Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Nature's RESET Button

Feeling frazzled?  On the edge of a breakdown? 

This morning I came in to work at 9am and when I looked at the clock reading almost 11am still feeling like I hadn’t really started my day, I heaved a huge sigh. Frustration. A coworker who hadn’t finished her work the day before came in so she needed the computer, which disrupted my get-the-day-started flow. It’s ok – she’s new. But once I finally did get started at 9:55am, I took some pictures of this adorable baby and plugged in the camera to load them into the system as I usually do. Instead of showing up on the screen, the computer just kept showing that little blue circle spinning and spinning. No pictures. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Our Default is Atrophy

Hunch Back Posture Problems
“Our default is atrophy,” says Charlie Bellia – if you don’t use it, you lose it. That goes for muscles, languages, skills. That’s why it’s so hard to get back into working out when you stop for a couple weeks.  Your brain is efficient; it’s the best spring-cleaner, trims out all the extra fat, anything we don’t need, it gets rid of. Our instincts tell us that if you work your muscles to the point of fatigue, those muscles need to be stronger. It’s survival, explains Charlie, if you get too tired hiking up Mount Si, your brain senses that it could be, on the most primal level, dangerous. Working your muscles tells your brain that you need them. And if you demand more of them, they rise to the occasion – that’s what they’re there for. Their function is to work for you and your movement needs.

Lydia Condrea, a linguist and language teacher, tells her students that their brain is lazy. Unless they can trick it into needing to work to find other ways to communicate, it will default to the system it is most comfortable in. That is why it is nearly impossible to really pick up a new language in a situation in which you rely heavily on your native language or one that you already know well. When I studied in Rome during my sophomore year in college,