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10 Simple Things You Can Do Today That Will Make You Happier, Backed By Science

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We are all in search of happiness it seems. For me I prefer to look at it as the search for peace and joy in life as I find happiness can be too conditional and anytime we have to look for or chase something we are looking outside of us. Surely some of this is just semantics but for lack of a better word, happiness in my view is a state of being that comes from within and isn’t fickle.

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I came across this great article about the science of happiness and how researchers have been able to discover that various simple things that we can adjust in our daily lives can bring more happiness to our state of being. Again I believe happiness is a long term thing, not short spurts of emotion that we chase, but something that is born within and sustained naturally in our being.

1. Exercise more – 7 minutes might be enough

You might have seen some talk recently about the scientific 7 minute workout mentioned in The New York Times. So if you thought exercise was something you didn’t have time for, maybe you can fit it in after all.

Exercise has such a profound effect on our happiness and well-being that it’s actually been proven to be an effective strategy for overcoming depression. In a study cited in Shawn Achor’s book, The Happiness Advantage, three groups of patients treated their depression with either medication, exercise, or a combination of the two. The results of this study really surprised me. Although all three groups experienced similar improvements in their happiness levels to begin with, the follow-up assessments proved to be radically different:

The groups were then tested six months later to assess their relapse rate. Of those who had taken the medication alone, 38 percent had slipped back into depression. Those in the combination group were doing only slightly better, with a 31 percent relapse rate. The biggest shock, though, came from the exercise group: Their relapse rate was only 9 percent!

 You don’t have to be depressed to gain benefit from exercise, though. It can help you to relax, increase your brain power and even improve your body image, even if you don’t lose any weight.

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study in the Journal of Health Psychology found that people who exercised felt better about their bodies, even when they saw no physical changes:

Body weight, shape and body image were assessed in 16 males and 18 females before and after both 6 × 40 mins exercise and 6 × 40 mins reading. Over both conditions, body weight and shape did not change. Various aspects of body image, however, improved after exercise compared to before.

We’ve explored exercise in depth before, and looked at what it does to our brains, such as releasing proteins and endorphins that make us feel happier, as you can see in the image below.

brain_walk

 

2. Sleep more – you’ll be less sensitive to negative emotions

We know that sleep helps our bodies to recover from the day and repair themselves, and that it helps us focus and be more productive. It turns out, it’s also important for our happiness.

In NutureShock, Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman explain how sleep affects our positivity:

Negative stimuli get processed by the amygdala; positive or neutral memories gets processed by the hippocampus. Sleep deprivation hits the hippocampus harder than the amygdala. The result is that sleep-deprived people fail to recall pleasant memories, yet recall gloomy memories just fine.

In one experiment by Walker, sleep-deprived college students tried to memorize a list of words. They could remember 81% of the words with a negative connotation, like “cancer.” But they could remember only 31% of the words with a positive or neutral connotation, like “sunshine” or “basket.”

The BPS Research Digest explores another study that proves sleep affects our sensitivity to negative emotions. Using a facial recognition task over the course of a day, the researchers studied how sensitive participants were to positive and negative emotions. Those who worked through the afternoon without taking a nap became more sensitive late in the day to negative emotions like fear and anger.

Using a face recognition task, here we demonstrate an amplified reactivity to anger and fear emotions across the day, without sleep. However, an intervening nap blocked and even reversed this negative emotional reactivity to anger and fear while conversely enhancing ratings of positive (happy) expressions.

Of course, how well (and how long) you sleep will probably affect how you feel when you wake up, which can make a difference to your whole day. Especially this graph showing how your brain activity decreases is a great insight about how important enough sleep is for productivity and happiness:

sleep

Another study tested how employees’ moods when they started work in the morning affected their work day.

Researchers found that employees’ moods when they clocked in tended to affect how they felt the rest of the day. Early mood was linked to their perceptions of customers and to how they reacted to customers’ moods.

And most importantly to managers, employee mood had a clear impact on performance, including both how much work employees did and how well they did it.

Sleep is another topic we’ve looked into before, exploring how much sleep we really need to be productive.

3. Move closer to work – a short commute is worth more than a big house

Our commute to the office can have a surprisingly powerful impact on our happiness. The fact that we tend to do this twice a day, five days a week, makes it unsurprising that its effect would build up over time and make us less and less happy.

According to The Art of Manliness, having a long commute is something we often fail to realize will affect us so dramatically:

… while many voluntary conditions don’t affect our happiness in the long-term because we acclimate to them, people never get accustomed to their daily slog to work because sometimes the traffic is awful and sometimes it’s not. Or as Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert put it, “Driving in traffic is a different kind of hell every day.”

We tend to try to compensate for this by having a bigger house or a better job, but these compensations just don’t work:

Two Swiss economists who studied the effect of commuting on happiness found that such factors could not make up for the misery created by a long commute.

