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Your Personality May Be Controlled By Your Immune System, Study Finds

Your Personality May Be Controlled By Your Immune System, Study Finds

Despite the social and geopolitical tensions that exist in today’s society, the human race has evolved to a point where multiculturalism and interactivity between different creeds is entirely normal. While there are many inspirational stories concerning those who have battled oppression to practice their beliefs, in general, we live in a tolerant and accepting world.

Interestingly, animals have also evolved over time and become increasingly sociable, particularly in environments where one species is dominant. The same can be said for species’ with high populations such as rats and mice, many of which are often forced to coexist in small, urban spaces.

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What recent studies have told us about the evolution of sociability

In instances such as this, however, this heightened level of interaction can increase each animal’s chances of coming into contact with pathogens and infections. Over time, this has driven the need for animals to develop stronger and more capable immune systems, with historical research suggesting that environmental changes were most likely to alter the course of their development.

While this makes perfect sense, a new generation of researchers from the University of Virginia have discovered that the immune system of some species actively controls the elements of their brain that are responsible for social behaviour. This may ultimately change the way that we think about evolution and development, as the rise in sociability may actually have occurred as a direct result of heightened immune systems (rather than the other way around).

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How your Personality is controlled by your Immune System

According to the most recent studies, mice that were bred without a specific pathogen-fighting immune molecule became anti-social over time, while also displaying other prominent social defects such as autism. Upon further examination of the subject’s brain activity during testing, it was revealed that particular brain regions in the prefrontal cortex that control social behaviour had become hyperactive, which is similar to the experiences of humans with autism.

Conversely, when these subjects were injected with the missing immune molecule, they immediately behaved in a far healthier manners without displaying any social abnormalities. In purely scientific terms, this increased the levels of a prominent neurotransmitter called GABA, which in turn alleviated the subjects’ hyperactivity and triggered a chance in their social tendencies.

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The Last Word

In summary, this fascinating discovery has changed the way that scientists think about the brain and its relationship to the immune system (in the case of both animals and humans). Whereas the brain and the adaptive immune system were once considered to be isolated from one another, it is now apparent that these two entities actually share a close and interactive connection. It is also clear that our immune system has a direct influence on our personality type, and particularly the way in which we socialise and interact with others.

In the long-term, this discovery may also impact on the way in which immune activity in the brain is observed in humans. This was once seen as a clear sign of pathology, but this is no longer the case given the recent findings meaning that diagnostics and treatments could change accordingly.

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Featured photo credit: Terry White / Flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on December 10, 2019

5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

Here’s the truth: your effectiveness at life is not what it could be. You’re missing out.

Each day passes by and you have nothing to prove that it even happened. Did you achieve something? Go on a date? Have an emotional breakthrough? Who knows?

But what you do know is that you don’t want to make the same mistakes that you’ve made in the past.

Our lives are full of hidden gems of knowledge and insight, and the most recent events in our lives contain the most useful gems of all. Do you know why? It’s simple, those hidden lessons are the most up to date, meaning they have the largest impact on what we’re doing right now.

But the question is, how do you get those lessons? There’s a simple way to do it, and it doesn’t involve time machines:

Journal writing.

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Improved mental clarity, the ability to see our lives in the big picture, as well as serving as a piece of evidence cataloguing every success we’ve ever had; we are provided all of the above and more by doing some journal writing.

Journal writing is a useful and flexible tool to help shed light on achieving your goals.

Here’s 5 smart reasons why you should do journal writing:

1. Journals Help You Have a Better Connection with Your Values, Emotions, and Goals

By journaling about what you believe in, why you believe it, how you feel, and what your goals are, you understand your relationships with these things better. This is because you must sort through the mental clutter and provide details on why you do what you do and feel what you feel.

Consider this:

Perhaps you’ve spent the last year or so working at a job you don’t like. It would be easy to just suck it up and keep working with your head down, going on as if it’s supposed to be normal to not like your job. Nobody else is complaining, so why should you, right?

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But a little journal writing will set things straight for you. You don’t like your job. You feel like it’s robbing you of happiness and satisfaction, and you don’t see yourself better there in the future.

The other workers? Maybe they don’t know, maybe they don’t care. But you do, you know and care enough to do something about it. And you’re capable of fixing this problem because your journal writing allows you to finally be honest with yourself about it.

2. Journals Improve Mental Clarity and Help Improve Your Focus

If there’s one thing journal writing is good for, it’s clearing the mental clutter.

How does it work? Simply, whenever you have a problem and write about it in a journal, you transfer the problem from your head to the paper. This empties the mind, allowing allocation of precious resources to problem-solving rather than problem-storing.

Let’s say you’ve been juggling several tasks at work. You’ve got data entry, testing, e-mails, problems with the boss, and so on—enough to overwhelm you—but as you start journal writing, things become clearer and easier to understand: Data entry can actually wait till Thursday; Bill kindly offered earlier to do my testing; For e-mails, I can check them now; the boss is just upset because Becky called in sick, etc.

You become better able to focus and reason your tasks out, and this is an indispensable and useful skill to have.

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3. Journals Improve Insight and Understanding

As a positive consequence of improving your mental clarity, you become more open to insights you may have missed before. As you write your notes out, you’re essentially having a dialogue with yourself. This draws out insights that you would have missed otherwise; it’s almost as if two people are working together to better understand each other. This kind of insight is only available to the person who has taken the time to connect with and understand themselves in the form of writing.

Once you’ve gotten a few entries written down, new insights can be gleaned from reading over them. What themes do you see in your life? Do you keep switching goals halfway through? Are you constantly dating the same type of people who aren’t good for you? Have you slowly but surely pushed people out of your life for fear of being hurt?

All of these questions can be answered by simply self-reflecting, but you can only discover the answers if you’ve captured them in writing. These questions are going to be tough to answer without a journal of your actions and experiences.

4. Journals Track Your Overall Development

Life happens, and it can happen fast. Sometimes we don’t take the time to stop and look around at what’s happening to us at each moment. We don’t get to see the step-by-step progress that we’re making in our own lives. So what happens? One day it’s the future, and you have no idea how you’ve gotten there.

Journal writing allows you to see how you’ve changed over time, so you can see where you did things right, and you can see where you took a misstep and fell.

The great thing about journals is that you’ll know what that misstep was, and you can make sure it doesn’t happen again—all because you made sure to log it, allowing yourself to learn from your mistakes.

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5. Journals Facilitate Personal Growth

The best thing about journal writing is that no matter what you end up writing about, it’s hard to not grow from it. You can’t just look at a past entry in which you acted shamefully and say “that was dumb, anyway!” No, we say “I will never make a dumb choice like that again!”

It’s impossible not to grow when it comes to journal writing. That’s what makes journal writing such a powerful tool, whether it’s about achieving goals, becoming a better person, or just general personal-development. No matter what you use it for, you’ll eventually see yourself growing as a person.

Kickstart Journaling

How can journaling best be of use to you? To vent your emotions? To help achieve your goals? To help clear your mind? What do you think makes journaling such a useful life skill?

Know the answer? Then it’s about time you reap the benefits of journal writing and start putting pen to paper.

Here’s what you can do to start journaling:

Featured photo credit: Jealous Weekends via unsplash.com

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