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4B Wednesday, March 27, 2013 Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter Amazing 0000nimals Aimee Chudy's Vizsla, Toni, catches snowballs at Spanish Ranch in Meadow Valley. Toastmasters to hold open house American Valley Toast- masters will be hosting an open house from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 3, with guest speaker Frederick Steinman who will speak on "Economic Development for the 21st Century." Steinman currently resides in Reno, Nev., and is the ex- tension educator assistant professor at University of Nevada Cooperative Exten- sion, managing principal at EDSolutions LLC and staff re- searcher at the city of Carson economic services depart- ment. He is also the Toast- masters governor of Division B, District 39, Area 21 -- the group that serves the Ameri- can Valley Toastmasters. The meeting will be held at the Plumas Bank Credit Ad- ministration Building at 32 Central Ave. in Quincy. This is a free event for the public and light refreshments will be served. For more information, call Kathy Powers at 283-7618. Toastmasters International is a worldwide program that helps people improve their speaking and leadership skills. ATTENTION DIRECT TV CUSTOMERS switch to Dish Network & we'll give you a s50 BILL! (must have Direct TV bill in hand at time of install) Plumas Satellite Gerald: (530) 863-8929 ,.,.-..,..,.,..,L. AUTHORIZED RETAILER Change your brain to change your "Attention is like a spot- light, illuminating what it rests upon." This was the message I brought home after an amazing workshop on neuroplasticity, the ability to change the neurons in the brain, and create new path- ways. Neuroplasticity is what we pay attention to; there- fore, it is like a vacuum cleaner sucking whatever you pay attention to into the brain. Rick Hansen, Ph.D., and Richard Mendius, M.D., the authors of "Buddha's Brain," conducted a workshop on how different practices -- such as focusing our energy, sitting quietly, thinking posi- tively, laughter, expressing gratitude and connecting with others and ourselves -- have an effect on how our brain functions. It is scientifically proven that we do use our entire brain but we have to activate certain parts. The brain is an amazing organ that can re- cover from traumas, depres- sion and attention disorders, just to name a few. We can weave positive experiences into the fabric of the brain and the self, to assist in cr.eat- ing new synapses, which lead to a shift in perspective and a shift in our reality. By pair- ing a positive experience with a negative one, we can also heal old pain. So where do we start? "Scientists believe the brain evolved a 'negativity bias' that makes it like Vel- cro for negative experiences but Teflon for positive ones. This helped our ancestors survive, but it's bad for chil- dren (and parents) today -- leading them to overreact, hold on to old hurts and re- sentments, and have a harder time developing inner re- sources," according to Rick Hansen. He also states that there are three brains. The Reptil- ian Brain, this is the ances- tral brain that says, "Eat lunch today, don't be lunch today," The Mammalian Brain is the connection of two hemispheres.This brain says, "I remember this, there- fore I'm going to be able to go get it." And there's the Hu- man Brain, which is actually a giant simulation machine (device). There is a sense of other. This brain says, "If this, then that." I am far from a neuroscientist, but all of this made total sense to me. When I think of things that have happened in my life that are only less than desirable (such as someone lying to me, stealing from me, cheating on me, abandoning me, deceiv- ing me, spreading lies about me, attacking me, etc.), oh boy, can I still feel the depth mind COMMUNITY OUTREACH TRINA RITTER Plumas Crisis Intervention and Resource Center and intensity of that unfair- ness, that betrayal, that hurt and even anger. They are hard to shake. They really stick with me. It is easy, almost automatic to have negative thoughts when we feel that we have been wronged. These are re- ferred to in the world of psy- chology as A.N.T.s, automat- ic negative thoughts. These A.N.T.s start crawling around in your brain like an infestation. So seeking help to exterminate them as soon as possible is very necessary; A.N.T.s can really start piling up quickly! How uncomfortable and out of control and busy they can be. The first step out of the A.N.T. pile is to own our part. As humans I hope we are all functioning in the Hu- man Brain. Let's check. Here is aI "if this, then that," way of handling one of the above situations that may help re- lieve the Velcro of our minds. If we recognize how we con- tributed to a situation, we are taking ownership and con- trolling the only thing we re- ally have control over: our- selves. Then we are encour- aging the other people in- volved to do the same thing. This discourages the blame-shame game and leads to more productive problem- solving. By owning it, we can discourage conflict and en- courage communication and accountability. If we had nothing to do with the situation, then don't give it any more energy. Move on. If we were misun- derstood, or we hurt someone intentionally or unintention- ally, listen to the other per- son's point without being d e - fensive, and apologize. Some- times we just need td feel heard, and so do others. It is easy to be mad, threaten and blame someone else for a sit- uation we may feel powerless over. ! always remind myself that there are at least three sides to every story and every situation canoe con- sidered an opportunity to learn about human interac- tion, connection and discon- nection. When I feel like I want to react, I try to remember to re- spond instead. To have a re- sponsib ility in responding. Not to reactoutwhat the other person is doing, as to eat and not be eaten, like