4. Spend time with friends and family – don’t regret it on your deathbed

Staying in touch with friends and family is one of the top five regrets of the dying. If you want more evidence that it’s beneficial for you, I’ve found some research that proves it can make you happier right now.

Social time is highly valuable when it comes to improving our happiness, even for introverts. Several studies have found that time spent with friends and family makes a big difference to how happy we feel, generally.

I love the way Harvard happiness expert Daniel Gilbert explains it:

We are happy when we have family, we are happy when we have friends and almost all the other things we think make us happy are actually just ways of getting more family and friends.

George Vaillant is the director of a 72-year study of the lives of 268 men.

In an interview in the March 2008 newsletter to the Grant Study subjects, Vaillant was asked, “What have you learned from the Grant Study men?” Vaillant’s response: “That the only thing that really matters in life are your relationships to other people.”

He shared insights of the study with Joshua Wolf Shenk at The Atlantic on how the men’s social connections made a difference to their overall happiness:

The men’s relationships at age 47, he found, predicted late-life adjustment better than any other variable, except defenses. Good sibling relationships seem especially powerful: 93 percent of the men who were thriving at age 65 had been close to a brother or sister when younger.

In fact, a study published in the Journal of Socio-Economics states than your relationships are worth more than $100,000:

Using the British Household Panel Survey, I find that an increase in the level of social involvements is worth up to an extra £85,000 a year in terms of life satisfaction. Actual changes in income, on the other hand, buy very little happiness.

I think that last line is especially fascinating: Actual changes in income, on the other hand, buy very little happiness. So we could increase our annual income by hundreds of thousands of dollars and still not be as happy as if we increased the strength of our social relationships.

The Terman study, which is covered in The Longevity Project, found that relationships and how we help others were important factors in living long, happy lives:

We figured that if a Terman participant sincerely felt that he or she had friends and relatives to count on when having a hard time then that person would be healthier. Those who felt very loved and cared for, we predicted, would live the longest.

Surprise: our prediction was wrong… Beyond social network size, the clearest benefit of social relationships came from helping others. Those who helped their friends and neighbors, advising and caring for others, tended to live to old age.

5. Go outside – happiness is maximized at 13.9°C

In The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor recommends spending time in the fresh air to improve your happiness:

Making time to go outside on a nice day also delivers a huge advantage; one study found that spending 20 minutes outside in good weather not only boosted positive mood, but broadened thinking and improved working memory…

This is pretty good news for those of us who are worried about fitting new habits into our already-busy schedules. Twenty minutes are a short enough time to spend outside that you could fit it into your commute or even your lunch break.

A UK study from the University of Sussex also found that being outdoors made people happier:

Being outdoors, near the sea, on a warm, sunny weekend afternoon is the perfect spot for most. In fact, participants were found to be substantially happier outdoors in all natural environments than they were in urban environments.

The American Meteorological Society published research in 2011 that found current temperature has a bigger effect on our happiness than variables like wind speed and humidity, or even the average temperature over the course of a day. It also found that happiness is maximized at 13.9°C, so keep an eye on the weather forecast before heading outside for your 20 minutes of fresh air.

The connection between productivity and temperature is another topic we’ve talked about more here. It’s fascinating what a small change in temperature can do.

6. Help others – 100 hours a year is the magical number

One of the most counterintuitive pieces of advice I found is that to make yourself feel happier, you should help others. In fact, 100 hours per year (or two hours per week) is the optimal time we should dedicate to helping others in order to enrich our lives.

If we go back to Shawn Achor’s book again, he says this about helping others:

…when researchers interviewed more than 150 people about their recent purchases, they found that money spent on activities—such as concerts and group dinners out—brought far more pleasure than material purchases like shoes, televisions, or expensive watches. Spending money on other people, called “prosocial spending,” also boosts happiness.

The Journal of Happiness Studies published a study that explored this very topic:

Participants recalled a previous purchase made for either themselves or someone else and then reported their happiness. Afterward, participants chose whether to spend a monetary windfall on themselves or someone else. Participants assigned to recall a purchase made for someone else reported feeling significantly happier immediately after this recollection; most importantly, the happier participants felt, the more likely they were to choose to spend a windfall on someone else in the near future.

So spending money on other people makes us happier than buying stuff for ourselves. What about spending our time on other people? A study of volunteering in Germany explored how volunteers were affected when their opportunities to help others were taken away:

 Shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall but before the German reunion, the first wave of data of the GSOEP was collected in East Germany. Volunteering was still widespread. Due to the shock of the reunion, a large portion of the infrastructure of volunteering (e.g. sports clubs associated with firms) collapsed and people randomly lost their opportunities for volunteering. Based on a comparison of the change in subjective well-being of these people and of people from the control group who had no change in their volunteer status, the hypothesis is supported that volunteering is rewarding in terms of higher life satisfaction.

In his book Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, University of Pennsylvania professor Martin Seligman explains that helping others can improve our own lives:

…we scientists have found that doing a kindness produces the single most reliable momentary increase in well-being of any exercise we have tested.

