Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

What Is Really Drawing Women to Fifty Shades of Grey?

posted by Linda Mintle

Yesterday, I heard a CNN reporter talking about the movie 50 Shades of Grey like she was promoting a Disney Movie. I was stunned by what she was saying. She was giddy with approval (not sure how that was journalism) and telling me to take my husband or boyfriend to see the movie. Oh, but leave dad at home.

So, in her opinion, I would want to sit with my husband or boyfriend and watch Dakota Johnson topless having bondage sex. This would be a great date or experience? According to the reporter this would be fun!

All I could think of is how uncomfortable and embarrassing this would be. I would want Dakota to put her clothes on and stop allowing a man to hurt and objectify her. I would be distraught at the porn, thinking this is some dad’s little girl. Actually, I would probably be yelling this in the theatre, so it is best I don’t go.

I openly admit I haven’t read the books and I won’t see the movie. The media hype has been over the edge and the true critics see Fifty Shades as a mediocre movie at best. But one review caught my eye and gave some explanation as to why this movie is so popular.

Behind all the sex, LifeSiteNews writer, Kirsten Anderson, gets to the heart of what is attracting so many women. She writes, “Forget the porn for a minute; forget the abuse.  In Fifty Shades, we have a story that has touched the hearts of millions of women, and underneath its filthy exterior, at its core, it’s about unconditional love and redemption.”

And after a thoughtful analysis, Kirsten challenges Christians, “… this is our story. If a hundred million people will shell out for a counterfeit paperback version of a love we live every day, we should see that not just as an attack, but an opportunity. Love is our story.  Let’s tell it better.”

I couldn’t agree more.

To read her analysis, click here.

Do You Suffer From iPhone Separation?

posted by Linda Mintle

ID-10066530The other day I was running late for a meeting. As I rushed to the meeting, I suddenly realized I left my iPhone on my desk. For a moment, I panicked. Should I excuse myself and go back and get it? If I do, I will miss part of the meeting. If I don’t… well, I might suffer from iPhone separation.

Go ahead and laugh, but researchers took a look at what happens to people when they are separated from their iPhones. Are iPhones such an extension of our identity that separation can have negative effects?

Researchers studied the psychological and physiological effects of cell phone separation. When it came to how people performed on cognitive tests, cell phone separation made a difference.

In the study, participants were asked to complete a word search word puzzle with or without their iPhones next to them. Their heart rates and blood pressure were monitored. They also reported their anxiety levels during the task. One group could hear their phones ringing during the task, but couldn’t answer them because they were out of reach.

Those who could hear their phones ring but couldn’t answer them, reported more anxiety. And their performance on the cognitive task (the puzzle) decreased when they were not in possession of their phones.

The take away–Cell phone separation may increase your anxiety and decrease your performance on cognitive tests. When we see these phones as extensions of ourselves , we may experience negative effects when we are separated.

Hmmm….I probably should have gone back for my phone!


Source: Clayton, Leshner and Almond’s study, “The Extended iSelf: The Impact of iPhone Separation on Cognition, Emotion, and Physiology,” the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication

Are Women More Emotionally Stimulated Than Men?

posted by Linda Mintle

ID-100139663When my husband and I watch a movie that has a strong emotional story line, I seem to be more moved by the story. For example, the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan felt traumatizing to me. I kept whispering in my husband’s ear, “Make it stop. It’s too much.”

Is this because women are sensitized to emotions more so than men, or is it because of differences in the way men and women process emotion?

A study from the University of Basel looked at gender differences in emotional processing to help answer this question. In their study, men and women were shown images of emotional and neutral content. Women rated the emotional images as more emotionally stimulating than men, especially the negative images.  When the images were neutral, there were no gender differences in the ratings.

When both genders were given a memory test following the exposure to emotional images, women remembered them better than men. This was especially true for the positive images. The reseachers believe this is due to differences in how emotions are processed in the brain of men and women.

Looking at fMRI images of the male and female brains, the researchers saw increased activity in motor regions of women’s brains linked to those emotionally stimulating images.

According to one of the researchers, these findings may help us understand why women are more prone to depression, anxiety, and post traumatic stress, all of which involve emotional dysregulation. If women have stronger reactivity to negative emotional images and remember them better than men do, this could help explain those gender differences.

Maybe this is why I had to close my eyes during the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan and was so much more bothered by the massacre on Omaha Beach. I was more emotionally stimulated, expressed those emotions and could recall them better than my husband.


Source:Klara Spalek, Matthias Fastenrath, Sandra Ackermann, Bianca Auschra, XDavid Coynel, Julia Frey, Leo Gschwind, Francina Hartmann, Nadine van der Maarel, Andreas Papassotiropoulos, Dominique de Quervain and Annette MilnikSex-Dependent Dissociation between Emotional Appraisal and Memory: A Large-Scale Behavioral and fMRI StudyJournal of Neuroscience (2015) | doi: 10.1523/jneurosci.2384-14.2015

Boring Love: 10 Ideas to Rev it Up This Valentine’s Day

posted by Linda Mintle

ID-10069860Coming this weekend is Valentine’s Day.

Raise your hand if you are doing the standard dinner out, flowers and candy. While this is nice, some of you may need to infuse a little more excitement into your boring relationship;

The key: Novelty!

Do something new to stimulate your relationship that breaks from ordinary life. New experiences stimulate dopamine in the brain and that brings feelings of romance.

Here are a few ideas to rev up the romance and stimulate that boring brain:

1) Do a couple’s spa night. Schedule the two of you for relaxation and pampering. Check on-line coupon sites for deals.

2) Show love to a stranger or person in need. The two of you decide to go to a homeless shelter, children’s hospital or some place where showing love can bring joy to others.

3) Picnic somewhere scenic. Take a blanket, a basket of food and drink and find a beautiful spot to picnic. For those of us in more northern climates, it may have to be an indoor place with a view, so be creative. You might even drive to a scenic view and picnic in your car. Or, if you have a fireplace, spread the picnic out on the floor!

4) If you can afford it, go to a nice hotel and truly get away. Leave your devices alone and enjoy the time together.

5) Do something you never do: Sign up for a cooking class, go on a hike, go bowling or play laser tag.

6) Create love notes all over the house with clues on how to find them.

7) For those of you with a more creative side, write a poem, compose a song, or find quotes that express your love.

8) Recreate your first date. You may not be able to go back to the exact location, but you could use pictures, maps and reminders of the place, then create the date and relive the memory.

9) Create a surprise. Not knowing where you are going or what you are doing with only a few clues along the way, adds to the fun and novelty.

10) Pull out old photos and reminisce about the most romantic times. Put on soft music, candles and set the atmosphere for more to come!

This Valentine’s Day, create a memory that strengthens the couple bond by doing something new to bring passion to your relationship. Romantic love doesn’t have to fade over time. It just needs a few shots of novelty once in awhile!


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