Fight or Flight: Wake Up!

By: Nicki Monti Fight or Flight. In November of 2008, a magnetic forty-six year old black man named Barack Obama was elected President of these United States. Preceding that event, in September another forty-six year old man – a brilliant author named David Foster Wallace (author of “Infinite Jest” among others), hanged himself. Two men, arriving at the same chronological juncture, taking different roads. It’s a wake up call. Turns out, life is full of these wake ups. They come in whispers, like when your mother asks you to realize she’s not got that many holiday’s left (true or not, she’s calling attention to her fear), and they come in shouts, like when you find out with a rush something you’ve accomplished has hugely impacted others. Constantly we are tasked to discover our place in the world. Often, this raises levels of anxiety while requiring a renegotiation of usual ways and means. coque iphone 7 Life begins to be lived on a razor’s edge. coque iphone 6 It can be fun. It can be frightening. It’s easy to turn our backs on it all. After all, there’s thrilling daily distraction…trivia that makes sure we avoid the more profound picture. But like it or not, the tried and true universal questions pursue us. Everyday, in every way life asks: Will you step up the Obama way, or step out the Wallace way? Expansion or collapse — that is the question? Can you give what you are most certain you can not possibly offer? Will you dig down into the shielded Heart place you seldom visit to find resolve and generosity? How can you proffer Love where most often you proclaim Disdain? Don’t mistake me. I’m in no way saying Wallace made a “wrong” choice. Not living inside him how would I know? Still, everyday watching people struggle with issues of personal meaning I recognize one predominant over-riding defeating thrust: Fallen into carelessness we imagine being able to craft outcome. This is a mistake. Focus needs to be on this moment, for we can never know how it’s to turn out. coque iphone 6 Our business is today not tomorrow. Take care of today and tomorrow will take care of itself. So, who are you when your back is turned? What sustains you in the challenging dark can’t-do-it hours? How can you manifest your best Self? If we don’t know who and how we are – really know – we are doomed to continue as we have, imagining some outside something is going to fix whatever feels broken in our lives. This leaves us skating on thin ice. coque iphone The answer: Stop thinking about what others have done or are doing to you, and focus on how you are being in the world. Because in the final analysis the inch by inch choices we make, the feelings and thoughts we follow, determines our course. coque iphone 2019 We don’t know yet how history will report President Obama. We do know we shall never read a new Wallace novel. Gains and losses. Losses and gains. Such are all our lives, little and great. Meanwhile your actions and thoughts actually count. Maybe not so obviously in this instant – maybe not until you’re forty-six or even older – but count they do. Practicing the Art of Life is the point. Which road in the yellow woods you take, as the man says, does make all the difference. Summary: Our lives are filled with choices. Most of those choices are actually of little importance. Often however we jam our time and consciousness with worry over those tiny choice moments when what needs instead to happen is focus on the true and sustaining meaning of life itself and our place and purpose in it.

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

By: Dr. Nicki Monti

An Excerpt from: Our Love Matters: Find it, Fix it, or Let it Go! (P. 347) “It’s complicated—this finding love business, and really not complicated at all. Mostly, the difficulty comes from our refusal to look history in the eye, to embrace authentic, vulnerable behavior, and to remember faith. When I was a little girl, I thought love meant getting attention. When I grew into shape, I thought love meant being desired. When I grew into a relationship, I thought love meant being needed. When I became a teacher, I thought love meant being helpful. When I become silent, I think love is Divine inspiration. coque iphone xr I don’t know. Not really. For a thoughtful person, lack of definition promises both freedom and fear. coque iphone pas cher We want containers for our liquid offerings. We require parameters to frame our dialogues and delineate our territories. But more important than any definition is to recognize the ways we have lost track of ourselves: how we’ve turned away from the Heart of the matter; how we’ve fallen prey to our baser fears, foibles, and follies. In this, then, we’ve lost touch with our Divinity.”