7. Practice smiling – it can alleviate pain

Smiling itself can make us feel better, but it’s more effective when we back it up with positive thoughts, according to this study:

A new study led by a Michigan State University business scholar suggests customer-service workers who fake smile throughout the day worsen their mood and withdraw from work, affecting productivity. But workers who smile as a result of cultivating positive thoughts – such as a tropical vacation or a child’s recital – improve their mood and withdraw less.

Of course it’s important to practice “real smiles” where you use your eye sockets. It’s very easy to spot the difference:

Smiling

According to PsyBlogsmiling can improve our attention and help us perform better on cognitive tasks:

Smiling makes us feel good which also increases our attentional flexibility and our ability to think holistically. When this idea was tested by Johnson et al. (2010), the results showed that participants who smiled performed better on attentional tasks which required seeing the whole forest rather than just the trees.

A smile is also a good way to alleviate some of the pain we feel in troubling circumstances:

Smiling is one way to reduce the distress caused by an upsetting situation. Psychologists call this the facial feedback hypothesis. Even forcing a smile when we don’t feel like it is enough to lift our mood slightly (this is one example of embodied cognition).

One of our previous posts goes into even more detail about the science of smiling.

8. Plan a trip – but don’t take one

As opposed to actually taking a holiday, it seems that planning a vacation or just a break from work can improve our happiness. A study published in the journal, Applied Research in Quality of Life showed that the highest spike in happiness came during the planning stage of a vacation as employees enjoyed the sense of anticipation:

In the study, the effect of vacation anticipation boosted happiness for eight weeks.

After the vacation, happiness quickly dropped back to baseline levels for most people.

Shawn Achor has some info for us on this point, as well:

One study found that people who just thought about watching their favorite movie actually raised their endorphin levels by 27 percent.

If you can’t take the time for a vacation right now, or even a night out with friends, put something on the calendar—even if it’s a month or a year down the road. Then whenever you need a boost of happiness, remind yourself about it.

9. Meditate – rewire your brain for happiness

Meditation is often touted as an important habit for improving focus, clarity and attention span, as well as helping to keep you calm. It turns out it’s also useful for improving your happiness:

In one study, a research team from Massachusetts General Hospital looked at the brain scans of 16 people before and after they participated in an eight-week course in mindfulness meditation. The study, published in the January issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, concluded that after completing the course, parts of the participants’ brains associated with compassion and self-awareness grew, and parts associated with stress shrank.

Meditation literally clears your mind and calms you down, it’s been often proven to be the single most effective way to live a happier life. I believe that this graphic explains it the best:

Before and After Meditation

According to Shawn Achor, meditation can actually make you happier long-term:

Studies show that in the minutes right after meditating, we experience feelings of calm and contentment, as well as heightened awareness and empathy. And, research even shows that regular meditation can permanently rewire the brain to raise levels of happiness.

The fact that we can actually alter our brain structure through mediation is most surprising to me and somewhat reassuring that however we feel and think today isn’t permanent.

We’ve explored the topic of meditation and it’s effects on the brain in-depth before. It’s definitely mind-blowing what this can do to us.

10. Practice gratitude – increase both happiness and life satisfaction

This is a seemingly simple strategy, but I’ve personally found it to make a huge difference to my outlook. There are lots of ways to practice gratitude, from keeping a journal of things you’re grateful for, sharing three good things that happen each day with a friend or your partner, and going out of your way to show gratitude when others help you.

In an experiment where some participants took note of things they were grateful for each day, their moods were improved just from this simple practice:

The gratitude-outlook groups exhibited heightened well-being across several, though not all, of the outcome measures across the 3 studies, relative to the comparison groups. The effect on positive affect appeared to be the most robust finding. Results suggest that a conscious focus on blessings may have emotional and interpersonal benefits.

The Journal of Happiness studies published a study that used letters of gratitude to test how being grateful can affect our levels of happiness:

Participants included 219 men and women who wrote three letters of gratitude over a 3 week period.

Results indicated that writing letters of gratitude increased participants’ happiness and life satisfaction, while decreasing depressive symptoms.

Quick last fact: Getting older will make yourself happier

As a final point, it’s interesting to note that as we get older, particularly past middle age, we tend togrow happier naturally. There’s still some debate over why this happens, but scientists have got a few ideas:

Researchers, including the authors, have found that older people shown pictures of faces or situations tend to focus on and remember the happier ones more and the negative ones less.

Other studies have discovered that as people age, they seek out situations that will lift their moods — for instance, pruning social circles of friends or acquaintances who might bring them down. Still other work finds that older adults learn to let go of loss and disappointment over un-achieved goals, and hew their goals toward greater wellbeing.

So if you thought being old would make you miserable, rest assured that it’s likely you’ll develop a more positive outlook than you probably have now.

Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Source

http://blog.bufferapp.com/10-scientifically-proven-ways-to-make-yourself-happier

http://www.social-consciousness.com/2013/10/ten-simple-things-you-can-do-today-that-will-make-you-happier-backed-by-science.html

Help Support Collective Evolution

The demand for Collective Evolution's content is bigger than ever, except ad agencies and social media keep cutting our revenues. This is making it hard for us to continue.

In order to stay truly independent, we need your help. We are not going to put up paywalls on this website, as we want to get our info out far and wide. For as little as $3 a month, you can help keep CE alive!

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Consciousness

Gillette’s New Ad On “Toxic Masculinity” Is Incredible – And Necessary, But…

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A new commercial from Gillette tackles the issue of 'toxic masculinity.' The commercial asks us questions about male culture and challenges us to step up and change what we're doing. But did they tackle this well?

  • Reflect On:

    What else can we take from the commentary of this commercial? Where else can we find these same behaviours in our society? Further, what is the purpose of the extreme, identity-based politics we see today? Is it causing more harm than good?

In an age of extremes, the nuance of this article is going to be what helps us understand what we are truly seeing in terms of the challenges we face and how we can solve them without generating a strong opinion on these issues. I encourage you all to carefully read this article as if we want to help move away from things like “toxic masculinity,” “toxic femininity,” racism and so forth, but we must do so wisely by truly understanding the depth of what is being said.

Before I continue on, I want to say that in many cases, when talking about issues regarding men, women, or any particular race as politics and media often do today, we must remember that what is talked about does not represent the whole of any group. In fact, in many cases, it only represents a very small percentage of the group being discussed.

As a result of aspects of our consciousness, which we will discuss further in this article, there is no shortage of extremism in society right now when it comes to the discussion of gender. The #MeToo movement helped the greater population recognize that sexism is a huge problem within prominent industries, like music and film, where women are being harassed or abused sexually by men. This then extended to a greater discussion about sexual abuse in society in general, which I feel anyone can agree is an important topic to bring awareness to. In fact, I don’t know if I have ever come across anyone who actually opposes putting a stop to something like this, yet due to extreme positions, many are being wrongfully accused of such opposition. This is where we need to have a deeper discussion.

By now we know it happens, we don’t need another article exposing it, we need one talking about solutions, so that is what I’m going to focus on.

We exist in very polarized states of consciousness, and because we are a society who has not put a large focus on emotional intelligence, many issues that come to the forefront go through a long period of extremism before/if we become grounded again in order to truly understand what’s going on.

Of course, what I am talking about doesn’t relate only to what occurred after the #MeToo movement began, but with anything, including people’s views on government conspiracies, race, politics and other societal issues. In short, we attempt to apply blanket statements to issues instead of viewing things on a case by case basis or through the properly grounded facts that we do have about an issue.

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As Stefan Molyneux puts it,

“The general leftist approach is that all disparities in group outcomes are the result of prejudice, of racism, of sexism, of colonialism, of exploitation of generally bad white male behaviour.”

Ultimately he goes on to say that if you choose not to look at the larger reasons as to why certain things are happening in our world, you will always be stuck blaming racism, sexism, the patriarchy, men, women, or any particular race. We must preface our discussion with this gnosis before discussing what’s next because it is only in the grounded understandings of our world that we actually can tell where we are at.

 Gillette Aims To Help Raise Awareness About “Toxic Masculinity”

I’ve put the terms toxic masculinity and toxic femininity in quotations both times thus far because many people have very different ideas of what those things look like and mean. In fact, some people don’t even think “toxic masculinity” exists, similar to the way they feel only white people are capable of being racist.

For the purposes of this article, I refer to the term toxic masculinity as partaking in a destructive form of male culture that does not operate on the basis of respect, equality and self-responsibility, and that will often exude overly strong behaviours of sexualizing women and competing with others to maintain egoic power. In short, much of what we have seen as male culture through pop culture, movies, music, and so forth can tinker on promoting this form of masculinity. It’s seen in situations where a female is marginalized down to simply being a sex object or situations where male dominance is valued and strived for.

Let’s have a look at this Gillette ad before we continue the conversation.

As Gillette accurately illustrates in its new ad, justifying certain behaviours that are not self-responsible and that do not create a harmonious world with statements like “boys will be boys,” is not something we can continue to do if we want to create a better world. Furthermore, leading by example and being able to speak up about behaviours you observe in others is important. It’s important not to do so in a condescending and judgemental tone, but rather by using a compassionate tone instead that truly questions the behaviour and allows you to empathize with how the other may feel in a situation. Further to that, we must recognize what this ad fails to point out, these behaviours don’t and haven’t come from all males, likely not even the majority.

As Gillette brand director Pankaj Bhalla told the Wall Street Journal,

“This is an important conversation happening, and as a company that encourages men to be their best, we feel compelled to both address it and take action of our own, … “We are taking a realistic look at what’s happening today, and aiming to inspire change by acknowledging that the old saying ‘boys will be boys’ is not an excuse. We want to hold ourselves to a higher standard, and hope all the men we serve will come along on that journey to find our ‘best’ together.”

