Don’t worry, you might be happier worrying (a little bit anyway)

Tuesday, 25 April, 2017

Everything in moderation, as they say. Including worrying about, things, stuff. I imagine a little worrying might bring previously unforeseen ideas and possibilities to mind. Then there are the potential health benefits from being concerned about your overall well being.

Well, maybe because – sometimes, in small doses – worrying can actually be good for you. In one study, for example, worrying was linked to recovery from trauma and depression, as well as increased “uptake of health-promoting behaviors,” like getting regular cancer screenings or resolving to kick a smoking habit. Others have found that worriers tend to be more successful problem-solvers, higher performers at work and in graduate school, and more proactive and informed when it comes to handling stressful events that life throws their way.

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Macro close-up video footage of a sweating fingertip

Wednesday, 1 March, 2017

From Timelapse Vision, macro close-up video footage of a person’s fingertip sweating. Incredible. For a second, I thought I was about too see a scene from the new Alien film.

Via Geekologie.

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Doctor’s fees, a bitter pill to swallow, especially for the doctor

Tuesday, 14 February, 2017

Seventy dollars may be a lot to fork out for a relatively short consultation with a doctor, but even as someone who balks at the thought of such a cost, I wouldn’t consider my doctor to be making easy money. If fortunate, a doctor might end up with a little over a third of that money, as Sydney doctor Elizabeth Oliver explains:

If I had billed the building contractor the private fee of $70.00, $37.05 would be refunded directly into his bank account by Medicare. Of that $70.00, thirty-five per cent goes to the practice for rent, insurance, the receptionist and nurse, software, electricity and equipment. Of my $45.50 I would pay around 37% tax plus the Medicare levy (total $17.75), and 7% for my HECS-HELP debt ($3.19). So for eighteen minutes of my time I would take home $24.56. I bulk billed him, and therefore made $13.01 after tax. That dizzying sum has to cover sick leave, holiday and maternity leave, superannuation, and around $8,000 per year in registration fees, indemnity insurance and continuing professional development.

The entire article is well worth reading though. Many of us probably do not realise just how demanding the work of a doctor, especially one in a general practice, or a medical centre, is.

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Unsettling depictions of sleep paralysis, by Nicolas Bruno

Friday, 10 February, 2017

Photo by Nicolas Bruno

Sleep paralysis, whereby you find yourself unable to move, speak, or do anything, between either falling asleep, or waking up, is something I’ve experienced on occasion. Ironically, it can be triggered by a lack of sleep.

I feel as if I’m in a pitch black wind tunnel, where quite the gale is blowing, and I’m unable, whatsoever, to move. The weird thing is, I’m fully aware that sleep paralysis is gripping me, and I know that I have to somehow “snap myself out of it.” Which I usually do in fairly short time.

Long Island, New York, photographer Nicolas Bruno is likewise familiar with this sometimes terrifying phenomenon, and has created a series of images depicting, if you like, his brushes with sleep paralysis. Check out his website, or Instagram page, for more photos from the collection.

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Fortune favours those who think they’re bold. And the open minded

Wednesday, 8 February, 2017

Here’s something for anyone who feels they’re down on their luck. Try imagining that you’re in fact lucky, and that you’re on a winning streak. It’s a phenomenon I’ve observed before. Positive thinking, and the like. When you think things might go your way, often times they can, says Chelsea Wald, writing for Nautilus.

A belief in luck can lead to a virtuous cycle of thought and action. Belief in good luck goes hand in hand with feelings of control, optimism, and low anxiety. If you believe you’re lucky and show up for a date feeling confident, relaxed, and positive, you’ll be more attractive to your date.

Being lucky though is not only about thinking you are lucky. An open mind, an awareness of your surroundings, and keeping anxieties in check, also plays a part, writes Teresa Iafolla, in a separate Nautilus article.

Lucky people don’t magically attract new opportunities and good fortune. They stroll along with their eyes wide open, fully present in the moment (a problem for people glued to phone screens). This also means that anything that affects our physical or emotional ability to take in our environment also affects our so-called “luckiness” – anxiety, for one. Anxiety physically and emotionally closes us off to chance opportunities.

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When too much art is bad for you. That’s Stendhal Syndrome

Wednesday, 1 February, 2017

Everything in moderation. Too much of a good thing. And so on. It’s not just the likes of alcohol, or sweet and fatty snacks, where restricted intake is required. An excess of art can trigger a psychosomatic illness known as Stendhal Syndrome, or Florence Syndrome, or hyperkulturemia.

When exposed to the concentrated works of art, affected individuals experience a wide range of symptoms including physical and emotional anxiety (rapid heart rate and intense dizziness, that often results in panic attacks and/or fainting), feelings of confusion and disorientation, nausea, dissociative episodes, temporary amnesia, paranoia, and – in extreme cases – hallucinations and temporary “madness”.

I sincerely hope you’re not in this category, if so, you are in the wrong place. As you can see, if you look around you.

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Cake culture, the next threat to workplace well being?

Monday, 23 January, 2017

Medical professionals are urging workplaces in the United Kingdom to cut back on the amount of sugary food that is available to employees, as concerns regarding obesity rise.

While quite a proportion of people are overweight as a result of an increase in the consumption of sweet foods, what’s alarming is the number of people being admitted to hospitals on account of tooth decay. Was their situation so dire, that a dentist couldn’t help them?

In 2015-16 around 63% of adults in England were classified as either obese or overweight and nearly 64,000 over-18s were admitted to hospital because of tooth decay. Last year, 40% of people made a resolution to lose weight, and 24% said they wanted to eat more healthily.

In the past, I’ve worked at companies that have, how shall we say, offered well-stocked lunch rooms. It was interesting though, talking to others who were partaking of the available foodstuffs, with many saying they never ate this sort of food at home, and indeed did not even keep such items in the house.

Comfort food, perhaps? It seems like there may be other issues at play here, and restricting the availability of sugary snacks may not be the whole solution.

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The most dangerous creature in Australia is? Spider? Snake? No…

Monday, 23 January, 2017

I think just about anyone travelling to Australia for the first time, knows of the danger posed by certain of its snakes and spiders, well before they arrive. Probably sharks and box jellyfish, also.

Yet it is stings or bites from bees and wasps that result in the most deaths in Australia, according to a study of thirteen years of data on the topic, by the University of Melbourne.

The reason the number may be so high, says Dr Ronelle Welton, who authored the report, is that people are more complacent when it comes to the danger that bees and wasps can pose, as opposed to spiders and snakes.

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Redheads, an endangered species thanks to climate change?

Tuesday, 13 December, 2016

Climate change and redheads may not go together well. Scientists seem to be divided as to whether this might bring about a reduction in our numbers, or our eventual extinction. That’s a cheery thought. And that’s not even the half of it, if this list is anything to go by.

Sun cream is your oxygen. Some reported getting sunburnt when the moon is out. Another claimed to drink sunscreen for internal coverage. Factor 50 in winter is not uncommon.

On the flip side, redheads tend to age better than those with other hair colours. So, swings and roundabouts?

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If you’re not exhausted, then I’m afraid you’re not with the in-crowd

Tuesday, 2 August, 2016

Exhaustion, feeling tired, knackered, is the new black. So revered is the state of fatigue, it has become a status symbol. Apparently.

Today, exhaustion still hints at status, but of a different sort. To say that you’re exhausted is to telegraph that you’re important, in demand, and successful. It’s akin to the humblebrag of ruefully describing yourself as “so busy” – naturally, since exhaustion follows from busyness.

At least exhaustion is an inexpensive status symbol. In financial terms anyway.

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