I’ve been studying love all my life. Or more precisely – I’ve been mostly circling the drain on love lack, both perceived and actual. And there’s the rub with love, as with most things, when it comes down to it, even that which appears “actual” begins with perception. This is good news and bad news because it means only you can decide what love means in your life – be it love of another, love of self, or love of Spirit. And one thing I can guarantee: your ideas on the whole love business will ebb, shift and even transmorph depending on your age, stage and experience. coque iphone 2019 pas cher Let me repeat: to a great degree whether we know love or not, depends on how we see it. Annoying. It means we can’t all come to some unalterable agreement on what love looks, feels, tastes, or smells like. It means we each need to count on our own experiential conclusions and truths. Of course, trudging the road to this understanding is most often fraught. It requires slicing through disheartening pain and life-collaborating confusion. It necessitates for most of us, slogging through the toxic rain and over the unstable land-fills presenting as days and years. In my case it was only when I began to work with Dr. Brugh Joy in 1992, and simultaneously settled into my now long-time brilliant while confronting marriage, that the pennies began to drop. Finally at that point, after a zillion other versions of exploration, I started to truly glimpse the underbelly of the stunning beast called love. Now, Brugh tended to talk mostly about Love with a capital “L”, which eventually I came to understand as something called Trans-personal Love. Not the kind that kicks you in the where-did-it-go gut as you lay writhing on the floor; not the kind that kisses you on the lips promising to bandage early wounds; not the shiny romantic kind written about in film and story. No. Transpersonal Love has purity to it. An unconditional nature. coque iphone 7 A sincere ability to bring you to calm in the midst of chaos. Transpersonal Love is rooted in a Heart-Centered Radiance that can impact the world around you with a stunning healing capacity. Once connected with, it can tangibly pulse through us and outflow like a sweet, powerful radio wave, its vibrations changing the very world around us. Quite the revelation, this delicate and at the same time resilient energetic expression! Well, that sounds all very fine and good but how does that warm your bed, or hold your hand in the dense, dark moments? It doesn’t. Not really. Spiritual types will say it does. But the hungry secret is, from my perspective, it’s not enough. Not for every nook and cranny of our lives. Not for the daily what-do-I-do-now’s. Still, neither, I’m sad to say, is personal love enough. You know — the one we’re all running around grabbing for. The thing we pinch and scrape and read and yearn and cry for. The do-our-families-love-us…enough? Our friends? Our careers? The ones we bed? Does the Universe love us enough? Where’s the “proof”, we sadly wonder. Nope personal love is not enough to satisfy our deepest loving-life issues. Not enough for the bold moments that require facing the most terrifying decisions heart-on, nor for appreciating our lack of control over outcome, nor for a more profound connection with our deepest creative resources. Not enough even to help us face ourselves in the mirror with a clear eye! Turns out when we look for love from others, or even attempt with all our might to plug into Spiritual Love, we’re simply brushing the wrong side of the mule. The actual first focus wants to be: Do we love ourselves? Do we love the all of us? Too often, the sad answer is no. You see, self love, which we might define as the embrace and acceptance of all parts of us – good, bad and ugly – is quite the adventure. Few attempt it. Like climbing Everest. It requires assembling the right equipment, years of smaller mountain climbs in preparation, and most often, a team to assist. Still, this is where quality loving of all kinds begins. Now please understand that I’m in no way ignoring or denying the importance of Trans-personal love. Not at all. I’m only saying that the bottom line is: when it comes to a fully embraced appreciation of love in all its rainbow of colors and forms, what’s needed, in the best of all worlds, involves the interweaving of the two kinds of love here described – the personal and the trans-personal. Because self-love that doesn’t recognize there’s more than what meets the eye is simply small-minded and most often selfish; while Love that doesn’t embrace personal qualities and considerations is most often dry and lacking in true Humanity. Yes, I’d say, the human mess of us is an important part of the true love equation; equally important is an appreciation of what exists far beyond the personality we tend to insistently express. So what’s love got to do with it? What does it have to do with a truly abundant, joyful, fruitful, brilliantly functioning life? Everything. coque iphone 2019 Yep. In right-now ways and in for-all-eternity ways love is the point. coque iphone 8 May you find it now.

