Showing posts from 2019

Five Ways Sleep Is Good for Your Relationships

New research highlights how sleep benefits our social lives.

By Jill Suttie

I’m a sleep lover. I like going to bed at the same time every night and getting a full night’s sleep. Deprive me of just one hour of blessed sleep, and things quickly go downhill—just ask my husband. I become bad company—snarky and irritable, hardly able to keep up my end of a conversation, let alone negotiate difficult issues.

Sleep is clearly important for our health, helping our bodies function at their best. It’s also key to our productivity, helping us stay fresh and focused the following day. But does getting a good night’s sleep affect our relationships, too?

In line with my own experiences, some relatively new research suggests that sleep does have positive social consequences. What we’re learning about the connection between sleep, our brains, and our social selves offers yet another reason to safeguard your zzz’s.

Sleep helps us approach others and avoid loneliness

It’s been long known that loneliness is a…

Top 10 Kindness Stories of 2018

Kindness begets kindness. This simple saying points to a profound truth. What we put out into the world, often comes back to us in one form or another. Not only does kindness have this wonderful boomerang effect, it's also delightfully contagious. Being at the receiving end of an act of kindness or witnessing a thoughtful gesture for another person can inspire a chain reaction. This just might be one of the best recipe's out there for creating a better world. For inspiration, here are some of KindSpring's favorite stories of 2018.

How the Media Can Help Prevent Mass Shootings

Sensationalized TV coverage of mass shootings may encourage more of them.

By Zaid Jilani

In the days and weeks following a mass shooting, television news programs saturate audiences with coverage of the tragedy, often focusing on the shooter.

But there’s a problem with this approach: It could be making mass shootings more common. According to a recent working paper, intense media coverage of these events may serve to glorify them in the minds of other potential mass shooters, who then seek the same attention by committing similar atrocities.

Jay Walker, an economics professor at Old Dominion University and a coauthor of the study, says that he and economist Michael Jetter wanted to look into the motivations behind mass shootings. “There’s been speculation about motives and there’s no clear resolution,” he notes.

Indeed, some of the most prominent mass shootings of the past decade have left the country puzzled. For instance, after almost a year of investigation, Las Vegas police could deter…

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez: Break Free

For the last 11 years, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez has been in the public eye for his activism, movement building, work with Earth Guardians, and youth empowerment. In 2013, President Obama awarded Xiuhtezcatl the United States Community Service Award. Xiuhtezcatl was the youngest of 24 national change-makers chosen to serve on the presidents youth council. He is the recipient of the 2015 Peace First Prize; the 2015 Nickelodeon Halo Award; the 2016 Captain Planet Award; the 2016 Childrens Climate Prize in Sweden; and the 2017 Univision Premios Agente de Cambio Award. He has addressed the UN General Assembly, given TED Talks, been interviewed by Bill Maher, and made an appearance on the Daily Show with Trevor Noahall by the age of 17. Currently, he is one of 21 young plaintiffs suing the U.S. government for violating our constitutional rights by perpetuating the climate crisis in the trial of the century: Juliana vs. the United States. His has authored We Rise: The Earth Guard…

Nuggets of Wisdom from 10 Everyday Heroes

Saturday Awakin Calls are moderated live conversations where amazing people share their journeys and interact with listeners. These conversations are then transcribed and archived creating a treasure trove describing the many ways to "be the change" we want to see in the world. In this post, an Awakin Calls volunteer shares some of her favorite jewels from this past year's most memorable calls. Read Gayathri Ramachandran's blog post and dive into this rich collection of inspiration.

How to Quiet Your Mind

BreatheWe do this all the time, but to use your breathing to find stillness, be more careful and conscious about it. Pay attention to the rhythm. If you take short, quick breaths, try to move toward slower, deeper ones. Put your hand on your belly: You should feel it rise and expand as you draw air in, and fall as you let it out. Shoot for about six breaths a minute. Swipe to advance 2/14 Watch Fish SwimPeople with home aquariums say they feel calmer, more relaxed, and less stressed when they gaze at their fish, and science backs it up. It isn't just the water, although that alone helps. A study using a tank hundreds of times larger found that the more types of marine life that were added, the happier people got. Heart rates and blood pressures dropped, too. Swipe to advance 3/14 ExerciseJust 5 minutes of aerobic exercise, like a brisk walk, could start to calm your mind. It releases endorphins -- chemicals that make you feel good and can help improve your mood, focus, and sleep. High-i…

Walking May Boost Aging Brains

By Amy NortonHealthDay Reporter Walking and other types of moderate exercise may help turn back the clock for older adults who are losing their mental sharpness, a new clinical trial finds.

