Still thinking about botox for your aging skin? Well, you may take years off of y0ur face but it appears that you may also put up a barrier to one of the most important communication tools humans possess: the ability to accurately make emotional judgements based on expressions. Ultimately, this implies that botoxing not only smooths signs of aging but also numbs social interactions.
Bubble-worthy? You bet! This week we’re bursting the aging bubble wide open and challenging the societal push and pull towards the elusive Fountain of Youth.
So, what have researchers learned?
First, a bit of background and psychobabble. It is believed that facial expressions are powerful clues into inner thoughts and emotions, and that humans subconsciously mimic this expression in order to decode, or perceive it. Less clear, however, is whether or not we can use these clues to make better judgements about one another.
To find this out, researchers conducted two experiments:
- In the first, a small group of women received either Botox injections (which paralyze facial muscles) or Restylane filler (which plumps wrinkles) for the purpose of smoothing facial wrinkles that are most often associated with expression, i.e., frown lines, forehead and crows feet in the Botox group and frown and laugh lines in the Restylane group. They were then shown images used to convey emotional states through the eyes and surrounding areas only and asked to select the emotion that best demonstrated the respective expression.
- In the second, the researchers applied a restrictive gel to the lower forehead, brow and area surrounding the eyes that when dried, would tighten facial muscle contractions in half the group, and then applied the gel to the inner arm in the other half. They then conducted a test in which the participants were asked to judge emotions in brief audio clips and then took a quiz that would measure how much brain power was used to evaluate emotional cues.
Although botox didn’t completely block out women’s ability to discern emotional cues, perception was significantly lowered compared to women who had had Restylane. Interesting enough is that the researchers allude to a previous study that shows a similar dulling of reactions to emotional stimuli, implying that botox appears to interfere with emotional processing. What’s more, while the women who had restrictive gel applied to their face appeared to be better able to judge emotional expression but only the type that they would normally mimic themselves. However, the ability to judge audio emotions were the same whether the gel was applied to the face or inner arm. This suggests that facial muscle mimicry is essential.
So what do these findings really mean? Researchers say that it is possible that prolonged use of Botox could lead to changes in the way that our central nervous systems process emotions and even diminish the feedback we get from other people’s expressions. This may also effect social interactions and close relationships.
Is it an absolute? No. However, this information does suggestion that short-term gains in appearance might have longer term ramifications, such as interfering with important emotion cues and even the way the brain processes them.
I’m not sure that that’s worth the price of a smoother face. What do you think?Read More
Did you know that sleep problems have been reported in as many as 40% of women in the late perimenopausal stage and as many as 35% to 50% of women in postmenopause? The culprit? In addition to vasomotor symptoms, i.e. hot flashes and night sweats) lower estradiol and fallopian stimulating hormone levels can interfere with both falling and staying asleep. Add stress, emotional arousal, environment and alcohol or caffeine to the mix and you’ve got a woman on the verge. Personally? My sleep stinks; I wake up several times a night and regularly early in the morning, even though I rarely have trouble falling asleep. In fact, I don’t recall the last time I slept through the entire night.
So, how can I get more of those much needed Zzzzs? Well, I am hoping that Zeo can help.
Zeo is a home-based tool that uses SoftWave™ technology to track sleep patterns. The Zeo system is geared towards helping individuals understand how they are sleeping so that they can address factors (e.g. diet, stress, or environment) that may be profoundly hindering or interfering with their sleep.
Zeo collects information that summarizes the previous night’s sleep, including time spent in each sleep phase (i.e. light, deep and REM sleep), total time asleep, time it takes to fall asleep, and number of times awakened during the night, and displays it in a graph at bedside monitor.This information can then be uploaded so that sleep patterns can be tracked and trended along with individualized input about environmental and social factors that might disrupt sleep from night to night. Zeo also includes personalized sleep coaching. As the company says, the power of Zeo lies in its personalization, so that you can scientifically track your sleep phases and correlate them to the impact that daily habits have on your sleep. What’s more, I have looked at the scientific studies and the technology it uses to track your sleep not only favorably compares with what experts consider the gold standard for measuring sleep (polysomnography) but also does so in a range of healthy and “disordered” sleepers.
