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Happiest Helping Together

“John Helliwell, emeritus professor of economics at UBC and co-director of a CIFAR panel looking into Social Interactions, Identity and Wellbeing, was at Harvard yesterday summarizing his and others’ recent research on happiness research, with special attention to the social context of well-being. He observed that the amount of data and experimentation regarding happiness research is…
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The Americanization of Mental Health

A very interesting article in The New York Times, by Ethan Watters, describe’s how the US’s view of mental health is homogenising mental health:

“For more than a generation now, we in the West have aggressively spread our modern knowledge of mental illness around the world. We have done this in the name of science, believing that our approaches reveal the biological basis of psychic suffering and dispel prescientific myths and harmful stigma. There is now good evidence to suggest that in the process of teaching the rest of the world to think like us, we’ve been exporting our Western “symptom repertoire” as well. That is, we’ve been changing not only the treatments but also the expression of mental illness in other cultures. Indeed, a handful of mental-health disorders — depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and anorexia among them — now appear to be spreading across cultures with the speed of contagious diseases. These symptom clusters are becoming the lingua franca of human suffering, replacing indigenous forms of mental illness.”

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Nurturing Relationships

There is a very insightful article in the Guardian about how important Christmas is for nurturing our relationships with friends and family. Using some data from the new report by the Young Foundation Sinking and swimming: understanding Britain’s unmet needs, the article points to the increase in anxiety and depression and how important a renewed…
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This Emotional Life

This Emotional Life is a three-part series that explores improving our social relationships, learning to cope with depression and anxiety, and becoming more positive, resilient individuals. Harvard psychologist and best-selling author of Stumbling on Happiness, Professor Daniel Gilbert, talks with experts about the latest science on what makes us “tick” and how we can find…
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Exercise Builds a Calmer Brain

We’ve known for a long time that exercise reduces stress … but new research on rats
described in The New York Times
 is showing that exercise actually builds calmer brains.

“It looks more and more like the positive stress of exercise prepares cells and structures and pathways within the brain so that they’re more equipped to handle stress in other forms,” says Michael Hopkins, a graduate student affiliated with the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory Laboratory at Dartmouth, who has been studying how exercise differently affects thinking and emotion. “It’s pretty amazing, really, that you can get this translation from the realm of purely physical stresses to the realm of psychological stressors.”

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Bringchange2mind

Glenn and Jessie Close have launched a really interesting new mental health campaign called bringchange2mind.

“1 in 6 adults and almost 1 in 10 children suffer from a diagnosable mental illness. Yet, for many, the stigma associated with the illness, can be as great a challenge as the disease itself. This is where the misconceptions stop. This is where bias comes to an end. This is where we change lives. Because this is where we Bring Change 2 Mind.”

Relationships are the only things that matter

For the first time, a journalist, Joshua Wolshenk, has been given access to the archives of one of the most comprehensive longitutudinal studies in history. For 72 years, researchers at Harvard have been following 268 men who entered college in the late 1930s through war, career, marriage and divorce, parenthood and grandparenthood, and old age….
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