Friday, 24 August, 2012
If I’m reading this correctly, being around people who are constantly complaining can be detrimental to your health and mental well-being. Somehow this doesn’t surprise me one bit.
“The brain works more like a muscle than we thought,” Blake says. “So if you’re pinned in a corner for too long listening to someone being negative, you’re more likely to behave that way as well.” Even worse, being exposed to too much complaining can actually make you dumb. Research shows that exposure to 30 minutes or more of negativity – including viewing such material on TV – actually peels away neurons in the brain’s hippocampus. “That’s the part of your brain you need for problem solving,” he says. “Basically, it turns your brain to mush.”
health, psychology, well being
Wednesday, 15 August, 2012
Woody Allen may have been onto something when he suggested in last year’s Midnight in Paris – through one of the film’s characters at least – that the period 1890 through to about 1914, a time referred to in France as La Belle Époque, was the world’s ultimate Golden Age.
US writer and poet Peter Lamborn Wilson – in an excerpt from an article published last November, that appears at InterActivist – argues that 1911 was, all up, a “great year”.
Those who long to live in 1911 choose that year – really any year from 1890 to 1914 would be equally OK – just because it’s safely in the middle of that long lingering last decade of the long 19th century, which was also the first heroic decade of true modern radicalism, e. g. the Wandervogl, Stirnerite anarchism, the IWW and Jim Larkin, Ascona, Sex Radicals, and Nudism, etc. And, still far removed from the future of total war and totalitarianism to come – a time of utopian revolutionary hope.
There’s always a contrarian however. Fraser Nelson, writing for British newspaper The Telegraph, suggests the Golden Age is… here and now:
There ought to be a name for this feeling: political myopia. It can afflict anyone who confuses what politicians do with what’s happening in the country, or what they say with what is going on in the world. Governments may be having a hard time of it, struggling with debt they ought not to have taken on. Noisy pressure groups who seek government funding may also believe that the sky is falling in. But a clear-headed analysis of the facts reveals something rather extraordinary. The crash has not even retarded, let alone halted, human progress. The world has never been richer, healthier, freer or more equal than it is today.
It’s an optimistic piece for sure, but in reality it’s the only way to think. Unless you’re caught in a time slip and end up in La Belle Époque, the Renaissance, or even on board the star-ship Enterprise (in case you look ahead, not back), there’s no choice but to try and make the best of the time we live in anyway.
psychology, time, well being
Thursday, 9 August, 2012
It seems to me people have expectations that are either wildly optimistic, or overly gloomy, in regards to the way any given situation will unfold. There’s a lot to be said then for adopting a middle ground, one that balances hope with reality, and it’s not as if someone just thought up such an approach:
Ancient philosophers and spiritual teachers understood the need to balance the positive with the negative, optimism with pessimism, a striving for success and security with an openness to failure and uncertainty. The Stoics recommended “the premeditation of evils,” or deliberately visualizing the worst-case scenario. This tends to reduce anxiety about the future: when you soberly picture how badly things could go in reality, you usually conclude that you could cope. Besides, they noted, imagining that you might lose the relationships and possessions you currently enjoy increases your gratitude for having them now. Positive thinking, by contrast, always leans into the future, ignoring present pleasures.
optimism, psychology, well being
Thursday, 19 July, 2012
A rare genetic disorder called “congenital analgesia”, while leaving sufferers with a sense of touch, renders them unable to feel any sort of pain. That might sound appealing at first, but in the absence of any pain or discomfort, those afflicted with the disorder are sometimes unable to tell if they are unwell or injured.
Nowadays, I am not a particularly reckless person. I believe I’m actually more vigilant than most people because I know that if I were to injure myself I wouldn’t know how severe it would be. Internal injuries are the ones I fear the most. Appendicitis is what really scares me. Usually whenever I have any type of stomach issues or a fever I go to the hospital just to get it checked out. The last time I had a broken bone, my wife actually noticed before I did. My foot was swollen, black and blue, so I went to the doctor and had an X-ray and they told me that I had broken two of my toes and they wanted to put a cast on it.
disorders, health, well being
Monday, 14 May, 2012
Somewhere out there in that big wide world we have a double, or doppelgänger, who is living the carefree life we once envisaged for ourselves:
I mention all this not to complain about my life but to explain the buoyancy I’d felt on the flight to San Francisco and then later walking to a bar at one in the morning with my cosmic double, the person who’d fulfilled all the unfettered, bohemian dreams I’d had for myself right out of college. I’d imagined living in a house of hungry, half-crazed artists somewhere, a place with secondhand furniture and thirdhand lovers, all of us thumbing our noses at society while we aged gracelessly into fame. Like the Beats, the Lost Generation, the Merry Pranksters – whatever they ended up calling us, we’d have a “the” before our name. But aside from a brief bacchanalia in San Francisco that involved a weirdly polite orgy, I never found the bohemia of my dreams. Instead I went to grad school and stumbled upon the woman of my dreams. It took us nine years to get married – mostly because we believed it to be the last nail in the coffin, the apogee of conventionality – but we tied the knot eventually and had two kids and settled into an apartment with tastefully worn furniture and a fancy espresso machine that we never use. The truth is, despite the mornings of hellish Mr. Mom frenzy, there are plenty of blissed-out moments when I’m cuddling with my son or daughter on the couch and feel like I’ve found myself, that I’ve been blessed. Still, I can’t help wondering.
doppelganger, lifestyle, well being
Tuesday, 8 May, 2012
“Off the Grid”, a photo collection by French photographer Éric Valli. There are people who live off the grid, on the fringes of society, making do without many, if not all, of the conveniences of contemporary life, and doing well for themselves.
lifestyle, photography, well being
Monday, 30 April, 2012
It’s short wonder people feel compelled to share secrets especially if keeping sensitive information on the down-low has the potential to increase exhaustion and stress:
Michael Slepian and his colleagues said their findings showed how carrying a secret leads to the experience of being weighed down. They don’t think the findings can be explained by the mental effort of keeping a secret – for example, past research has shown that cognitive load prompts people to underestimate, not overestimate, physical distances. The researchers warned about the health implications of their findings. “We suggest that concealment … leads to greater physical burden and perhaps eventually physical overexertion, exhaustion, and stress,” they said.
health, psychology, well being
Wednesday, 8 February, 2012
Life should be a party, or so some will argue, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be one continuous alcohol fuelled night on the town…
Liquid courage is nice. It helps you get up the nerve to dance, spark up a conversation, relax… But you don’t need to drink in order to do this. Chances are if you’re in a club/bar, everybody else is drunk. Go ahead and act like an idiot. They won’t know.
Now there’s something to think about.
alcohol, drinking, health, well being
Wednesday, 21 December, 2011
While people working in what they consider to be dream jobs will tell you there is nothing better than being paid to do what you love, there is a point of view that such an arrangement can be to the detriment of whatever your passion is.
Getting paid for doing what you already enjoy will sometimes cause your love for the task to wane because you attribute your motivation as coming from the reward, not your internal feelings.
fulfilment, well being, work
Monday, 21 November, 2011
While swearing or cursing in response to an adverse event of some sort has been found to occasionally provide mild pain relief, its capacity to offer comfort decreases among those who frequently use expletives.
Swearing increased pain tolerance and heart rate compared with not swearing. Moreover, the higher the daily swearing frequency, the less was the benefit for pain tolerance when swearing, compared with when not swearing.
pain, pain relief, profanity, swearing, well being