I have been in a number of situations where I’m in an all-male setting and one or two males are talking disrespectfully about females and I will observe other males join in simply so they feel included in the conversation or so that the other men don’t judge them. I personally know the men who joined in on the conversation don’t actually agree with the others, but do so because they feel they have to. Or better put, they do not know themselves or are comfortable enough with themselves to take the potential backlash that can sometimes come from not joining in.

This is why I say the way through these challenges is not by creating an enemy, judging their behaviour, and casting them out like many are doing, but instead by helping people question what they are doing and encouraging a culture of self-responsibility, empathy, and a deeper relationship with self. These sorts of conversations can be openly had, but it’s challenging because of our societal norms. Instead, our culture is often either that of the ‘toxic masculinity’ in question or that of extreme judgement towards unfavorable behaviours. Both are extremes, and neither help change the individual in a deep manner.

To be clear, any gender, any race and any person from a socio-economic class can take part in the disconnected behaviours mentioned above. It is not just men.

This is also where the nuance comes in. It’s important to recognize that not all men represent characteristics of “toxic masculinity.” Male pop culture might, and male pop culture does affect a certain subset of people, but it is not representative of the whole. This leads to my one small issue with the Gillette commercial. It, like many people today seem to be doing, is throwing the baby out with the bath water, i.e. not paying attention to nuance. In the case of #MeToo and this commercial, this behaviour does not apply to all men, perhaps not even to most men. We must remember that societal issues don’t apply to everyone within any particular subset of people, yet that is what people often focus on. This is also why so many enemies are being created. It’s like how some will view all Muslims as terrorists, for example.

Let’s recall the quote from Stefan Molyneux above, “The general leftist approach is that all disparities in group outcomes are the result of prejudice, of racism, of sexism, of colonialism, of exploitation of generally bad white male behaviour.” He is absolutely right in pointing out that the reasons for these things are not as simple as people want them to be, and thus we run in circles of extremes. I bring this point up not to turn the focus away from men, but because I actually care about seeing our culture change. I’ve spent enough time coming to understand that people have become outright extreme and misinformed about issues because we are too focused on an enemy and choosing sides. Thus, we have no clue where we actually stand. This is about changing how we live and operate as humans, not just of any particular race or gender.

If there are feelings of wanting to say or utilize some of the classic deflections of today including “easy for you to say from a white male privileged standpoint,” please save it. Let’s have the courage to have mature, grounded conversations, ones that can help us solve the challenges we face together.

If Not Careful, Our Unchecked Behaviour Divides Us

Like with any movement that begins, it often starts on a positive and helpful note. In this case, bringing awareness to sexual abuse of women is important to address. But the movement has come under fire to some extent as it appears to be going too far. The reasons for this include sweeping judgments, assumptions, and a lack of understanding of things that are said or what’s happening.

This has caused great divides amongst people whereby gender happens to be the card played when any issue is brought forth, even when gender truly has nothing to do with it. We are similarly seeing this with race.

This has given rise to grounded voices like Candace Owens, Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro, and Cassie Jaye, to name a few, who are discussing gender inequality in a way that is helping us to diagnose the problem more clearly and ultimately understand how to move forward. This is, of course, in contrast to the extremism out there where you begin to see women hating men or men hating women simply because we are always attempting to blame people for problems.

Cassie Jaye talks a lot about humanizing your ‘enemy.’ In her case, her enemy was males. As she discusses in her TEDx talk, when she released her movie The Red Pill, she received a great deal of backlash from feminists as her film explored The Men’s Right’s movement from her perspective as a feminist. As you might imagine, in her film, Cassie decided to go and speak to people directly. She learned about the people she was fighting against, and in some cases hated, only to realize that in most cases the issues and people involved were not quite who she thought they were.

She goes onto discuss that the greatest issue and challenge she faced was “having to peel back the layers of her own bias.” She goes deeper saying “it turned out I did meet my enemy while filming. It was my ego saying that I was right, and they were subhuman.”

Near the close of her talk she states “It’s no secret now that I no longer call myself a feminist, but I must clarify, I am not anti-feminist, and I am not a men’s rights activist. I still support women’s rights, and I now care about men’s rights as well. However, I believe if we want to honestly discuss gender equality, we need to invite all voices to the table. Yet this is not what is happening. Men’s groups are continually vilified, falsely referred to as hate groups and their voices are systematically silenced.”

The point here is not to pit men’s groups against women’s groups and see who is right, the point is that we have to stop creating sides and enemies. We instead must create a culture where we truly see one another beyond the physical realm. We also must see that in our own ways, we experience challenges from a system that truly does not support our growth.

When her film was released, the media entered into the popular groupthink of our modern times when it comes to gender politics, causing her to become one of the most hated filmmakers at the time. All she did in her film was explore the truth, beyond the fight of side vs side. She instead chose to see things for that they truly are, and this led to what I like to call an upheaval of emotions in viewers that struggle with neutral viewpoints, and instead are addicted to the fight and having an enemy.

