Showing posts from May 10, 2020

How Reading Science Fiction Can Build Resilience in Kids

Science fiction and fantasy gets a bad rap—but recent research suggests it can help kids bounce back from adversity.

Young people who are hooked on watching fantasy or reading science fiction may be on to something. Contrary to a common misperception that reading this genre is an unworthy practice, reading science fiction and fantasy may help young people cope, especially with the stress and anxiety of living through the COVID-19 pandemic.

By Esther Jones

I am a professor with research interests in the social, ethical and political messages in science fiction. In my book Medicine and Ethics in Black Women’s Speculative Fiction, I explore the ways science fiction promotes understanding of human differences and ethical thinking.

While many people may not consider science fiction, fantasy, or speculative fiction to be “literary,” research shows that all fiction can generate critical thinking skills and emotional intelligence for young readers. Science fiction may have a power all its own.


The Value of Being Uncomfortable

'Anyone with any degree of mental toughness ought to be able to exist without the things they like most for a few months at least,' Georgia O'Keeffe, impoverished and solitary in the desert, wrote in considering limitation, creativity, and setting priorities as she was about to revolutionize art while the world was crumbling into its first global war. There are echoes of Stoicism, of Buddhism, of every monastic tradition in O'Keeffes core insight -- that only in the absence of our habitual comforts, without all the ways in which we ordinarily cushion against the hard facts of our own nature and our mortality, do we befriend ourselves and discover what is most alive in us. The contrast, uncomfortable at first, even painful, becomes a clarifying force. Without the superfluous, the essential is revealed.

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How Loneliness Hurts Us and What to Do About It

Former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy’s new book, Together, explores how to combat the problem of loneliness.

When Dr. Vivek Murthy served as the U.S. Surgeon General during part of the Obama and Trump administrations, he became increasingly concerned at how many people across the country were experiencing loneliness. Even in the hubbub of populated cities, many didn’t have close personal relationships, a supportive group of friends, or a sense of belonging within a community, all of which are central to our well-being.

By Jill Suttie

In his new book, Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World, Murthy synthesizes the research on loneliness, giving us a primer on what it is and how it hurts our physical and mental health and decreases our longevity. He also dispenses advice on how to build better relationships and create a more relationship-centered society.

I spoke to him about his book and its implications, both generally and during this time of shelte…

How to Be a Remarkable Boss During Lockdown

Managers need to adapt to coronavirus conditions. Here are some ideas for how to do that.

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, I have received hundreds of emails offering advice, tips, and tools for managers leading teams in this new era of work. One thing is clear: Now is an important time to be extra mindful and intentional as leaders. And there has never been a better time to enact practices that are at the core of the Greater Good Science Center’s mission to support a thriving, resilient, and compassionate society.

By Chris Murchison

Among all the advice streaming through my inbox, five particular practices stood out. They have always been essential management skills, but their interwoven practice now holds outsized potential for impact: support of emotional expression, presence, inquiry, listening, and self-care. I offer them as an opportunity to expand our mindset of leadership as we learn to grow, respond, and improvise with and beyond the coronavirus into our new fut…

Into the Wild World of Mushroom Hunting—the Perfect Social Distancing Activity!

Have you ever looked at a mushroom and wondered, can I eat that? Well, before you decide to take a bite, you might want to meet a few of the guides on today’s adventures. They’ll have you excited to grab your basket and start foraging!

You are now entering the magical land of Mycelium; with king oyster, lions mane, chanterelles, black trumpets, morels, and hen-of-the-woods hidden all around you. Once you learn about their presence, every trip you take to the park or into the woods will leave you searching for treasures in your path!

By Sam Burns

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Health for All: The Journey of Dr. Abhay Bhang

In 1986, when Dr Abhay and Dr Rani Bang decided to adopt Gadchiroli, a tribal village in Maharashtra, India as their home and workplace, the district was infamous for Naxalism, abject poverty, poor infrastructure and abysmal health services. Today, nearly 30 years later the Bangs' model of home-based newborn and child care is now being practiced across India and even in Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and African nations such as Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi and Madagascar. By taking neo-natal care to the doorstep of the poor, they have managed to control infant mortality in the 39 villages where they work. More on their remarkable work in this article.