The study focused on older adults who had milder problems with memory and thinking skills. The researchers found that six months of moderate exercise -- walking or pedaling a stationary bike -- turned some of those issues around.

Specifically, exercisers saw improvements in their executive function -- the brain's ability to pay attention, regulate behavior, get organized and achieve goals. And those who also made some healthy diet changes, including eating more fruits and vegetables, showed somewhat bigger gains.

The effect was equivalent to shaving about nine years from their brain age, said lead researcher James Blumenthal, a professor at Duke University School of Medicine, in Durham, N.C.

In contrast, those same mental abilities kept declining among study participants who received health…

The Truth About Mail-In DNA Tests

Lots of Info and Some ConfusionIf you’re curious about where your ancestors came from or concerned about diseases you might be likely to get, mail-in DNA tests make it easy to get some answers. Dozens of companies offer them, and they can be done with a sample of your saliva or a swab of your cheek. The catch is, you may learn "facts" about yourself that aren't quite factual. Swipe to advance 2/12 Myth: Predict Chances of DiseaseThese tests look for information in your genes that shows you might be more likely to get a specific disease, such as Alzheimer's or cancer. But they can’t tell if you'll end up getting it. They can't even really tell you your chances of it. Other things, like your lifestyle or habits, affect your risk of getting diseases, too. Swipe to advance 3/12 Myth: Cover All ConditionsThe field of genetics is growing quickly, but only so many tests are available. So while you may get information about certain conditions, you might not get any about a…

Quantitative and Qualitative Healing

"A bit over a year ago, my grandmother passed away. During the last couple of years of her life, she was dealing with a lot of different health problems -- literally ranging from head to toe. And, thanks to Western medicine, she was able to add years to her life, because of these different drugs and therapies that were working on the physical problems that were happening in her body. But, in the conversations that I had with her in those last couple months of her life, we learned that she was really struggling with the other parts of disease -- the nonphysical parts -- the emotional, the spiritual, the psychological kind of burdens that these diseases have that western medicine wasn't addressing...That really got me interested in quality of life, and how we can focus on that in western medicine and in the hospitals that we have here." As a pre-med student at UC Berkeley, Priya Shah created "The Happiness Advantage" to help students cope with stress…

How Books Solace, Empower and Transform Us

Since the invention of the printing press, books have fed the human animal's irrepressible hunger for truth and meaning. Books offer refuge and companionship during lonely childhoods. The following piece opens the pages of a wonderful collection of essays about why we read and how books transform us from some of the most inspiring humans in our world: artists, writers, scientists, philosophers, entrepreneurs, musicians, and adventurers whose character has been shaped by a life of reading.

Why We Need Appreciation (Not Just Recognition) at Work

Leadership expert Mike Robbins explains the difference between being recognized for performance and genuinely appreciated for who you are.

By Jane Park

Mary Oliver: Instructions for Living A Life

Mary Oliver was one of the most beloved poets of our times. A writer who was dazzled by her daily experience of life, and dazzled the rest of us by telling about it in her poems and essays. She deliberately stayed out of the public eye and what follows is one of her rare interviews -- a conversation with On Being's Krista Tippett. Read on for a glimpse of the remarkable woman who once wrote: "When it's over, I want to say: all my life/I was a bride married to amazement./I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms."

How to Help Students Dealing with Adversity

Education researcher Patricia Jennings explains how teachers can effectively support traumatized kids in their classrooms.

By Patricia Jennings

Six-year-old Jada feels a persistent expectation of danger. She overreacts to provocative situations and has difficulty managing her emotions, which often flare up without warning. To her teachers, Jada appears touchy, temperamental, and aggressive. She is easily frustrated, which makes her susceptible to bullying. When something happens at school that triggers Jada, she may lash out in fury.

How can teachers manage a kid like Jada who may have suffered trauma, but whose emotional reactions make it difficult for her to learn? Not by getting angry, for sure. That would just trigger her, because she’s hypersensitive to criticism.

In my new book, The Trauma-Sensitive Classroom, I present key, alternative strategies teachers and schools can use to help kids who’ve experienced trauma to do better in school. I’ve found that when teachers recognize the …