I’ve used Zeo for two nights so far. And guess what? It’s telling me that the fatigue I’ve been feeling is truly due to the fact that I’m not getting the restful sleep that I need. So, I am going to collect six nights of sleep information to create a foundation or baseline of my sleep pattern, and then undergo the Personal Sleep Program to see what I can change to optimize my sleep health.
I met a Zeo, Inc co-founder at last week’s epatient conference and after a conversation regarding sleep and menopause, he graciously sent me two units to share with my readers. I’ve given one of these units to a reader who is an insomniac and who is perimenopausal. But I’d like to give another Zeo to you. Here’s how:
Tell me in the comments section about your general sleep and how your symptoms or habits might be affecting it, along with steps you’ve taken or not taken to deal with the problem. The caveat? You must be experiencing some sort of menopausal symptoms or be in menopause and be willing to share your experience (anonymously) on Flashfree after a month’s use. If I get enough comments, I will randomly choose one winner to receive a Zeo Personal Sleep Coach monitor. What’s to lose? How about one more night’s sleep?!
[Disclosure: Zeo, Inc. provided me with three Zeo Personal Sleep Coach monitors - one via the epatient conference and two directly. Although this post was neither paid for or solicited by the company, I have eagerly agreed to write a post on menopause and sleep for their blog.]Read More
Reaching the Gentler Sex: Why Marketing to Women Requires a Holistic Approach. A guest post by Andrea Learned
I’ve written a few posts on the value of connections and the unique relationships that women have with one another, and with the world at-large. Not only do these connections provide a sense of security and enrich our emotional, psychological and physical fabrics, but they can teach us a lot about how we relate to others and how others relate to us as women.
Midlife is a time when many changes occur, particularly on the career front. You may find yourself reevaluating what you are doing, or better yet, how. I think that Andrea Learned has an interesting perspective on how women relate to the products they buy, because it says a lot about how we relate to ourselves and each other: holistically.
So, when I saw this post on Andrea’s Site, Learned on Women, I asked if she might do me the honours of reframing it for Flashfree. It’s a terrific, informative piece, whether you are interested in marketing or not.
Enjoy!!! And show Andrea some love!
Part of what makes women seem so complicated, from the marketing perspective, is the fact that their purchase decision-making paths can be a bit winding. For most women, there is more to a decision than bullet points listing product features on the side of a package. They take it all in — from the causes a brand supports, to the friendliness of a retailer’s employees, to knowing that a brand actually does interact with women like them (and so has much better ideas how to serve them).
Women certainly consider the usual suspects of linear product facts: like price and quality. However, their buying curves give them even more to ponder. They may have checked off everything on their list, be close to a decision, and then hear that your company sponsored the run they participated in last weekend. Boom! She’s sold. Or a woman may be 99 percent decided or buying from a retailer, have a short conversation with a sales team member who was a little too hard-sell — and, boom, the deal is off.
The key to understanding how to reach women buyers is understanding how they think. And, it is in a very holistic – take it all in – manner.
Not surprisingly, a woman’s more typically holistic buying characteristics are founded in the extra-connectedness of her brain. In fact, in comparison to a man’s brain, a woman’s brain typically has more connecting fibers between cells and a larger connecting tissue (corpus collusum) between right and left hemispheres. (Louann Brizendine’s book, The Female Brain, is a great resource for more brain science information.)
Noted socio-anthropologist Helen Fisher wrote in her book The First Sex: “As women make decisions, they weigh more variables, consider more options and outcomes, recall more points of view, and see more ways to proceed.” Fisher refers to women’s tendency to think in terms of interrelated factors (as opposed to men’s tendency to think more in a straight line or in steps) as “web thinking.”
As a result of web thinking, she says, women have easier access to both sides of the brain in any given decision, and are better able to integrate the emotional (is this company doing well by their employees and the environment?) with the rational (price, features, quality of product).
In Dan Pink’s book, A Whole New Mind, the author points out that “the left hemisphere handles what is said; the right hemisphere focuses on how it’s said.” Women can tap right hemisphere concerns (nonverbal, usually more emotional) much more easily, on average, then men.