Listening to Your Nightly Dreams

Listening to the Language of Your Nightly Dreams By Cynthia Richmond Dreams are a universal language, people dream in every culture and they have since Adam and Eve or the first humans began populating the planet. They are a natural process; you don’t have to try to dream. coque iphone Some people have intentionally squelched remembering their dreams due to trauma. Others wish they could turn off recurring dreams of disturbing images. coque iphone outlet We will address both of those issues and many others in this monthly column. Each situation is understandable of course. However, if you think of dreams as direct communication with your Source, and you have tools to help manage the emotional discomfort, you may be more inclined to remember and work with them. What we know for sure is that everyone dreams every night, in fact every mammal dreams every sleep time, you know what I am talking about if you have a dog and have ever watched him sleep—you imagine him chasing a rabbit or jumping into your arms—there is indeed a reason and value for our dream life. I am often asked: “Why are dreams so difficult to understand? Why can’t they just show me the answer? Why do I have to figure out the meaning behind the symbols or dream actions? Why don’t my dreams just spell it out?” Many dream symbols are universal, what Carl Jung referred to as coming from the Collective Unconscious. coque iphone en ligne A mountain may represent a difficult challenge if it is in your path, however if you are on top of it, you have achieved your goal. Taking it personal a mountain could be recreation, as in repelling or skiing, or simply represent a beautiful view. What comes to your mind when you think of a mountain? You may now imagine why dreams are almost always symbolic. Every image may have a different association to every dreamer. coque iphone 8 That may be why it can be startling to wake up with the exact factual answer to your question or to remember saying the words you longed to hear from someone in your dreamscape. coque iphone xr But a small percentage of dreams are literal and require no interpretation. Additionally a percentage of dreams are precognitive, that is they predict a truth that becomes evident. During the 1960’s there were two dream bureaus, one in London, England and one in New York, USA each registered dreams from folks who tended to have dreams that came true. coque iphone xr In order for a dream to be deemed precognitive there had to be proof, such as a newspaper article or other factual information. A dreamer may have dreamed of a plane crash and have seen the N number, (registration) on the tail of the plane. soldes coque iphone 2019 They may have dreamt of an earthquake with damage in a specific location…or they could have dreamed of the unexpected death of a loved one. During those years it was determined that 12% of dreams do come true. So whether your dreams are guidance for your life in the present, inspiration for your future, an opportunity to connect with your dear departed loved ones or creative inspiration to enhance your life or improve your health, I hope you will join me here each month as we explore and seek to understand the mystical, beautiful language of our nightly dreams.

Your Nightmares – By Cynthia Richmond

By: Cynthia Richmond Nightmares or unsettling dreams are most often messages from our subconscious mind reflecting our health; either emotional, mental or physical. The subconscious mind knows the status of every cell in our bodies, and our dreams are a barometer of our health, if we pay attention! Before all of the scans, diagnostic tools and electronics we have today, in ancient times, nightly dreams were relied on for important health information. In ancient Babylon for example there were healing gardens, where the in-firmed would come for healing. The priest/healer would listen to the patient’s symptoms and prescribe an herbal drink to induce sleep and dreams. acheter coque iphone en ligne In the morning the healer would listen to the dreams and dictate the healing regime based on his interpretation. One interesting aspect of this time was that if the ill person could not travel, they could send a proxy! A person that knew and loved the in-firmed individual would fill-in and the priest would give them the herbal drink and listen to their dream for the patient! One of the reasons we dream is compensatory, bad dreams then can be sort of a safety valve…letting out steam so we can release stress and not carry it into our next day. This can lower blood pressure and has other medical benefits. Many people with cancer, for example, have a dream of something eating them up, or of bugs invading their home or car before they learn that their body has indeed been affected by cancer. In the language of dreams, the home and the vehicle are often symbolic for the physical body. We may ask our subconscious mind, what is in the best interest of our health at this time, before we go to sleep…and review the morning’s dream for clues. Often my clients get messages indicating that they should play more, revert to childhood joys, or be quiet instead of chaotic. coque iphone pas cher Many dreams suggest foods that the body is wanting for specific nutrients it would benefit from. soldes coque iphone 2019 Common nightmares for adults include being chased by an unrecognizable figure. This can indicate that an illness is taking over the cellular structure, but it can also be a psychological or emotional stress, such as a deadline from an unreasonable boss or an argument with a loved one. The point is that stress leads to physical illness and we need to pay attention to our dreams. coque iphone 6 There is a common phrase, be careful what you wish for. An ominous warning that we may not be aware of the consequences of what we want at a particular moment. Sometimes our nightmares remind us that we are out of control and in harms way. I once had a client who had a nightmare in which he was driving too fast on a curvy road and was out of control, he couldn’t reach the brake pedal, the seat became unattached from the floorboard, he barely survived in his dream and when he woke he immediately knew that his fast lane friends and his drug habit were getting the best of him and he sought help. Frequent health nightmares include tsunamis of water where only the dreamer seems to notice the danger. coque iphone soldes Water can represent emotion and in this dream it is overwhelming. coque iphone The dreamer is out of balance, consumed by something harmful, be it food, alcohol, drugs or a lifestyle choice that is threatening their health. Write down your dreams and nightmares and try to let yourself accept the dream imagery. Ask yourself what does this mean? Or what does my body want? Dreams can direct you to a better life, to releasing an unhealthy relationship, to leaving a crippling job, or to a literal message to see your doctor.

