Celebrate Silence for a Clear Mind

desert and stars

For a healthy body and mind one ought to embrace silence. It turns out that silence is really helpful for our minds and can bring health benefits. The research into how good silence is for us is still up and coming but the results are looking good! Indeed, silence is so golden that Finland has even modified their tourism campaign to reflect the appeal of quietness.

So we like silence for what it doesn’t do—it doesn’t wake, annoy, or kill us—but what does it do? When Florence Nightingale attacked noise as a “cruel absence of care,” she also insisted on the converse: Quiet is a part of care, as essential for patients as medication or sanitation. It’s a strange notion, but one that researchers have begun to bear out as true.

The blank pauses that Bernardi considered irrelevant, in other words, became the most interesting object of study. Silence seemed to be heightened by contrasts, maybe because it gave test subjects a release from careful attention. “Perhaps the arousal is something that concentrates the mind in one direction, so that when there is nothing more arousing, then you have deeper relaxation,” he says.

Read more.

Preventive Care is Really Effective for a Healthy Population

Canadian researchers have concluded that the best way to prolong the lives of individuals within a society is to spend on social services. Traditionally, governments spend on health care to improve the health of individuals, but the problem is that the health system is reactive. The health system is really good at healing people, however, it doesn’t preventive problems from happening in the first place. If societies focused on spending on programs that help people stay healthy then their money can go a lot further to helping people.

“More social spending was associated with a more positive outcome. Life expectancy went up and potentially avoidable mortality went down,” Dutton said in an interview. “Places where social spending didn’t keep up with health spending missed out on those gains.”

“If governments spent one cent more on social services per dollar spent on health by rearranging money between the two portfolios, life expectancy could have experienced an additional 5-per-cent increase and potentially avoidable mortality could have experienced an additional 3-per-cent decrease in one year,” Dutton said.

Read more.

Lower Murder Rates by Rising Equality


The for most part murder rates have been dropping around the world, which in itself is good news, yet we can do better. New research is concluding that inequality rates are a major factor in murders, particularly in the USA. This means that by making the world better be reducing inequality we can also reduce murder rates. Inequality is a big issue for our times and this is even more evidence that we need to do everything in our power to reduce poverty.

The connection is so strong that, according to the World Bank, a simple measure of inequality predicts about half of the variance in murder rates between American states and between countries around the world. When inequality is high and strips large numbers of men of the usual markers of status – like a good job and the ability to support a family – matters of respect and disrespect loom disproportionately.

Inequality predicts homicide rates “better than any other variable”, says Martin Daly, professor emeritus of psychology and neuroscience at McMaster University in Ontario and author of Killing the Competition: Economic Inequality and Homicide.

Read more.
Thanks to Delaney!

Feeling Stiff? Squat!


Hang loose my friends, it’ll help you live longer. Staying limber can help you not only feel young but live more life. A simple way to figure out if you should go to yoga (or stretch more) is to trying squatting. Go ahead and try it now. Don’t worry if you’re not good at it as many of us are pretty bad squatters.

Let’s all try to be better squatters in life.

“You really don’t understand human bodies until you realize how important these postures are,” Beach, who is based in Wellington, New Zealand, tells me. “Here in New Zealand, it’s cold and wet and muddy. Without modern trousers, I wouldn’t want to put my backside in the cold wet mud, so [in absence of a chair] I would spend a lot of time squatting. The same thing with going to the toilet. The whole way your physiology is built is around these postures.”

A healthy musculoskeletal system doesn’t just make us feel lithe and juicy, it also has implications for our wider health. A 2014 study in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found that test subjects who showed difficulty getting up off the floor without support of hands, or an elbow, or leg (what’s called the “sitting-rising test”) resulted in a three-year-shorter life expectancy than subjects who got up with ease.

Read more.

European Cities Announce Bans on Fossil Fuel Vehicles

small car
It’s no shock that cars are bad for health, what is shocking is that we continue to build cities to support automobiles. This is changing in some European cities and hopefully the idea will spread. Quite a few large cities in Europe are outright banning cars that use consume fossil fuels in the coming years (so residents with cars have a chance to get rid of their car). As the linked article says, ‘It’s not a human right to pollute the air for others’, we need massive change in how we treat polluters in cities.

Paris will ban all petrol- and diesel-fuelled cars by 2030, a decade ahead of France’s 2040 target. Copenhagen plans to ban diesel cars from 2019, while Oxford has proposed banning all non-electric vehicles from its centre from 2020. This would make central Oxford the world’s first zero-emissions zone, officials believe.

Sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans, including hybrids, will be banned in the UK from 2040.

Read more.
Thanks to Delaney!