Depression, Happiness, mental health

Nature Is Good For You (But You Knew That Already)

OK. I’m reaching back a month or two here, but it’s worth repeating: “Nature is good for you.” Now we have the (cognitive neuro-) science to prove it:

In the past several months, a bevy of studies have added to a growing literature on the mental and physical benefits of spending time outdoors. That includes recent research showing that short micro-breaks spent looking at a nature scene have a rejuvenating effect on the brain — boosting levels of attention — and also that kids who attend schools featuring more greenery fare better on cognitive tests.

And Monday, yet another addition to the literature arrived — but this time with an added twist. It’s a cognitive neuroscience study, meaning not only that benefits from a nature experience were captured in an experiment, but also that their apparent neural signature was observed through brain scans. Continue reading

Depression, Poetry

Across The Universe: A Dialogue About Entropy, Obsolescence, & All That

early universe

An email arrives from across the world describing a place I’ve been.

It says:

I don’t have anywhere I have to be. The skies are curling cold and light diminishing. Boxes of empty carbs vanish (again?) while the pulse of the situational comedy races. (Too fast, each laugh. Too fast, one to the next.) A window unit blasts lukewarm air as the cold seeps in through the walls. Into the couch with its chilled cushions, slumping against implacable cats, I am immobile. Something to do, my body requests. A reason, the mind moans. And I can’t find either today. I know the shoulds. Would that I would. Continue reading

Climate Change, Depression

Environmental Destruction, Activism, and Cultivating Mental Resiliency

green boats

[I realized after posting this on my environmental site, harman on earth, that there may be more generalized lessons to take away for those who suffer from any/all the forms of mental intensity (as my parter prefers to call mental illness). Enjoy.] 

Responding emotionally and honestly to the sometimes overwhelming challenges of our times takes an inevitable toll. Sometimes the psychological distress that builds inside us as our knowledge of the ramifications of our destabilized climate system grows is eased by action. Participating in a public protest can be experienced as a relief valve being wrenched open at last, diffusing the toughness that has begun to collect in our body.

Sometimes action only seems to encumber us all the more as the apparent futility is drilled deeper into our hearts and minds with each failed national or international gathering. With each new heavy-crude victory. With each shamefully sculpted news report endorsing the status quo.

An awakened life is a hard one by definition. Systems of support are required. Continue reading