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Elemental
Your life, sourced by science. A publication from Medium about health and wellness.

Happiness

In Elemental. More on Medium.

The Nuance

Novel, complex, and perspective-changing experiences are undervalued parts of a satisfying life

Imagine that you’re stuck in a room by yourself, and your only entertainment is a short movie clip — played over and over again.

That was the setup for a 2015 study led by researchers in the Netherlands. For one hour, people in the study sat alone at a table…


Age Wise

Once the slump of midlife is in the rearview, life opens up

Midlife can be miserable. You know it. I know it. Surveys show it. The pressures of raising a family, finding or keeping a job, paying the bills, dealing with emerging aches and pains — it all adds up.

But better days are ahead. Happiness, often measured as “life satisfaction,” typically…


Age Wise

A little physical activity can trigger a mental makeover

Among the most underrated revelations of modern scientific research is the healing ability and protective power of physical activity. And I’m not talking about fixing your body.

Forget that moving more can help you live longer, avoid debilitating physical conditions or even battle chronic pain. Upping your level of physical…


In the Before Times, I wrote a column called Optimize Me, about the most bizarre things people did to their bodies in the name of health. Occasionally, these “wellness hacks” were scientifically backed, but more often they were misguided and even concerning at times. Some of them were efficiency tricks…


An inside look from scientists working to quantify feelings

Co-authored with Jocelyn Harmon

How are you doing these days?

Take a moment, and really think about it. Is your answer emotional, like “I’m feeling stressed,” or physical, like “I’m feeling worn down”? Or maybe your response falls somewhere on a scale from “abysmal,” let’s say, to “outstanding.”

For most…


The Nuance

Engaging with the unfamiliar can keep mind and body fit. So how to pump up one’s levels of curiosity?

Anyone who has spent time around kids knows that their young minds are powered by curiosity. The average child probably asks more questions in 10 minutes than the average adult does in 10 days. Kids are curiosity personified.

But as people age, their reservoirs of curiosity tend to dry up…


The Nuance

The mysterious nerve network that quiets pain and stress — and may defeat disease

Take a deep breath. Hug a friend. Reach for the ceiling and stretch your limbs. Each of these simple acts bestows a sense of calm and comfort. And each works its soothing magic in part by activating a complicated system of nerves that connects the brain to the heart, the…


A psychologist explains how self-compassion can help you manage chronic worry

Chronic anxiety is a persistent pattern of elevated worry and excessive fear, and it can feel insurmountable to those struggling with it. But if you adopt a new mindset about your anxiety itself, it’s possible to break this cycle. …


The Nuance

Scientists untangle the relationship between effort and emotional payoff

In his 2004 book Authentic Happiness, the University of Pennsylvania psychologist Martin Seligman tells the story of a lizard that won’t eat.

The lizard belonged to one of Seligman’s colleagues. No matter what it was offered — fruit, ground pork, dead flies — the lizard refused to eat. But then…


Go ahead and cancel your membership, you already have the tools you need

If you want to be as healthy as possible, there are no treadmills or weight machines required.

Don’t just take my word for it — look to the longest-lived people in the world for proof.

People in the world’s Blue Zones— the places around the world with the highest life…

Elemental

Your life, sourced by science. A publication from Medium about health and wellness.

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