Mother Now As Ever – By: Nicki Monti

The other day we spoke of mother. soldes coque iphone Her dementia ward “team” on one end of the country, my husband and I on the other. Technologies invitation. I was left standing in a gentle pool of gratitude. At least she can’t burn down the building. At least she’s being watched over. At least it’s not me doing the watching. Mother hasn’t changed much really. Her mind is gone but her perspective remains the same. She’s belligerent, blaming, self-righteous and man-loving. What’s been added is that her inside mechanisms appear visible on the outside now. Like a sweater worn with the seams showing. Now her fear can be seen. Now her tears flow freely and her screams are out loud constant. And now at ninety two she has no job. She’s always worked. They asked about what interests she used to have so they could offer her activities. To make money, was all I could tell them. Money was her most constant, fervent lover. Who is she at this moment? Who are we, any of us, when all that we have known ourselves to be gets ripped from beneath us? As with many dementia folk she refuses to eat, getting thinner and thinner. Perhaps she will just finally fade from view. One morning they’ll go to her bed to find only a tiny sliver of nail or brush of emaciated hair or press of perspiration upon the sheets. One can hope. Probably that sounds disgusting to hear said. Truly though, it feels like watching a film about the horrors of the dammed. She tells you so herself all the time in her way — saying over and over she wants to die. What part of her refuses, that’s the mystery? And I’m afraid too. Afraid that will someday be me. Afraid that all my “good works” and consciousness efforts have been not sufficient to the task of over-riding my interior furious mother. Afraid that I will end badly. And alone. No one goes to see my mother. Who would? She pushed away all too long ago. coque iphone xs max Sure, there were some in the later years who gave her a pass crediting her vile ways as simply old age. Projection I’d call that. coque iphone 6 And wishful thinking. coque iphone 6 In case it happened to them. Maybe they’ll get a pass too. soldes coque iphone Besides that was within circumstance. At the bank, or liquor store or local market. No one needs to take heed now. Mostly though, after our chat with the caretakers who do the unthinkable day after day – those who stand in the flood of her vitriol encouraging her to eat one more bite, reminding her she’s indeed not married to the fellow down the hall, getting her into her wheelchair amidst her vicious complaints so she can sit in the day room with the other residents she hates and thinks are crazy as she is not — I’m left feeling a profound grief for her. There were other paths to take – other ways to greet her pattern. All along she chose a dark road. Today I am mostly reminded of my one only continuing job – to discover what I can and must offer back to Life in gratitude for what life has given to me. Most of me feels confident that in doing such, my ending also, as with mother — as with most — will describe my many-decades journey. Unless something else happens. Something unforeseen. What if when my sweater seams turn inside out they show frayed and moth eaten putrid rather than Holy as I’d prefer. Well, then, I suppose, I’ll simply have to hope to get a pass.

