Showing posts from September 22, 2019

How Alzheimer's and Other Things Change the Brain

1/14 PTSDWhen you go through something traumatic, your brain triggers a “flight-or-fight” response. Most people recover on their own, but some get posttraumatic stress disorder. PTSD causes your amygdala -- the part of the brain that controls emotions -- to be overactive. And it lowers activity in your prefrontal cortex, a decision-making area. It can also shrink your hippocampus, which forms memories. Swipe to advance 2/14 DepressionDepression doesn’t affect just your mood. The disorder can change your brain. Experts say it lessens activity in some brain areas, including your prefrontal lobes, which are involved with things like reasoning, personality, and judgment. One study found that people who were depressed for more than a decade had about 30% more brain inflammation. This may lead to brain cell loss, which would make memory problems and dementia more likely. Swipe to advance 3/14 StrokeStrokes happen when blood flow to part of your brain stops. They cause permanent brain damage, and…

Talking About Death Is Important; Here's Why

'Good Death': Choosing How to Live and How to Die

By Matt McMillen

Patty Webster heard her mom talk about death. A lot. So often that she and her sisters sometimes had to stop their mother from bringing it up. Her message got through, though.

Before her mom died of a stroke in 2016 at age 73, a previous stroke had already robbed her of her ability to communicate. But her family knew what she wanted at the end of her life because she had made it plain to them. That allowed them to share her wishes with her doctors and others so that she could die as she chose.

“We were her voice,” Webster says. “I didn’t know what a gift all of those talks had been until then.”

Webster works for the Conversation Project, an initiative of the Boston-based Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Founded in 2010, it encourages people to become comfortable talking about the type of care they want -- and don’t want -- at the end of their lives. A survey the group conducted in 2018 found that 95% of America…

Is Your Food Giving You Energy, or Sapping It?

1/13 Food Is Fuel, But …What you eat gives you energy. But some kinds of foods are more like a burst, while other types keep you going longer. Do you know what’s got staying power and what’s a quick hit? Swipe to advance 2/13 "Simple" CarbsThink pasta, white bread, crackers, candy, cookies, and sweets. Food made with lots of sugar or refined white flour don’t have much fiber for your body to break down. This lets sugar get into your bloodstream really fast. You may get a quick burst of energy. But when your blood sugar drops back down, you may feel sluggish. Swipe to advance 3/13 Whole GrainsThese include brown rice, barley, farro, oatmeal (not the instant kind), and whole wheat. You’ll get more fiber in them, which keeps your energy going stronger, longer. Plus, these foods are packed with many nutrients that are good for you. Swipe to advance 4/13 Sugary DrinksThese include sports and energy drinks, regular sodas, and some fruit juice (those with 100% fruit juice are much more nut…

Why Does Bob Ross Continue to Spread So Much Joy?

Why did Bob Ross and his paintings become so famous? How did such a simple show spread so much joy? Let’s take a deeper look at this joyful permed painter and the lives he’s had an impact on!

You may remember the painter Bob Ross from his famed PBS show or his portrayals in pop culture. But, do you know the story of how he came to be the permed happy painter we know and love today? In recent years, he has ascended to internet fame. But why? What makes his legacy so enduring? How is it that he is still spreading joy to this day?

I Couldn't Let Them Die Alone

Sister Helen Prejean is best known for her 1993 memoir, Dead Man Walking, about her role as a spiritual adviser to a convicted killer on death row. The story was adapted into an Oscar-winning film starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn. Prejean has accompanied six prisoners to their executions and has been at the forefront of activism against the death penalty. "In [their] last moments, I was amazed that they're walking," she says. "'Sister, pray that God holds my legs up as I walk.' They take steps. I read scripture to them. ... All I knew was: I couldn't let them die alone." Her new memoir, River of Fire: My Spiritual Journey, tells the story of her life leading up to her awakening to social justice movements in the 1980s.

How to Find Your Purpose as a Special-Needs Family

Building an identity and sense of meaning are important when your child has developmental differences.

By Danielle Hatchimonji, Maurice Elias, Paul LeBuffe

Parenting is a challenge under the best of circumstances. And if you’re raising an exceptional family—when your child has special needs, whether they be medical, cognitive, neurological, behavioral, sensory, or physical—the normal stress of parenting is compounded by an onslaught of additional stress, doubt, and questions. 

Can I learn enough about my child’s needs to support their development? How can I keep myself going while helping my child reach their potential? Will caring for my child’s special needs strain my relationship with my partner or other family members? What will it take to make sure the rest of my family has what they need?

Parents may mourn the loss of the typically developing child they had dreamed of. Siblings may struggle with understanding why their sister or brother receives so much attention, as well as why t…

Protect. Restore. Fund.

Climate activists Greta Thunberg and George Monbiot talk about solutions to the problem of anthropogenic global warming: a combination of leaving fossil fuels in the ground and protecting and restoring living ecosystems like forests, mangroves, swamps and seabeds that can pull enormous quantities of carbon from the air and store them safely, naturally. Current government subsidies around the world enhance the use of fossil fuel. Thunberg and Monbiot advocate for the increase in funding for natural climate solutions so that we can protect and restore the environment for future generations to come. Thunberg and Monbiot, walk their talk. Likewise, this film was made with the smallest environmental impact possible. "We took trains to Sweden to interview Greta, charged our hybrid car at Georges house, used green energy to power the edit and recycled archive footage rather than shooting new," says Tom Mustill of Gripping Films. Everything we do counts. What will you …

Call of the Forest: The Forgotten Wisdom of Trees

"Call of the Forest" is a documentary that follows visionary scientist, conservationist and author, Diana Beresford-Kroeger, on her journey to the most beautiful forests of the northern hemisphere. From the sacred sugi and cedar forests of Japan, the ancient Raheen Wood of Ireland, the walnut and redwood trees of America, to the great boreal forest of Canada, Beresford-Kroeger tells us the amazing stories behind the history and legacy of these ancient forests while also explaining the science of trees and the irreplaceable roles they play in protecting and feeding the planet. Watch the trailer here.

How to Fight Racism Through Inner Work

Rhonda Magee explains how mindfulness-based awareness and compassion is key to racial justice work.

By Jill Suttie

Mindfulness meditation may hold the key to grappling with interpersonal racism, says Rhonda Magee, because it helps people tolerate the discomfort that comes with deeper discussions about race. And it can help cultivate a sense of belonging and community for those who experience and fight racism in our everyday lives.

For more than 20 years, Magee has worked to address issues of race, racism, and identity-based conflict while teaching law at the University of San Francisco. Over the years teaching hundreds of students about the many ways that racism affects law and justice, she came to realize that we can’t just think our way out of racism or other biases—we need to go deeper than intellectual understanding if we are to truly address bias in ourselves and others.

Enter her new book, The Inner Work of Racial Justice, which combines stories and analysis to illuminate recent res…