Listen to this Song to Reduce Your Anxiety

Marconi Union – Weightless (Official Video) from Optical Vitamins on Vimeo.

The song Weightless by the Marconi Union has been proven by neuroscientists to reduce people’s anxiety, and in times like a pandemic we can all get too stressed out. Following in the tradition of ambient music artist the group set out to create an aural atmosphere that welcomed and comforted people. Don’t take my word for it, click play on the video above and relax.

According to Dr. David Lewis-Hodgson of Mindlab International, which conducted the research, the top song produced a greater state of relaxation than any other music tested to date.

Equally remarkable is the fact the song was actually constructed to do so. The group that created “Weightless”, Marconi Union, did so in collaboration with sound therapists. Its carefully arranged harmonies, rhythms, and bass lines help slow a listener’s heart rate, reduce blood pressure and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

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Climaginaries: Understanding the Post-Carbon World

Fiction is an effective tool to picture how others live and what other possibilities exist for humanity. Stories like Star Trek inspire people to strive to make the imaginary real through existing science and technology, so why not do that for the transition to a fossil fuel free economy? That’s exactly what Climaginaries is trying to do. The program searches for the best works of fiction that can help people foresee the benefits of a fossil free future.

Lastly, the project aims at enabling new ways of envisioning transitions to a post-fossil world. In this component we turn to the cultural realm to explore creative ways of producing imaginaries that go beyond conventional climate efforts. Through a series of activities, scholars and artists will be brought together to enable the development of new climate imaginaries. Activities could include, but are not limited to, writing climate fiction based on modelling, and modelling climate fiction based on imaginaries in literature, art, TV-series and cinema. Additionally, we will collaborate with local artist-in-residence to produce innovative forms of new imaginaries. The exact form for this is yet to be decided on, but could include an exhibition, an installation or a theatre performance. The creative characteristic of this component also allows us to study imaginaries outside the common framework such as radical and unsustaianble imaginaries.

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Successful People are “Lazy”

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It’s ok to be lazy.

In fact, incorporating come lazy behaviours into your work might make you more productive. As counter-intuitive as that sounds, it’s true. There are certain tricks that you can easily incorporate into your day to day at work to enhance what you do, even though others might think those tricks are lazy. Sometimes it’s just a matter of saying no to work that isn’t yours to do and other times it’s taking a break.

6. Taking regular vacations.

“If you love what you do, every day is a vacation.” Nice in theory, lousy in practice. Even if you love your job, taking space from the work you do and having your mind elsewhere is essential to break out of the habit patterns that keep you stuck in your work.

In a discussion on travel between journalist Ezra Klein and economist Tyler Cowen, Klein remarked that he often feels exhausted from travel. Cowen responded that he is able to travel so much, because he treats travel with the seriousness most people apply to work. Instead of expecting it to be leisure, he sees it as an opportunity to expand his knowledge.

I agree with Cowen. Travel is not the only way to broaden your mind, but regularly going somewhere new—physically or mentally—is essential to avoid getting stuck in stale habits. Your routines eventually prevent you from discovering creative new solutions. Seeing and discovering new things is essential to prevent becoming inflexible in your thoughts and actions.

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Enjoyment of Life Increases by Deleting Facebook

kids

It’s well known that Facebook is bad for your mental health, and let’s be honest it’s likely bad for humanity at large. The engineers at Facebook purposefully create algorithms to get you hooked on the site and exploit your emotions so you spend more time on the site. Why? So they can sell your data to advertisers. This all combines to make an experience that feels good at the time, but is ultimately bad for you (like junk food). People who left Facebook report lower levels of depression and improved we’ll-being.

If deleting Facebook is too much for you, just reduce your use of the site. Trust me, once you stop regularly checking it you won’t miss it.

People who deactivated Facebook as part of the experiment were happier afterward, reporting higher levels of life satisfaction and lower levels of depression and anxiety. The change was modest but significant — equal to about 25 to 40 percent of the beneficial effect typically reported for psychotherapy.

Why are people willing to pay so much money for something that reduces their happiness? One possibility is that social media acts like an addictive drug — in fact, the people Allcott et al. paid to deactivate Facebook ended up using it less after the experiment was over. But another possibility is that people use services like Facebook because they’re compelled by motivations other than the pursuit of happiness.

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Gender Inclusive Design for our Built Environment

Architects generally want people to feel comfortable around their buildings or interior spaces; however, architects aren’t perfect and may overlook some simple design solutions that can put people at ease. The World Bank Group has released a handbook for urban planners, architects, and anybody shaping our physical environment to use when making (or renovating) spaces. The handbook is all about designing for all genders and ensuring that the built environment is useful and welcoming to all regardless of their gender.

Urban planning and design quite literally shape the environment around us — and that environment, in turn, shapes how we live, work, play, move, and rest. This handbook aims to illuminate the relationships between gender inequality, the built environment, and urban planning and design; and to lay out a menu of simple, practicable processes and best practices for urban planning and design projects that build more inclusive cities – for men and women, for those with disabilities, and for those who are marginalized and excluded.

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