Your Plants May Need Therapy Too…

For years, it’s been said that ‘talking’ to your plants will help them flourish and grow. New groundbreaking scientific research suggests that may be true – plants can absorb energy forces that surround them, and can be affected positively or negatively by the same. If this is true for plants, wouldn’t humans share the same trait? Even dating back to the philosophies of Buddha, human and plant interconnectedness through energy has been spoken of in his words: “We are the same as plants, as trees, as other people, as the rain that falls. coque iphone pas cher We consist of that which is around us, we are the same as everything.” Lead by Dr. coque iphone Olaf Kruse, research biologists at Bielefeld University (Germany) discovered that outside of the normal photosynthesis that occurs, when necessary for survival, plants take the energies needed from a previously unheard of source – other plants. Plants thrive via photosynthesis: the process of mixing carbon dioxide, water and light. acheter coque iphone en ligne Dr. coque iphone Kruse and his team grew microscopic single-celled green algae, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, and discovered that when faced with a lack of energy to survive, these plants got their ‘charge’ by taking in the energy of other nearby plants. These plants have the necessary tools that enable them to sense and absorb this energy, converting it into fuel and allowing them to continue to grow. So, how does this relate to humans? Both humans and plants need light and water (energy) to flourish and grow. Our physical body is like a sponge that soaks up our environment. Our spiritual and metaphysical self is no different. In that sense, the energy we surround ourselves with is of extreme importance if we are to lead healthy, productive and peaceful lives. We need positive surroundings in order to maintain our desired state. Psychologist and energy healer Dr. Olivia Bader-Lee suggests the same, saying, “This is exactly why there are certain people who feel uncomfortable in specific group settings where there is a mix of energy and emotions.” Dr. Bader–Lee believes that the field of bioenergy is on the rise and the scientific community will keep generating such studies that can prove what metaphysicians have stated for years: humans have the power to heal (or harm) one another through energy transfers – just like plants. “The human organism is much like a plant, it draws needed energy to feed emotional states … When studies become more advanced in the coming years, we will eventually see this translated to human beings as well… “ says Bader-Lee. This would suggest that our energies can indeed be tapped by others if we don’t take the proper care to keep ourselves aware. coqueiphone The energetic fields that surround us can fluctuate in the presence of positive or negative environments. On this, Bader-Lee says: “Human can absorb and heal through other humans, animals, and any part of nature. That’s why being around nature is often uplifting and energizing for so many people.” Your own energies can be used for good but also depleted by certain people, places and situations. Take care to ensure your best possible self. Surround yourself with positive energy and uplifting spirits for a happy, productive life. By: Sara E.

Will the Real Introverts Please Stand Up?

By Scott Barry Kaufman (Original Article)