This is where I believe many of us exist today. We live in a world where we’re encouraged to choose a side, accept limiting beliefs about what is going on, and ultimately become addicted to the drama of having an enemy to fight… even when they are not doing what you think they are doing.

The Takeaway

What benefit truly comes from identifying as a certain form of activist? I’m not talking about simply saying “I’m an environmentalist” so people understand you care about the environment, I’m talking about when we identify so deeply as an environmentalist that we now filter everything we hear and learn through that lens, thus blocking us from not only hearing the truth but understanding where we stand as a collective. What benefit does that serve other than to show us what disconnection looks like?

I feel it’s time we pay attention to the nuance, the facts and the feelings within our hearts and stop working so hard to find or even create an enemy.

Help Support Collective Evolution

The demand for Collective Evolution's content is bigger than ever, except ad agencies and social media keep cutting our revenues. This is making it hard for us to continue.

In order to stay truly independent, we need your help. We are not going to put up paywalls on this website, as we want to get our info out far and wide. For as little as $3 a month, you can help keep CE alive!

SUPPORT CE HERE!

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Consciousness

The Most Powerful Testimony I’ve Ever Heard: My Interview With Anneke Lucas

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    My interview with Anneke Lucas, which CE will be launching for free to the public starting January 17th, only came about through a willingness to follow synchronicities and trust the path they lead me on.

  • Reflect On:

    Are we paying attention to synchronicities and trusting our intuition enough to act on them, no matter how unusual or impractical they may seem?

I believe that life brings synchronicities to those who are open to them. Well, I suppose life brings synchronicities to everybody, but it is those of us who accept that the universe has a more comprehensive vision of our life mission than we do that are more likely to take advantage of them. It is not so much that we have to be on the lookout for every sign and symbol that flashes past us; it’s more about noticing the things that resonate most with us, calling us to pay attention and perhaps even take action.

It was only four months after starting to work for CE that I got an email with the heading ‘Change from within’ from a woman named Anneke Lucas, where she said the following:

I’m writing to thank you for your articles about the nature of power, pedophilia and Satanic practices. As a survivor, it is refreshing to find someone writing about these issues with such clarity, with both awareness of the problem and the dawning awakening of humanity to this darkness.

A friend of hers had forwarded her my James Gunn article and she went on to read other articles including my Lucifer series. The first thing that gave me that tingling feeling about the timing of this email was the fact that I had become aware of Anneke Lucas’ story at the office a week earlier when someone had sent me a link to one of her videos. In fact, I even wrote about this synchronicity in my reply to her.

In her initial email she briefly introduced herself as someone who had gone through Satanic ritual and sexual abuse, and directed me to some of the videos she had done, including a TedX talk she had given. She ended by saying ‘I would like to keep communication open, perhaps further explore synergies.’ It was this elegant invitation that resonated most with me, and as I researched who she was and what she had been through, I was not only awed by the unthinkable amount of trauma she had endured in her childhood, but deeply impressed with her clear-minded analyses into the nature of her perpetrators and their own trauma-based motives.

From reading her writings, like this Elephant Journal article, I gained some insight into how perpetrators of pedophilia are desperately seeking the feeling of their own lost childhood innocence. They project their own trauma onto an innocent child to gain power and momentarily escape their own feelings of shame and lack:

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Power addicts are attached to positive projections. Admirers, followers, lovers, fans and in the case of pedophiles, the child victims, are parental substitutes, unwittingly providing the necessary fuel for this addiction.

By being thought of as powerful, different, special, more attractive, bigger or better, power addicts adopt those projections and use them as nurturing substance, feeding the damaged infant inside, which can be experienced as emptiness or a sort of black hole if the person has no connection to that inner part.

The power game lies in keeping one’s own negative thoughts secret while warding off negative projections and using positive ones to maximum advantage, so obtaining the feeling of innocence through calculating and exploitative means.

Exploring Synergies

Register to watch our exclusive 4-part interview series with Anneke.

Through my own life experiences, I have come to believe that no trauma is beyond healing. One of the reasons I began to delve into pedophilia and Satanic practices since I started writing for CE was because I felt that I could bring some nuance to the discussion that transcends the rage and disgust that many tend to react with. Seeing Anneke’s words, I felt that in some ways she was a kindred soul, but at the same time she endured and overcame exponentially more suffering and abuse than I could have ever imagined. I felt that she had a profound and meaningful story to tell, one that could be of benefit to all people in their journey toward healing. I felt it would be a great privilege to help her tell her story.

I asked her if there are any of her videos or writings that she wanted me to analyze and write about, or if she would be interested in an interview via Skype. I even asked her where she lived (Brooklyn, NY, as it turns out) in the unlikely event that I could arrange a live interview with her. It was unlikely indeed, since I had not been with CE very long and had never done an interview for them (or ever, to be frank). Not only that, but we were going through a budget crunch at CE, as everyone had to have their hours (and pay) reduced to part-time. I thought there was no way I could ask to expense flights for both myself and our cameraman James to fly to Brooklyn to conduct a live interview. So I didn’t ask.

