequency
Scientists have proved that DNA can be reprogrammed by Words and Frequencies. The human DNA is a biological internet and superior in many aspects to the artificial one.
The Russian linguists found that the genetic code, especially in the apparently useless 90%, follows the same rules as all our human languages. To this end they compared the rules of syntax (the way in which words are put together to form phrases and sentences), semantics (the study of meaning in language forms) and the basic rules of grammar. They found that the alkalines of our DNA follow a regular grammar and do have set rules just like our languages. So human languages did not appear coincidentally but are a reflection of our inherent DNA.
This means that they managed for example to modulate certain frequency patterns onto a laser ray and with it influenced the DNA frequency and thus the genetic information itself. Since the basic structure of DNA-alkaline pairs and of language is of the same structure, no DNA decoding is necessary. One can simply use words and sentences of the human language! This, too, was experimentally proven! Living DNA substance will always react to language-modulated laser rays and even to radio waves, if the proper frequencies are being used. This finally and scientifically explains why affirmations and the like can have such strong effects on humans and their bodies. It is entirely normal and natural for our DNA to react to language
A new method of healing
Russian scientific research directly or indirectly explains phenomena such as intuition, spontaneous and remote acts of healing, self healing, affirmation techniques, mind's influence on weather patterns and much more. In addition, there is evidence for a whole new type of medicine in which DNA can be influenced and reprogrammed by words and frequencies WITHOUT cutting out and replacing single genes
While western researchers cut single genes from the DNA strands and insert them elsewhere, the Russians enthusiastically worked on devices that can influence the cellular metabolism through suitable modulated radio and light frequencies and thus repair genetic defects. Garjajev's research group succeeded in proving that with this method chromosomes damaged by x-rays for example can be repaired. They even captured information patterns of a particular DNA and transmitted it onto another, thus reprogramming cells to another genome by transmitting the DNA information patterns! This way the entire information was transmitted without any of the side effects or disharmonies encountered when cutting out and re-introducing single genes from the DNA. This represents an unbelievable, world-transforming revolution and sensation! All this by simply applying vibration and language instead of the archaic cutting-out procedure! This experiment points to the immense power of wave genetics, which obviously has a greater influence on the formation of body organisms than the biochemical processes of alkaline sequences (drugs and medication).
How by faith
Esoteric and spiritual teachers have known for ages that our body is programmable by language, words and thought. This has now been scientifically proven and explained. Of course the frequency has to be correct. And this is why not everybody is equally successful or can do it with always the same strength. The individual person must work on the inner processes and maturity in order to establish a conscious communication with the DNA. The Russian researchers work on a method that is not dependent on these factors but will ALWAYS work, provided one uses the correct frequency. But the higher developed an individual's consciousness is, the less need is there for any type of device! One can achieve these results by oneself, and science will finally stop to laugh at such ideas and will confirm and explain the results (if you can’t find the right frequency use your faith).
Hyper communication (The power of Prayer)
” Hyper communication is the term used to describe situations when someone suddenly accesses information outside his or her personal knowledge base”. In our times, this has become increasingly rare. That’s most likely because the top three factors that prevent hyper communication (stress, anxiety, and a hyperactive brain) have become so prevalent in today’s society.
The Russian scientists also found out that our DNA can cause disturbing patterns in the vacuum (the fallen spiritual world).The DNA attracts these bits of information and passes them on to our consciousness. This process of hyper communication is most effective in a state of relaxation. Stress, worries or a hyperactive intellect prevent successful hyper communication or the information will be totally distorted and useless. In nature, hyper communication has been successfully applied for millions of years. The organized flow of life in insect states proves this dramatically. Modern man knows it only on a much more subtle level as "intuition." But we, too, can regain full use of it.
When hyper communication occurs, one can observe in the DNA as well as in the human being special phenomena. The Russian scientists irradiated DNA samples with laser light. On screen a typical wave pattern was formed. When they removed the DNA sample, the wave pattern did not disappear, it remained. Many control experiments showed that the pattern still came from the removed sample, whose energy field apparently remained by itself. This effect is now called phantom DNA effect. It is surmised that energy from outside of space and time still flows through the activated wormholes after the DNA was removed. The side effects encountered most often in hyper communication and also in human beings are inexplicable electromagnetic fields in the vicinity of the persons concerned. (This reminds me of Kirlians electromagnetic photography experiment and the quantum science principal of light travel).
This so called “phantom DNA” is effectively prayer. When God said “my word never returns void” we now know that it is so. Words spoken keep travelling even when the person has stopped praying altogether.
Researchers think that if humans with full individuality would regain group consciousness, they would have a god-like power to create, alter and shape things on Earth! AND humanity is collectively moving toward such a group consciousness of the new kind.
Weather is strongly influenced by Earth resonance frequencies, the so-called Schumann frequencies. But those same frequencies are also produced in our brains, and when many people synchronize their thinking or individuals focus their thoughts in a laser-like fashion, then it is scientifically speaking not at all surprising if they can thus influence weather.
As a rule, weather for example is rather difficult to influence by a single individual. But it may be influenced by a group consciousness (nothing new to some tribes doing it in their rain dances)
An ordered group consciousness creates order in its whole surroundings!
Have we been here before?
Researchers in group consciousness have formulated the theory that early civilizations must have had this ability since it already resides inside out DNA. This is an astonishing conclusion that supports the view of two creations set out in Genesis chapters 1 and 2, a humanity that could develop a group consciousness of kind that would have neither environmental problems nor scarcity of energy. A civilisation who could use its mental power as a unifying force and take control of the energies of its home planet as a natural consequence, which would include all natural catastrophes!!!
Theoretically mankind today therefore should be able to resurrect what once was common and create a new kind of modern civilization that could also control all energies of their home galaxy.
Change your own DNA
The Russian research also helps explain why these esoteric techniques are not equally successful for all who use them. Since clear “communication” with DNA requires the correct frequency, individuals with more highly developed inner processes will be more able to create a conscious channel of communication with the DNA.
Individuals whose consciousness is more highly developed will have less need for any type of device (to apply radio or light frequencies). Scholars of this science believe that with consciousness, people can achieve results using only their own words and thoughts as they successfully transmitted information patterns from one set of DNA to another. Eventually, they were even able to reprogram cells to another genome
As a Christian this research strengthens my faith and the power of prayer and the ability to walk with God and talk to him.
To do that our prayers must travel faster than light otherwise they would never get there or answers come back.
It also explains how we get information supernaturally and can pray individually or corporately to get results.
God said my words will not return to me void, they will always be fulfilled. All we have to do is tap into the reality of what God has said and walk with him. Then we would never die, effectively live forever and be and do what Jesus said “ do greater things than he did”.
It has now been demonstrated that man can tap into knowledge that is outside of time and space and enter into the ethereal world. The danger is that the spiritual forces of evil also abide in this space and we are told not to engage with them, so there is a risk involved for anyone who does. Thankfully believers bypass the ethereal world and connect with the Holy Spiritual world of the Kingdom of God which is creative light the origin of everything. The ethereal world is only created energy and therefore infinitely inferior. If they do develop the ability to transmit words and energy through laser beams, what else can they transmit? Good knowledge always leads to evil.
Sounds as though the battle for the spiritual world is really on, let’s hope that the saints will rise to the challenge.
Trumpetsound – January 2014.
USE these articles as a reference to your overcoming physical, emotional & spiritual problems & illnesses.
Cleanse Your Spirit