Quick Quiz: Which of the following are signs of introversion? Highly sensitive Deep Thinker Reflective Introspective Intelligent Negative emotions Socially Anxious Defensive Vulnerable Always prefers solitude over social interaction
Answer: Not a single one. Introversion is one of the most misunderstood dimensions of personality. Many people are not aware that the original definition of introversion, as posed by Carl Jung, is not how the term is used in modern personality psychology. Jung equated introversion with “inwardly directed psychic energy”. Even the modern Wikipedia page for Extraversion and Introversion defines introversion as “the state of or tendency toward being wholly or predominantly concerned with and interested in one’s own mental life.” But that’s not introversion. Common Misconceptions About Introversion While introversion has its roots in the idea of introspection, today introversion is simply defined as the opposite of extraversion. Extraversion is one of the “Big Five” dimensions of personality, the other four being neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness to experience. Whereas Jung based his definitions of extraversion and introversion on his own theory, experience, and intuition, modern psychology identifies personality dimensions empirically, based on what patterns of behavior tend to go together within individuals. Based on the latest science of personality, the most common misunderstanding of the extraversion-introversion dimension is that introverts are more introspective than extroverts. In reality, introverts are not necessarily introspective and highly introspective people aren’t necessarily introverted. It’s not that introverts think more deeply before they speak, it’s simply that they need more time to think before they speak. In fact, what many people ascribe to introversion really belongs in the openness to experience domain. Openness to experience represents a drive for cognitive engagement, and encompasses intellectual engagement, intellectual depth, ingenuity, reflection, introspection, imagination, emotional engagement, artistic engagement, and aesthetic interests. soldes coque iphone pas cher While openness to experience is associated with IQ, IQ is not associated with introversion. Traits such as sensitivity and social anxiety are also not part of the introversion-extraversion domain. To be sure, many people may think of themselves as introverted because they are highly sensitive. But research shows that sensory processing sensitivity is independent of introversion. The various manifestations of being a highly sensitive person– inhibition of behavior, sensitivity to environmental stimuli, depth of information processing, and physiological reactivity– are linked to neuroticism and openness to experience, not introversion. What’s more, there are lots of people who view themselves as “sensitive introverts”, when they are really covert narcissists. These individuals are characterized by their sense of entitlement to social attention. Accordingly, they are hurt easily by the slightest remark of others, are hyper self conscious and self absorbed, and are frequently upset that others don’t recognize their brilliance. coque iphone xr Covert narcissism is strongly associated with neuroticism, not introversion. Finally, there’s a common misconception that all introverts enjoy solitary activities. However, that isn’t a defining feature of introverts. Responses such as “Enjoy spending time by myself” and “Live in a world of my own” involve an equal blend of introversion and openness to experience. Contrary to popular conceptualizations of introversion, preferring to be alone is not the main indicator of introversion. coque iphone 7 All of this, of course, leads to the major question: What is the essence of introversion? To figure this out, we have to figure out the core of its opposite: extraversion. The Core of Extraversion Extraversion comprises many related traits, including being talkative, sociable, friendly, fun-loving, gregarious, assertive, active, persuasive, and excitement seeking. But what links all of these traits to each other? One possibility is that the core of extraversion is simply sociability. Maybe extroverts are more social: plain and simple. However, the research doesn’t support this conclusion. coque iphone While it is well known that extraverts experience more positive emotions than introverts, extraverts tend to experience more positive emotions all throughout the day, regardless of whether the activity is social or solitary. This doesn’t mean that introverts experience more negative emotions during daily life (that’s neuroticism). They are just lower in positive emotions. In fact, some researchers have suggested that “detachment” is a more accurate description of low extraversion than “introversion” [1]. Another possibility– which has received more support– is that the core of extraversion is sensitivity to rewards in the environment. Reward sensitivity refers to the tendency to experience “an incentive motivational state that facilities and guides approach behavior to a goal.” As Colin DeYoung points out in an upcoming paper: “People who score low in Extraversion are not necessarily turned inward; rather, they are less engaged, motivated, and energized by the possibilities for reward that surround them. Hence, they talk less, are less driven, and experience less enthusiasm. They may also find levels of stimulation that are rewarding and energizing for someone high in Extraversion merely annoying or tiring (or even overwhelming, depending on their level of Neuroticism). Their