Ideas about how to get something done remotely occupied my brain over the next few days, which lead to various discussions at the office and some back-and-forth emails with Anneke. Then one morning it just hit me. This was too important an interview not to do live, and this was too great an experience for me not to take the opportunity to meet Anneke in person and have a conversation. I decided that I would find the cheapest flights, ask CE’s Founder Joe for a small budget to cover some of the expenses, and pay for the rest myself if I had to. Joe was cool with the idea, James was up for a road trip, and everything fell into place, including James knowing a friend in Brooklyn that we could stay with for the night. I feel very grateful that I chose to follow the synchronicity of Anneke’s initial email invitation.

The Interview

The road trip was filled with synchronistic numbers and fortuitous events. We were in New York and we arrived at James’ friend’s place at 9:11 pm. The next morning, our GPS had us arriving at Anneke’s place at 9:11 am. Our flight down was smooth as silk, and when we flew back we transferred to an earlier flight and were upgraded to first class.

The interview itself went exceptionally well. We were warmly greeted by our gracious host and the entire interview was conducted in a space of trust and comfort. And that comfort grew quickly as the interview went along, as Anneke mentioned that she was happy to be not just with one but two people who ‘get it’ and were able to hear her story with equanimity. We initially thought we would be restricted to shoot from 8 am to 2 pm, but Anneke had made arrangements to allow us to continue filming for as long as we were able to.

Anneke’s daughter came home from school in the afternoon (surprisingly, since she had been asked by Anneke to stay with a friend until the interview was over), but she defiantly said she didn’t want to and that she was going to her room instead, but that she would put headphones on and would not disturb us. At that point I felt comfortable enough to tease Anneke and say that it was ‘too bad she turned out just like you!’ We all had a good laugh and were able to resume working into the evening, which allowed us to get the whole story in over 4 hours of video content, virtually all of which was usable for the 4-part video series.

Anneke’s story is filled with revelations of the nefarious activities perpetrated by the royals and elites of Belgian society, but more importantly Anneke goes deep into the healing journey she went through after suffering so much trauma. This testimony not only gives incredible insights into how each one of us can face our darkness as individuals, but also provides a roadmap to the healing of our planet from the state of collective trauma and dysfunction we currently live in. Some of the details were captured in another article we published a few days ago entitled ‘Survivor Of Elite Child Sex Slavery Discloses Her Incredible Escape & Her Healing Journey.’

The Takeaway

As we have discussed many times in our articles at CE, an essential aspect of our personal awakening is to look into the darkness of our unhealed emotions. Similarly, at the collective level, our healing will not come to pass if we are not willing to bear witness to the most profane examples of human activity. This is not to say we need to remain fixated in either fear or indignation or even fascination towards these heinous acts; but we need to acknowledge them and, as a collective, take ownership of them so that we have the power to move forward.

This four-part interview with Anneke Lucas reflects just this. We first come to grips with her harrowing story of subjugation and the miracle of her escape; then, we come to marvel at the breadth of her healing journey and discuss its implications for us as a collective.

I invite everyone to sign up for the official launch of this free four-part video series starting on January 17th, and would be surprised if you did not agree that this was the most powerful testimony you’ve ever heard.

Help Support Collective Evolution

The demand for Collective Evolution's content is bigger than ever, except ad agencies and social media keep cutting our revenues. This is making it hard for us to continue.

In order to stay truly independent, we need your help. We are not going to put up paywalls on this website, as we want to get our info out far and wide. For as little as $3 a month, you can help keep CE alive!

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Consciousness

Scientist Demonstrates Fascinating Evidence of Precognitive Dreaming

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Dr. Stanley Krippner explains one of his most interesting science experiments regarding precognitive dreaming. Dreams and predicting the future, in many controlled cases, have gone hand in hand.

  • Reflect On:

    What can our dreams tell us about the future? Are they picking up on potential timelines? How can we use them to better our lives? Perhaps different dreams have different meanings? Perhaps we can learn to use our dreams for our benefit?

The world of dreams is a mystery to all. We dream every night when we go to sleep, though sometimes we remember our dreams and sometimes we do not. It can be a lot of fun to relay your dreams to friends and coworkers the next day, but often their significance is only perceptible to yourself and you end up boring your audience with a long, drawn-out recall of the previous night’s adventures.

Have you ever woken up from a dream so real that you were overcome with whatever emotion had been triggered in the dream, such as sadness, anger, bliss, or excitement? How about waking up with a huge sigh of relief that it was only a dream? Dreams can seem so real to our minds that our bodies actually respond as if they were.

