Can kindness, love, and a strong sense of community actually make you healthier and happier? Research says that it does. A 1978 study looking at the link between high cholesterol and heart health in rabbits determined that kindness made the difference between a healthy heart and a heart attack.
Kelli Harding, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center, revisits that research and other ground-breaking discoveries in her new book, The Rabbit Effect: Live Longer, Happier, and Healthier with the Groundbreaking Science of Kindness. She joined the Knowledge@Wharton radio show on Sirius XM to talk about the intangible factors behind good health and how a little kindness can go a long way.
Another aspect of my personal good fortune is the continuing popularity of interviews I have done.
Thus, it is with great pride that I present the most recent airing (October 24, 2019) ofSurviving Cancer: Personal Glimpses of Resilience. Hosted by Dr. Suzanne B. Phillips:
“In this episode Professor Joel Evans, Patricia Malone, and Dave Berger will share personal glimpses of their diagnosis, treatment and survival from cancer. You will hear about the impact of diagnosis, the role of family and friends. The question of stigma and the response of colleagues. You will hear about the expected and unexpected, the trust in medical teams and the personal factors that each drew upon to keep on going at the roughest of times. These are stories of pain, persistence, fear, gratitude and possibility. These are stories of people who were helped by the wisdom of others who had faced cancer. In this episode, Joel Evans, Patricia Malone and Dave Berger want to pass on their experiences to benefit others. You will not forget them or the resilience they share.”
“People in the Netherlands enjoy the best work-life balance, according to recent findings by theOrganisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Unsurprisingly, the most important aspect for a healthy work-life balance is the amount of time people spend (not) at work, how many people work very long hours, and other factors. The authors of the Better Life Index note that ‘evidence suggests that long work hours may impair personal health, jeopardize safety, and increase stress.'”
“In the Netherlands, only 0.4 percent of employees work very long hours (50 or more hours a week), the third-lowest rate in the OECD, where the average is 11 percent. In comparison, 11.1 percent of American employees work very long hours,. So the United States doesn’t make it in to the top ten ranking. It ranks 27th out of 38 considered countries. Also, the U.S. is the only OECD country without a national paid parental leave policy – although three states do provide leave payments.”The U.S. therefore appears on thechart covering the countries with the worst work-life balance, where it comes in 11th.
“It’s true: laughter is strong medicine. It draws people together in ways that trigger healthy physical and emotional changes in the body. Laughter strengthens your immune system, boosts mood, diminishes pain, and protects you from the damaging effects of stress. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hope, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert. It also helps you release anger and forgive sooner.”
With this in mind, we present a few infographics on the benefits of laughter. Enjoy! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
“After my collapse from sleep deprivation and exhaustion in 2007, I became more and more passionate about the connection between well-being and performance. And as I went around the world speaking about my experience, I saw two things: First, that we’re facing a stress and burnout epidemic. And second, that people deeply want to change the way they work and live… That’s why I launched Thrive Global – to go beyond raising awareness and create something real and tangible that would help individuals, companies, and communities improve their well-being and performance and unlock their greatest potential. At Thrive Global, helping you achieve these goals is our mission and our passion.”
Here’s one example of a recent Thrive Global article. “How to Reap the Mental Benefits of a Vacation Without Actually Going on One.” Click the image to read it.
Meditative Story Podcasts
Recently, Thrive Global became a partner for a new Web site intended to reduce stress:
“Meditative Storyis a completely new kind of listening experience that blends intimate first-person stories with mindfulness prompts, enveloped in beautiful music composition. Every week, subscribers will receive a new Meditative Story from a storyteller who will transport listeners to the time and place where everything changed for them — a story that may be deeply relatable to the listener’s own life. As the story unfolds, mindfulness guide Rohan Gunatillake (founder of the popular Buddhify meditation app) offers prompts to calm the mind, and help listeners connect with their own observations.”
“The entire experience is elevated by gorgeous music. Shifting between music and vibration, the exquisite sound design rides above the narrative, bringing each Meditative Story to life and giving subscribers the head space to feel restored and refreshed. Meditative Story is a WaitWhat original series — created by the team who built and led TED’s media organization — in close partnership with Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global. The series is made possible with generous support from Salesforce.”
“A mesmerizing story about the wisdom and delight you can find — even in the midst of tragic loss — by seeing life and death through the eyes of a child. Storyteller Lucy Kalanithi is the widow of Paul Kalanithi, who wrote the best-selling memoir When Breath Becomes Air, published posthumously in 2016. This story is a coda to his memoir.”
Have a healthy and happy Labor Day. Look at the fun infographic.
For our blog, we always look for uplifting and health-related topics to discuss. It may seem that Labor Day is off topic. But, it really isn’t. It gives those who are working one last long weekend to enjoy as the summer break ends. And because of the greater recognition of workers’ well-being, there are better safety conditions, fewer work hours per week, and healthy activities sponsored by more firms than when Labor Day first started as a holiday. More than 135 years ago!!! Today, rejuvenating ourselves on Labor Day is a good goal. 🙂
“Labor Day in the 21st century is all about beaches, BBQs, ballgames, and buying things. This year, for example, 25% of Americans plan to get out of town for Labor Day weekend. More than 102 million will enjoy a cookout. Thousands will pack college football stadiums. And the average Labor Day weekend shopper will spend $58 in the process, according toWalletHub’s survey.”
“But it hasn’t always been that way. Labor Day’s roots can be traced back to the streets of 1880s New York City, where rival union leaders joined forces to protest the unfair labor practices that plagued industry at the time. This is not meant to take the wind from your sails as you enjoy one last dip in the summer sun. Rather, these Labor Day facts may help you cherish the holiday even more. Its place on the calendar is uniquely American – most other countries celebrate labor in May. And there’s ample reason for celebration, considering the industrial fatality rate has fallen by roughly 78% since the early 1900s.”
“So, WalletHub gathered the most entertaining, educational Labor Day facts we could find to create this infographic.”
As we have noted before, happiness is a key goal for all of us. Regardless of our stage in life or physical condition. In fact, happiness can affect our physical feelings by reducing our angst (anxiety). For example, seeLiving Better and Being Happierand Life Is Too Short to Hold Grudges.Today, we consider influences on happiness.
“Humans spend billions of dollars every year looking for happiness. Many of us seek happiness in all sorts of places, hoping it might be bought or found. Others expect people close to them to make them happy.”
“Yet, there is lots of research that proves this is a waste of time (not to mention money). True contentment is closer than you think. We often think it’s our life circumstances — problems, issues, setbacks, tragedies, and misfortunes that make us unhappy. And that if we could change those obstacles, our circumstances would be different, and we will finally be happy. We easily assign the cause of our unhappiness to these external factors.”
“It turns out, it’s not our circumstances that make us happy or unhappy. According to research, we’re happiest when thought and action are aligned, even if they’re only aligned to do the simplest of tasks.”
“Your happiness is not dependent on where you live, what you can afford, a better career or relationship but from your cultivating a healthy and balanced state of mind.”