reserved demeanor is not likely to indicate an intense engagement with the world of imagination and ideas, however, unless they are also high in Openness/Intellect.” Multiple studies are consistent with the reward sensitivity account of extraversion. In one set of studies conducted cross-culturally, Richard Lucas and colleagues administered traditional measures of extraversion, all of which involve reward. For example: I enjoy talking to strangers I prefer to be with people who are exciting rather than quiet I like doing exciting things with people more than just talking quietly They also administered a newly developed test that measured a preference for social over solitary activities. Crucially, they removed the reward value of the items. For example: I always prefer being with others to spending time alone I rarely spend time alone I rarely go out of my way to find time for myself Across four studies they found that the traditional measures of extraversion (that involved reward values) were all correlated with each other, and with positive emotions. But critically, their new scale (which removed rewards from the items) was not correlated with extraversion, or positive emotions. These results suggest that a mere preference for social interaction, independent of the reward/enjoyment of the interaction, is not the core of extraversion. In a followup study, Richard Lucas and Ed Diener found that extraversion was related to the tendency to enjoy pleasant situations (social and nonsocial) but was unrelated to reactions to unpleasant situations (social and nonsocial). Therefore, it seems to be specifically the reward value of a situation, not the social nature of the situation, that predicts whether extraverts enjoy the situation more than introverts [2]. Consistent with this, several fMRI and EEG studies have shown that brain activity in response to a variety of rewards (favorite brands, humor, happy faces, monetary rewards and pleasant emotional stimuli) are associated with extraversion. Not all behaviors are equally related to extraversion, however. The desire for positive social attention seems to be a particularly strong indicator of extraversion [3]. For example, Jacob Hirsh and colleagues found that taking into account the rest of the Big Five personality traits (agreeableness, neuroticism, conscientiousness, and openness to experience), the following 10 behaviors were most uniquely predictive of extraversion (from a list of 400 activities): 1. Told a dirty joke. 2. Planned a party. 3. Entertained six or more people. 4. Told a joke. 5. Volunteered for a club or organization. 6. Tried to get a tan. 7. Attended a city council meeting. 8. Colored my hair. 9. Went to a night club. 10. Drank in a bar. Why might the drive for social attention be so strongly linked to extraversion? One possibility is that many human rewards are social in nature. Our complex social lives are probably the dominant force in human evolution, driving the evolution of intelligence, creativity, language, and even consciousness. The human reward system, therefore, most likely evolved to be particularly responsive to social rewards. Indeed, one of the most important gateways to rewards (e.g., money, power, friends, alliances, mates, exploration of the environment) is the ability to capture the attention of other people. Along these lines, some researchers have suggested that extraversion represents a high-intensity strategy for gaining social attention. There are costs to extraverted behavior, however. This includes time and energy that could be invested in other activities, such as accomplishing a goal (conscientiousness) or engaging with ideas and imagination (openness to experience). There is also the risk that inappropriate attention-seeking behavior can fall flat, leading to reduced attention-holding power. Finally, high levels of exploration of the environment can expose extraverted individuals to increased physical risks. coque iphone 2019 For instance, extraverts are more likely to be hospitalized due to accident or illness, and are more likely to become involved in criminal or antisocial behaviors and get arrested. From an evolutionary perspective, there’s a reason why both introversion and extroversion evolved, as both have fitness benefits and disadvantages depending on the context. The Engine Behind Extraversion It’s important to distinguish, however, between the most prominent behavioral manifestation of extraversion (desire for social attention) and the core underlying mechanism of extraversion (reward sensitivity). Even though reward sensitivity need not be limited exclusively to social situations, high reward sensitivity likely motivates extraverts to seek out potentially rewarding positive social interactions, and fuels them to display behaviors that will increase social attention (e.g., friendliness, smiling, high energy, loudness, exhibitionism, positive emotions). From a biological perspective, reward sensitivity is likely governed by dopamine. While dopamine is involved in a variety of cognitive and motivational processes, the unifying function of dopamine is exploration. According to Colin DeYoung, “the release of dopamine, anywhere in the dopamingergic system, increases motivation to explore and facilitates cognitive and behavioral processes useful in exploration.” Dopamine isn’t only related to extraversion. Dopamine is also causally related to openness to experience, although differences in openness are more likely to reflect variation in salience coding neurons (which increase curiosity and the desire to obtain information). In contrast, extraversion