Despite all our years of studying and trying to interpret dreams, the age-old question remains, what is the significance of dreams and do they actually mean anything in relation to waking life? Many people dismiss dreams as random thoughts formulated from the subconscious mind, but what about the concept of precognitive dreams — dreams about events or experiences that haven’t yet occurred, but end up taking place at a later point in reality? The very notion goes against what we know to be true of time and relativity; if time is linear, then precognitive dreams simply cannot be possible.

Is It Possible To Accurately Dream About The Future?

Dr. Stanley Krippner, Professor of Psychology at Saybrook University, has devoted his life to the research and experimentation of parapsychology, precognitive dreaming, and shamanism for the past forty years. He claims that this phenomenon of precognitive dreaming is not only possible, but his research can back it up. In an interview with Geraldine Cremine of Vice Motherboard, Krippner explained one of his most significant laboratory studies on precognitive dreaming:

Each night, the subject dreamer would go through an ordinary night of dreaming, with an intent to dream about an experience he would have the following morning. The dreamer was woken 4-5 times throughout the night to relay his dreams to an experimenter. The following mornings, experimenters randomly selected an experience from a number of prearranged options, and the dreamer was subjected to that experience. Dr. Krippner said there was no way for the participants to know what experience they would encounter before it was selected and administered.

The following is a specific example of a dreamer who, one night, had several dreams about birds in various different settings and circumstances. The following morning, the dreamer was exposed to one of the experiences selected at random. “The experience was to have him sit with earphones on,” Dr. Krippner said. “And what was played? Bird calls. He was also played a video. And what was played? Pictures of birds.” After the experiment, which lasted 8 days, was over, outside judges who were not a part of the original experiment were called in to determine the dreams of the dreamers versus the experiences they were subjected to upon waking. For each participant, the judges were able to find at least one match between a dream and the random experience on most nights of the experiment.

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Even if we were to accept — at least for argument’s sake — that this phenomenon of precognitive dreaming is possible, we are still left wanting an explanation. And unfortunately, we simply don’t have one yet.

What we do know is that the unconscious mind is capable of having deep revelations during the rapid eve movement (REM) state of sleep, aka: the dream state. One example of such a revelation occurred in 1865, when chemist Frederich August Kekulé was struggling to understand how atoms in the benzene molecule were arranged. After wrestling with the problem for some time, he fell asleep and dreamt about a snake biting its own tail. Through this image, he conceived the benzene ring, revolutionizing organic chemistry in the process. But people come to much more mundane understandings during sleep all the time, as I’m sure you yourself have on one or more occasions, perhaps explaining where the phrase, I’ll sleep on it comes from.

Could Quantum Physics Be The Answer?

Quantum physics offers one theory for precognitive dreams, suggesting that during the uninhibited state of REM, the brain may be capable of identifying some kind of a signal that we aren’t aware of in our conscious state. These signals could assist with awareness of the future. This idea links to theories of quantum entanglement and the idea that two separate particles or points in time can interact as if connected to one another despite being spatially separated.

Dr. Krippner himself elaborated on how quantum physics could potentially explain  precognitive dreaming. “Quantum events happen on a different time scale to what most people live and experience in the West,” he explained. “We have this understanding of time that is: ‘past, present, future.’ But quantum physics gives you a different concept of time.” He says that these same concepts are found throughout the many indigenous cultures he studied during his research into precognitive dreaming and shamanism:

Many indigenous people see time going in a circle; it goes around and around and it’s a spiral. “Then you also have the indigenous North American point of view that people lived in a ‘long body’; they do not end where their skin ends. A person’s long body projects and involves other people and other parts of nature, so everything is happening all at once. For them it’s no surprise that you can dream about the future.

Precognitive & Lucid Dreams

Precognitive dreams are fairly common phenomena and many people have reported experiencing them, including some famous people throughout history, like Abraham Lincoln and Mark Twain. While researching this topic I also came across some interesting information on lucid precognitive dreams – the notion that you could actually intend to see into the future by being conscious in your dream and asking questions such as: What are Saturday’s winning lottery numbers?; What will be the best performing stock tomorrow? and so on… Trying this out for yourself could help prove that it works, and would be a fun experiment at the very least.

The Takeaway

Dreams are a mystical experience to all who have them, and I think it’s safe to say that few people aren’t at least curious about their nightly adventures. Have you had any dreams you would consider precognitive? Ultimately, dreams can be a great tool for reflection and contemplation regarding our own life. It’s interesting to interpret them, and perhaps no one can really do that but ourselves, because no one else can really feel what it feels like to have your dream. It’s interesting because we don’t really pay attention to them, and are not really taught to do so and thus we usually brush them off as ‘not real.’ Perhaps there are some deeper meanings here that we’re missing?

Help Support Collective Evolution

The demand for Collective Evolution's content is bigger than ever, except ad agencies and social media keep cutting our revenues. This is making it hard for us to continue.

In order to stay truly independent, we need your help. We are not going to put up paywalls on this website, as we want to get our info out far and wide. For as little as $3 a month, you can help keep CE alive!

SUPPORT CE HERE!

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