Hope is not optimism

Even when you know that prospects are grim, hope can help. It’s not just a feeling, but a way to step into the future David B Feldman is the J Thomas and Kathleen L McCarthy Professor in the Department of Counseling Psychology at Santa Clara University in California. He hosts the KPFA Radio programme About Health and the podcast Psychology in 10 Minutes, and has co-authored books including The End-of-Life Handbook (2007) and Supersurvivors: The Surprising Link Between Suffering and Success (2014). Benjamin W Corn is professor of oncology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, deputy director of the Cancer Center and head of the Radiotherapy Unit … Continue reading Hope is not optimism

How an Aboriginal approach to mental health is helping farmers deal with drought

Psychological tools developed with Aboriginal people can also support Australian farmers whose land is suffering the effects of climate change. By Georgina Kenyon Acoal truck roars past, stirring up red dust that blows over the famished cattle and sheep lying in grassless paddocks. The carcasses of dead kangaroos lie next to empty water troughs. There is no birdsong. Some say it has been the worst drought in a century here across the central and eastern part of Australia. As in other parts of the world, climate change and land clearing are driving soaring temperatures and extreme weather events, including heatwaves and … Continue reading How an Aboriginal approach to mental health is helping farmers deal with drought

I Have Pancreatic Cancer, and I’ve Defied the Odds—Here’s What’s Helped Me

COURTESY OF TERI CETTINA This is what a journey into the world of off-label cancer treatment looks like. By Teri CettinaJan In September 2018, the pain in my ribs and back erupted almost overnight. I ignored it at first, sure that I had done too many abdominal exercises at the gym. When the pain persisted for a few weeks, I went to my doctor. She was a bit concerned, but all my blood and urine tests came back normal. Two months later, the pain intensified and started waking me at night. I made an appointment with a physical therapist. Within 10 … Continue reading I Have Pancreatic Cancer, and I’ve Defied the Odds—Here’s What’s Helped Me

Existential Comfort Without God

Can natural explanations to life’s big questions be as consoling as religious ones? BY TANIA LOMBROZOS Last month, Harvard University named a new Chief Chaplain: Greg Epstein, an atheist. As reported in The New York Times,1 Epstein, the campus humanist chaplain, was unanimously elected to “coordinate the activities of more than 40 university chaplains, who lead the Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, and other religious communities on campus.” Perusing the hundreds of reader comments generated by the Times article revealed broad support. While some questioned whether an atheist could be a “real” chaplain, others suggested that appointing a humanist was a clever move—a way to … Continue reading Existential Comfort Without God

The worldly turn

After generations of ‘blackboard economics’, Berkeley and MIT are leading a return to economics that studies the real world Tom Bergin is an investigative financial journalist for Reuters. His work has prompted parliamentary inquiries and won numerous awards in Britain, the United States and Asia. He is the author of Spills and Spin: The Inside Story of BP (2011) and Free Lunch Thinking: How Economics Ruins the Economy (2021). He lives in London. For the workers who are curious why their wages have not increased in the past decade – while the incomes of some, such as footballers, have soared – the Bank of … Continue reading The worldly turn

Psychosomatic illness: Are some diseases caused by our memories?

KEY TAKEAWAYS Psychosomatic disorders are diseases with no apparent biological cause, and they often include a strong memory or emotional component as a trigger.  When triggered, neurons of the insular cortex are responsible for reactivating a “remembered” immune response, causing psychosomatic symptoms.   Suppressing these neurons can immediately reduce the severity of the disease. The brain appears to remember immune responses, and memories can trigger them to happen again. This might explain some psychosomatic illnesses. by Peter Rogers The man next to you coughs. You remember it is flu season. Your throat begins to feel a little itchy, and your body … Continue reading Psychosomatic illness: Are some diseases caused by our memories?

The meaning of anger

Is anger like energy, forever changing form but never dissipating, or part of our repertoire of desires, the cry of a need unmet? by Josh Cohen is a psychoanalyst in private practice and professor of modern literary theory at Goldsmiths University of London. His books include How to Read Freud (2005), Not Working (2019) and How to Live. What To Do. (2021). Apsychoanalytic consulting room is a crucible for a rich array of emotions. But perhaps none appears more insistently as anger, nor in so many guises. For example, a woman finds her apparently inexplicable rage against her partner manifesting in asthmatic attacks so severe she … Continue reading The meaning of anger

You Can’t Simply Decide to Be a Different Person

Forming new habits isn’t impossible, but it’s much easier for some people than others. By Amanda Mull When I was a kid, my dad did something on family vacations that perplexes me to this day: He ran. Every day, at least four or five miles, rising before the sun and before anyone else was awake. He wasn’t training for anything. He wasn’t trying to lose weight. There was no specific goal, no endpoint, no particular reason he couldn’t take the week off while in the greater Disney World metropolitan area, which, in July, is hotter than the surface of the sun. … Continue reading You Can’t Simply Decide to Be a Different Person

Years Lived Alone And / Or Serial Break-UPS Strongly Linked to Inflammation in Men

Summary: Men who spend several years living alone or experience serial relationship breakups are at increased risk of inflammation, a new study reports. Source: BMJ Living alone for several years and/or experiencing serial relationship break-ups are strongly linked to raised levels of inflammatory markers in the blood–but only in men–finds a large population study published online in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. Although the inflammation was classified as low grade, it was persistent, and most likely indicates a heightened risk of age-related ill health and death, suggest the researchers. Divorce and committed relationship break-ups, which are often followed by a potentially … Continue reading Years Lived Alone And / Or Serial Break-UPS Strongly Linked to Inflammation in Men

The Waste Age

Recognising that waste is central, not peripheral, to everything we design, make and do is key to transforming the future Justin McGuirk is the chief curator at the Design Museum in London. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The Guardian and e-flux, among many others. He is the author of Radical Cities: Across Latin America in Search of a New Architecture (2014). The opposition between ‘nature’ and ‘culture’ is problematic for many reasons, but there’s one that we rarely discuss. The ‘nature vs culture’ dualism leaves out an entire domain that properly belongs to neither: the world of waste. The mountains of waste … Continue reading The Waste Age