is more likely to reflect differences in the operation of value coding neurons (which indicate the incentive reward value of attaining a specific goal). Indeed, fMRI studies have found that extraversion is associated with greater volume of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), a region known to be involved in coding the value of rewards. This probably explains why a lot of introverts notice that they often need to be alone to recharge their batteries after vigorous social interactions, whereas extraverts appear to gain energy from social interactions. This can be explained by dopamine’s function in energizing potentially rewarding social interactions, as well as its role in overcoming the cost of effort. For introvert’s, such interactions are more effortful and tiring due to their less active reward system [4]. Are you really an introvert? It’s time to put your introversion to the test. Researchers have found that the various facets of the introversion-extraversion domain can be boiled down to two related but separate aspects: enthusiasm and assertiveness. Enthusiasm encompasses traits like sociability, friendliness, self-disclosure, gregariousness, and positive emotionality. Enthusiasm is primarily about social affiliation, but goes beyond sociability to include positive emotions, more generally, like joy, exuberance, and excitement [5]. Assertiveness encompasses traits like leadership, dominance, provocativeness, activity, talkativeness, and persuasiveness. Assertiveness is more about social status than social affiliation. These 20 items have been found to accurately capture these major aspects of the introversion-extraversion domain of personality. Rate each item from 1 (doesn’t apply to me at all) to 5 (really applies to me): 1. Make friends easily. __ 2. Am hard to get to know. __ 3. Keep others at a distance. __ 4. Reveal little about myself. __ 5. Warm up quickly to others. __ 6. Rarely get caught up in the excitement. __ 7. Am not a very enthusiastic person. __ 8. Show my feelings when I’m happy. __ 9. Have a lot of fun. __ 10. Laugh a lot. __ 11. Take charge. __ 12. Have a strong personality. __ 13. Lack the talent for influencing people. __ 14. Know how to captivate people. __ 15. Wait for others to lead the way. __ 16. See myself as a good leader. __ 17. Can talk others into doing things. __ 18. Hold back my opinions. __ 19. Am the first to act. __ 20. Do not have an assertive personality. __ Now reverse code items #2, #3, #4, #6, #7, #13, #15, #18, and #20 (replace 5=1, 4=2, 3=3, 2=4, and 1=5). Now take the average of all the items. Results: If you averaged 3.0 or less, you are probably an introvert. If you averaged between 3.1-3.8, you’re probably an ambivert. If you averaged 3.9 or higher, you’re probably an extravert. (Note: If you score the first 10 questions and the second 10 separately, you can assess the engagement and assertiveness aspects of extraversion separately. Some ambiverts are high in enthusiasm (first 10) but low in assertiveness (second 10), and vice versa.) Conclusion How’d you do? It is my hope that this article helps you understand yourself better. There are many ways you differ from others. However, it doesn’t all come down to the extraversion-introversion dimension. Maybe you realized that instead of being an introvert, you are actually an extravert (enthusiastic and assertive) who is also a highly sensitive person. Or maybe you realized that you are really an extravert who likes to daydream and reflect deeply about ideas. Or maybe you even realized you are actually an introvert who daydreams a lot, or an introvert who doesn’t have a vivid fantasy life. All of these combinations are possible, and more. But a first step is shedding outdated and inaccurate notions of what it means to be an introvert. © 2014 Scott Barry Kaufman, All Rights Reserved. Acknowledgement: Thanks to Colin DeYoung for his feedback on this article, and for having so many discussions with me about this topic. coque iphone 6 [1] This doesn’t mean that introverts don’t ever experience positive emotions, or don’t enjoy social interactions. Research shows that both extraverts and introverts experience more pleasant affect in social situations than in nonsocial situations. This does have implications for happiness and subjective well-being, however. One of the most robust findings in the happiness literature is that extraversion and happiness are strongly related to each other. A major cause is most likely the positive emotions that extraverts feel on a more regular basis. [2] It should be noted that introverts also want to experience pleasant emotions; it’s just that what they tend to experience as pleasant is different than what extroverts report as pleasant. Also, a lack of negative emotions can also be experienced as pleasant, even if it’s not specifically positive. [3] This also applies to how extraversion is measured by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test. The MBTI extraversion-introversion scale only includes items relating to being talkative, gregarious, and sociable (vs. quiet and reserved). Since there’s not a single item on the MBTI extraversion-introversion dimension that mentions being introspective or reflective, even the MBTI doesn’t measure Jung’s original conceptualization of the term! [4] To be sure, extraverts also get drained by too many social interactions (even though their threshold for exhaustion during rewarding social interactions is higher). coque iphone 8 [5] Of course, those scoring low in the enthusiasm aspect of extraversion may still show enthusiasm for specific activities.