If your weather is anything like Seattle's right now, youneed toget outside. It is glorious. And it's healthy.
Any physical activity is beneficial for our minds and bodies, especially when so many of us spend so much of our day sitting in front of screens (for work or for fun). But being outdoors is particularly rewarding.
Of course there's the views, the vitamin D from sunlight, the fresh air, the chance social interactions, local wildlife and flora. Those delights are obvious, even if quickly forgotten.
But did you also know that serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate one’s mood, rises when you are outdoors? Runners who run outdoors are less anxious or depressed than those who run indoors on a treadmill. They also have improved levels of post-exercise endorphins, those feel-good brain chemicals associated with "runner’s high."
Exposure to nature helps in the reduction of pain...
There are many potential contributing factors to illness in a human body. Recent research is pointing to childhood trauma as one of those factors - affecting health and wellbeing long after the trauma has taken place. The following article lays out some sound reasoning and research for including childhood trauma in consideration for treatment, and as an argument for giving more attention to children and youth in recovering from traumatic events.
We hardly need convincing. We all know that exercise is beneficial in so many ways. Yet we rarely commit to even incremental increases in our physical activity... if we can help it, or until a doctor prescribes it as part of treatment for disease.
Well, I am not your doctor. Chances are I'm not even your coach. But I am prescribing more exercise for you right now. No matter what your ailment is, almost certainly you can benefit from a few more minutes of elevated activity. Let me explain how.
This is Part One of a two-part series detailing how exercise affects our whole selves. This post will explore the manifold blessings of exercise for the body. (The second part will focus on the brain.)
First, exercise - even moderately elevated activity - helps to improve mobility and prevent falls. Daily exercise strengthens the muscles that hold the bones together making the body structure stronger. Th...
If the answer isn't just one thing, or your answer has changed over the course of your life, you might be what TED speaker Emilie Wapknik calls "multipotentiality:" people with lots of different ideas, passions, ambitions... people who live several lifetimes in the space of just one.
In this memorable TED talk you may find affirmation of who you have always been, or encouragement to be something (new?) you want to be.
Our hearts are deeply important to us - both physically and symbolically (or psycho-emotionally). Is it any wonder that this organ that is so integral to our wellbeing, health and activity is also the symbolic seat of emotions like love, care, empathy? If I may wax poetic, I think there is something to be learned by exploring the biology of the heart metaphorically.
The heart has two sides, two parallel functions that work in tandem to achieve ends as opposite as they are essential. One side sends freshly oxygenated blood to the body, full of nutrients and energy. The other side takes blood full of toxins, waste and carbon dioxide to be cleaned and restored. Blood full of life and energy, and blood full of waste and poison pass within millimeters of each other, moved by the same organ to both nourish and maintain our body. This one organ does both, and they are in fact integrally linked.
Our heart - the symbolic seat of our most powerful emoti...
A new study confirms the already well-documented link between eating a lot of meat and increased risk of disease and earlier death. That seems extreme, I know, but there's both good science behind it and a silver lining.
The bad news: red meat particularly is closely associated with a wide spectrum of chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
The good news: replacing animal protein with plant protein is equally associated with a decreased risk of death. (Death is, of course, inevitable. But beefing up your plant intake can both forestall that inevitability and make the intervening years more pleasurable.)
An added benefit of relying more on plants for our nutritional needs is that, generally, the North American diet consumes way too much protein, and that generally comes from high meat intake. Plants do have protein (and not just beans or legumes), but they have less protein per volume than...
Common experience is being confirmed by scientific research that when we are happy we are more productive. More surprising, perhaps, is that the inverse is also true: we are happier when we are more productive.
Once we are convinced that there is a causal connection between productivity and happiness (both ways), the real question is how do we make that happen more often? It isn't just magic or chance. We can actually induce this cycle of happiness-productivity, in virtually any task or work.
"Mindfulness" is a buzz word that really means "paying close attention to what is happening righ...
The root of the word "health" is "whole." Which kind of makes sense.
In many ancient worldviews, disease or corruption or even evil weren't so much distinct entities in themselves, but were rather a fall from the original and good whole. Augustine of Hippo, that famed North African Christian Saint and philosopher of the third century, used the analogy of a hole in a shirt: the hole, while bad, isn't itself a thing, but the absence of the shirt. He was working toward a description of evil and sin as being various degrees of "without God," and he represents one ancient application among many of this wholeness-worldview.
The running assumption of this holistic worldview is that health and wellness are the norm, the expectation, the way things are supposed to be, and that disease or illness represents a disruption of that wholeness, an imbalance, if you will.
When my wife and I were pregnant with our first child, we were living in th...