In fact, as Face Time author Dan Hill found, emotions may play a larger role in the way women think about everything. This is worth noting, as he also mentions that emotion seems to drive reason more than reason drives emotion.
Given this perhaps more right-brained, emotionally-driven thinking, the curved path of a woman’s buying decision-making process makes a lot of sense. In today’s tough economic and environmental situation – this more holistic perspective comes in very handy. How and what anyone buys needs to be more deliberate. And, what I see happening now in terms of consumer behavior is that men are starting to learn these “women’s” ways and use the finer points of such decision-making themselves.
What’s that phrase? It’s all good.
The above was excerpted/edited a bit from Andrea’s original piece for a building industry publication. You can see that full article here: http://learnedonwomen.com/2007/07/article-reaching-the-gentler-sex/
If you are a twitter fan, you can stay easily updated on Andrea’s thoughts/ideas/blog posts by following: @AndreaLearned.Read More
Men! Male menopause? I think not! The closest thing to it? I believe so.
New York Times writer Dana Jennings, wrote a poignant piece in yesterday’s paper about his personal experience with hot flashes — not only as a husband/partner to a menopausal woman — but also as an advanced prostate cancer patient taking Lupron for his condition. Entitled “My Brief Life as a Woman,” (a title, which by the way, I want to rebel against) Jennings explores the effect that hormone therapy had on his body (night sweats, weight gain), his emotions (fits of crying), energy (fatigue) and overall quality of life (frequent headaches).
What resonates? His admission that “even though I only got to spend a brief time on the outer precincts of menopause, it did confirm my lifelong sense that the world of women is hormonal and mysterious, and that we men don’t have the semblance of a clue.”
I applaud Jennings for his candor, his sensitivity and his humour.
Men – the next time your wife/partner/girlfriend/friend is on the “Good Ship Menopause,” as Jennings so aptly describes it, embrace and offer to carry her “physical baggage.” Although it’s not a trip you’re necessarily prepared for, the journey may help you understand what she is going through a bit more thoroughly. Another helpful resource: Dick Roth’s “No, It’s Not Hot in Here,” a husband’s guide to understanding menopause.
A little understanding, a little support, and someone to sit with during bad chick flicks. Is that too much to ask?!
(Thanks to Steve Woodruff for pointing me to this piece in the NYT)Read More
In 1980, I worked as an intern on the municipal bonds floor of a well-known brokerage/financial institution. Although it was certainly not my “thang,” I learned a tremendous amount about how the business world operated, and most importantly, about the games that people play.
One thing that struck me in particular at that time was the role of women in this business and how they dressed and behaved. Women were not abundant in positions of power, and those who were, well, in some respects, they emulated men; they were aggressive, competitive and not particularly kind to one another.
Clearly, things have changed drastically in the almost three decades that have followed. But one thing that hasn’t changed much is how sisters act in the workplace.
A line from this wonderful article that appeared in yesterday’s New York Times made me realize that certain stereotypes continue to perpetuate bad behavior. And, that as Author Peggy Klaus so aptly writes, “the pink elephant is lurking in the room and we pretend it’s not there.”
The pink elephant is lurking in the room.
Klaus’ point is that rather than help build each others career, women often work to derail each other, engaging instead in “verbal abuse, job sabotage, misuse of authority and destroying of relationships.” She cites data suggesting that this type of behavior is directed from women to women >70% of the time, while the men who are “bullies in the workplace,” direct their aggression equally to both genders.
Klaus offers numerous reasons why women become aggressors in the workplace: scarcity of positions, bootstrap (I pulled myself up, why should I help you?) and hyperemotionality that leads to an overinvestment in workplace occurrences that cause them to hold grudges.
Her point, however, is not to determine the why but rather, engage one another to put an end to this type of behavior.
I’ve written previously that as we grow older, friendships and support of one another are essential to our overall wellbeing. Regardless of whether its in the workplace or in our personal lives, supportive relationships allow the soul to flourish and grow. Personal resources as they pertain to social support also help see us through the rougher aspects of menopause.
Should women give preferential treatment to one another? No, absolutely not. But as Klaus says, perhaps we should start treating one another as we want our “nieces, daughters, granddaughters an sisters to be treated.” We should simply… acknowledge the pink elephant in the room. And show it the door.