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Evaluating evidence requires a great deal of thought. Our brains prefer shortcuts. This saves time, especially when we're under pressure. For most of human history, people experienced little new information during their lifetimes, and decisions tended to be survival based. It makes our lives so broad that it renders the daily trials and tribulations nearly insignificant. This deep-rooted connection provides motivation, turning dreaded tasks into effortless or even joyful execution of plans. If you're lit up with passion and purpose, life just feels easier. You feel fulfilled, happier, and more alive. Connection heals us. Just as in integrative medicine, we don't just want to get you to `not sick. Valerie, age fifty, is an artist who suffered from back pain. The pain was preventing her from painting, so Valerie decided to have surgery to correct a herniated disk. The surgery was a success. About eight months later, Valerie came in to see Adam for an office visit. You get up and eat. You could say that was pleasure-seeking. You read the paper. That could be for pleasure or for political thought or other things. You might go to church; You see what I mean?

Mr N: Don't you mean that life is not something you can generalize about? Mr S: In a way, yes. Mr N: But didn't Aristotle mean more than motives? Didn't he mean the general tone of a person's existence? That's not the case anymore. To stave off overwhelm, we tend to take shortcuts, so we give more power to information that allows us to conclude what we want and confirms our current beliefs. We're less likely to take in information that may threaten our worldview. A functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study shows where the confirmation bias arises in the brain and how it is unconscious and emotion-driven. Bush and John Kerry in which the candidates clearly contradicted themselves. Both groups let their own candidate off the hook yet were critical of the opposing candidate. Interestingly, the researchers didn't see increased activation of the parts of the brain normally engaged during reasoning (the cortex); As this demonstrates, confirmation bias also explains why two people with opposing views can see the same evidence and both come away feeling validated by it. FEAR TRIGGERS We believe the things we believe about ourselves because at some point we were taught they were true. She reported that she had been doing relatively well, but not as well as she had hoped. The pain was gone, but she was a little lethargic and depressed. Adam asked her if she had started painting again, and she admitted that she hadn't. She and her husband had moved a few months back, and she hadn't bothered to set up her supplies in the new house. Adam's prescription for Valerie was clear: go home and set up that studio. Valerie's artwork was how she expressed herself and how she felt complete.

She wasn't going to feel healed until she put that sense of meaning and purpose back in her life. The Levels of Life Fulfillment Yesterday you learned about how to connect to your work for greater fulfillment. But is work all there is? Miss W: Not only that, but he was writing about a time in history which is much different than what exists now. Inst: You believe that human nature is different because of different environments, is that right? Miss W: Well, yes. If cultural settings are very complex, people are bound to react in more complicated ways. In simple settings they don't need to be complicated in their adjustment. Miss B: But if happiness is the goal of human beings, what difference does it make how simple or complicated your surroundings are? You still will be living for happiness. Miss W: What is happiness? Inst: Miss W asks the $64 question. Mr N responded understandingly to Mr S's puzzlement as to the effectiveness of his communication. For instance, if you are regularly made to feel inadequate, that conviction gradually wires into you, teaching you to be fearful and to expect to be confronted with your inadequacy on an ongoing basis. Fear and what triggers it are as diverse as each person's lived experience. Consider how different it is to wake up with plenty of money than to wake up wondering if you have enough to buy food today. Or sleeping in a safe, quiet neighborhood versus living on a crime-ridden block. Or waking up in your safe, well-appointed mansion full of luxuries and wondering if your spouse will attack you today. Many of us, regardless of social class, face threats to our safety and well-being that trigger our fear response--things like abuse, intimate partner violence, and war.

Also common are social fears triggered by rejection, personal failure, and concerns about our adequacy or lovability. Fears of wrongness and not belonging are universal. Though fear feels very personal, it may be harder to understand that social forces (poverty, racism, weightism, ableism, and so on) also trigger fear and a feeling of unsafety. But they do. No, of course not. After his discovery about the three levels of work connection, Andrew continued his research, knowing that only one in ten thousand people would say that their job is what gives them the deepest sense of meaning. He discovered there are four levels of life connection that sustain us. The higher people went, the greater their resilience and life satisfaction. The Four Levels of Life Connection It's easy to see why moving from Level One to Level Two would bring you great benefit. You're going beyond the surface stuff of life (the work presentation that went well, this quarter's earnings, and so on) and reaching outside yourself to engage with people close to you, for whom you care deeply. The love, safety, and sense of belonging we can get from our families can be profoundly nourishing. Having strong, fulfilling relationships with people we love is invaluable for our emotional well-being. In addition to being a lift that helps us achieve balance, having close personal relationships also has physiological benefits. It is noteworthy that Mr N responded as above even though he had reservations as to the validity of Mr S's statement. This has a great deal of significance as an example of group atmosphere. In terms of discussion techniques alone, doesn't this imply that a democratic atmosphere fosters the acceptance of responsibility by the participants? As the group members feel free of threat, they not only can accomplish their own ideational integration but can accept a clarifying role in their interaction with others. This was an attempt to get at the essence of Miss W's thinking. Here the instructor was grossly insensitive to the intent of Miss W's question.

Perhaps a simple acceptance would have allowed her the expression she needed. My interpretation of the dynamics at this point is that if the classroom mood was not a generally permissive one, such a remark on the instructor's part might have effectively forestalled further participation by Miss W. Miss W: No, this is serious. Aren't there as many ideas of happiness as there are people? Imagine you are a parent raising a Black son and you know how vulnerable he is to be a target for violence or poor treatment. The ongoing awareness of our vulnerability wears on us every bit as much as the individual and discrete acts of injustice that we experience. Historically, the police have weaponized, enforced, and implemented racism. The police force as an entity began as a collective of slave catchers. This historical and generational fear that Black people and People of Color experience is valid and also another reason why Black people have different hurdles when it comes to healing trauma that is ongoing and daily. This reality challenges how fear shows up and how we navigate our own survival. If fear plays a central role in your life, please have some self-compassion. There are valid reasons why you are fearful and why many of us struggle with survival within a system that is not designed for thriving. Many things are out of your control. Know, too, that there are things you can do to increase your control and your ability to manage fear. Human touch stimulates oxytocin, the cuddle hormone that diminishes our experience of fear and floods our systems with a sense of calm. Not to mention that close relationships are a two-way street: we are supported, and we support those we love. They feed our sense of self-esteem. We're not taking away one iota of the value of family life for your happiness and well-being. At the same time, the incontrovertible data show that we need to move higher to cultivate the rock-solid resilience that supports us through whatever happens in life. Level Three is the next step.