the reptilian brain would expect us to do. Remain in the hu- man membrane. Take it all in, step back out of our own pain. Try to un- derstand where the other per- son is coming from. Do not take it personally. Be em- pathic knowing we all have our own pain and triggers. Curiously seek the true meaning of forgiveness and how to genuinely apply it to the situation (not always just to forgive others, but many times to also forgive our- selves). Dedicate time to "let- ting go." Refuse to add to the Velcro, by discontinuing neg- ative thoughts or energy to- ward the situation or the per- son creating it. If we don't it may only get worse, and everyone will continue to feel dissatisfied. Pay attention to what fire we are putting our logs on. Am I fueling a negative fire? What are my A.N.T.s doing? All of this takes practice. Re- member, Velcro, even when run through the spin cycle, something always sticks to. We are not striving for per- fection, but rather a process. We have to keep doing it un- til one day the light bulb turns on, illuminating the fact that the lint is either gone, or we can see it and re- move it! If positive experiences stick like Teflon, how do we get positive feelings to stay a little longer? My first thought was, butter it up! Nah, it all just slides off still too quickly anyways. I know! Take a met- al object to the positive expe- rience, that will show it! Nah, that sounds like it would hurt. Well the key to main- taining the positive is to maintain the positive. Much of neuroplasticity is about setting the ground for things that will persist in our lives. Choose your influ- ences. What do you want in- side your head? Know that what flows through your mind sculpts your brain. Im- material experiences leave trace materials behind. We need to hold on to the positive, as we are experienc- ing it each time, for five to 10 seconds. Soak it in. Illumi- nate it. Take in the good. With practice, it sticks. It's not always easy, but we do get better at it! Activate use- ful mental states to install them as useful mental traits. This is all about skillful means for the moment we are in. There is a gate in the brain that allows dopamine to pass through. Dopamine tracks re- wards. If a person is feeling rewarded, they feel positive. Ifa person is expecting a reward and doesn't get it, the dopamine drops. Therefore the key to maintaining a posi- tive emotion is to constantly reward yourself in little ways. I'm not saying to feast on rich foods or drink your- self happy all day, or spend your life on vacation. I'm talking reward yourself by taking in the good, showing gratitude and giving back. By doing these small things, we are creating a steady flow of dopamine. The idea is to not have sudden spikes of dopamine, but rather a steady stream. If the gate doesn't fly open from a dopamine spike we aren't ex- periencing two extremes and lherefore do not get distract- ed. A dopamine spike will distract us, because we have been deprived of the rewards of positive emotion and have wanted these rewards of ex- citement, happiness, fulfill- ment, love, nurturing, be- longing -- whatever positive emotion it is that we crave, we have wanted it so bad. If the dopamine spikes, it then has to crash and it's easy to turn to maybe some un- healthy ways or habits to try to regain some of that which we have lost. I am so inspired by this sci- entific research. So are other people around the globe. There are now even classes taught at Harvard and other colleges on the subject of hap- piness and neuroplasticity. It truly gives me a new hope for myself and humanity! It is so much easier to prac- tice forms of kindness and positive emotion when there are others in the community practicing the same type of awareness. My thanks go out to Julie Hatzell, the owner of Alley Cat Caf6. She is the per- son that introduced me to this new science of being, and has become an integral part of my work in this communi- ty. Not only did she invite me to this past week's workshop, she has also been so generous in opening the oaf6 to the Brene Brown BootC Club that was faciiitated by Anne Gaudet the last few months, and now Julie's new vision toward building a resilient community, "The Quincy Happiness Movement." I attended the very first meeting this past Thursday. It included three inspiring TED talks, a diverse group of beings, conversation and con- nection. These will be held every third Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at the Alley Cat Caf6. I am so thrilled to know there are others on this journey of realizing that we need to "change our minds, to change our brains, to change our minds for the better of all." 'O M Y'STFj00 Tlunuts County Museum .Tfistory Question of te Weel March 7, zo3 Answer to last week's question: What important recreation area was first constructed at Bucks Lake in 1929? I The original Bucks Lake Lodge was built by Ed Lane, I one of the Bucks Dam contractors, in 1929. He owned [ and operated it, under Forest Service lease, until 1946.1 I This Week's History Question Nelson Point, at the junction of Nelson Creek and the Middle Fork of the Feather River, was heavily populated by miners by mid 1850. What infamous gold rush led hundreds of miners into the Sierras and, ultimately, to the discovery of Nelson Point and many other rich mining areas? The answer to this Week's question and other fascinating historical facts are taken directly from the books on sale at your museum! Become a member of the Museum Association and you may be eligible to receive some of these publications at no cost. History Mystery is sponsored by: N Fdlz & Company is bringing over 40 years of experlJsa in Engine powered electrical systems, sales, repair and retrofit (for air quality) to the Slerral From small home-standbys and off grid applica- tions to indusal and agricultural stand- bys. 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