Neuroscience Around the Web – Issue 15

Here are some interesting articles I found on the web recently:
Why do we like being home so much?

It's because of the dopamine surge we get when coming home. Dopamine is known as the "feel good" or "reward" neurotransmitter which is responsible for that feeling of pleasure as we get home.

How to keep calm during difficult times

Two ways to calm down your nervous system: Adopt a wide or panoramic vision and slow down your breath. Vision and breath are "the fastest and and most obvious ways to control autonomic arousal." 

Narrow vision activates the stress response whereas panoramic vision turns off the stress response. And when you breathe slowly, you're slowing down your heart rate.

Here's why our memory is suffering

One reason is that we're spending more time at home. "When people’s lives become more confined and repetitive, their use of the hippocampus decreases." The hippocampus is important for forming long term memories. What to do? Move, go for a walk along unfamiliar streets, make sure your weekdays and weekends are different enough.

Nearby nature may reduce stress

Just using nearby green spaces or having green window views can improve self esteem and happiness, and reduce depression and loneliness.

Mindfulness may not help you deal with stress better

When measured physiologically, mindfulness doesn't help us cope with stress better in the moment. Using cardiovascular measures such as the amount of blood pumped by the heart and the flexibility of arteries, more mindful participants were not less reactive to stress. However, mindfulness may help us feel better after the fact.

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