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Views on a Pandemic

"I write to you now from my home in Seattle, former ground zero of the U.S. coronavirus epidemic, on the fifty-fifth day of our isolation. I write to you nine months pregnant, from the attic bedroom where I fatten on dates meant to hasten the child's arrival, perhaps upon this very bed. It is a rather Victorian confinement, subplot of the quarantine that is pregnancy itself. Friends and acquaintances reach out to say they are sorry, that it must be difficult to be expecting during this time. And it's true that contracting the illness is somewhat more complicated for me. Mainly I fear getting sick enough to need a ventilator and an emergency cesarean. Mainly my fear is not being able to hold and kiss my baby when he's born. Otherwise, my days don't look all that different from my life before. I'm a writer who mostly works from home, accustomed to long stretches of shut-in solitude. I still manage to waddle out for my daily stroll. Pandemic may be, …

How I’m Finding Purpose and Connection in a Pandemic

The coronavirus crisis inspired one millennial to contribute to her communities—and she's not alone.

It was 5 p.m. on Friday, March 13, and I could feel myself slowly beginning to unravel.

By Aanchal Dhar

As a millennial living alone in a small studio in San Francisco, I felt paralyzed when orders to shelter in place went into effect earlier that week, trapped in just 300 square feet for the unforeseeable future.

The coming weeks loomed bleak and lonely, a growing shadow of despair that I knew would engulf so many of us. I was at a loss for what to do next.

My first instinct was to call Kate, a friend in her 60s, who offered some of the best advice I’ve ever received. “Find a way to transform your anxiety into action,” she said.

Maybe it was that simple.

Indeed, research suggests that crises don’t just cause stress and suffering; they can also motivate us to help others and find new, purposeful directions in life. And amid today’s global crisis, that’s exactly what happened to me and…

Gratitude Can Calm Our Urge to Compete with Others

Gratitude could help us get through the pandemic without turning on each other, a new study suggests.

In the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, we are seeing many acts of kindness and even heroism. Neighbors look out for one another by buying groceries or sing songs together. When doctors, nurses, and paramedics ran out of masks, people donated or sewed new ones. 

By Jill Suttie

But not all people act kindly when feeling threatened. There are those who hoard medical supplies or refuse to stay physically distant from others. Sadly, some become more selfish when they think we’re competing against each other for survival.

How can we avoid reacting in self-serving or vindictive ways during the pandemic? A new study suggests that practicing a little gratitude may be useful.

In this study, participants from the National University of Singapore played the “Trucking Game”—a research tool that measures how people bargain or cooperate in conflict situations. In the game, players try to get from poi…

Why Some Doctors Are Using VR Instead of Anesthesia!

Could virtual reality be a form of medicine? For patients who are using VR to help manage their pain and discomfort during minor surgery, it already is! Take a look at the amazing way this technology, originally popular for gaming, is getting a new life in hospitals.

Could there be a medicine that reduces pain and anxiety, replaces anesthesia in minor surgeries, shortens hospital stays, is non-addictive, and non-invasive, all while saving us all a ton of money? Sounds a little too good to be true, right? But it exists! And maybe, you’ve even given it a try before.

By Sam Burns

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Gathering Gratefully in the Time of Coronavirus

"The hardships we face may feel amplified by our increasing need to stay home, isolating ourselves from others in service of the common good. Discovering ways to foster ease, belonging, kindness, and well-being under these circumstances may feel challenging, yet opportunities for nourishment can find their way into our worlds. The gifts of technology can offer us meaningful connection and support as many of us find increasing comfort in even the simple sound of another persons voice over phone or video." From the Gratefulness Team comes this compilation of resources, practices, and reflection questions geared towards supporting grateful gatherings in this new era.

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