Medley

Obituary to Pisces

Tim Wyatt – England

Medley TW 2 Tim with cats

Tim petting some (Greek) cats

As we reach the end of the first quarter of the first century of this still new-ish millennium, one of the few remaining certainties is that we live in a world riddled with total uncertainty. The only sure bet is that we’ll almost certainly continue to be hit between the eyes by major upheavals of one sort or another. Chaotic leitmotifs predominate. The key uncertainty is whether this will be a path to regeneration or a road to perdition. Whatever our trajectory no doubt the new crunch-point or cataclysm will be dished up in some exotic new variety we haven’t come across before. And it will probably scare the hell out of us.

Read more: Obituary to Pisces

Meditation training can support wellbeing in older adults

Medley med 2 two older adults meditating

Following an 18-month meditation programme can improve the wellbeing of older adults, finds a new randomized controlled trial by an international team co-led by UCL. (University College London)

The findings, published in PLOS ONE, show that meditation can improve people's awareness, connection to others, and insight.

While the meditation training did not confer significant benefits on two commonly used measures of psychological wellbeing and quality of life, the researchers say their findings may reveal limitations in existing methods of tracking wellbeing.

Read more: Meditation training can support wellbeing in older adults

Suicide by Modernism

Tim Wyatt – England

MEDLEY TW 2

The author

As I reach a certain late stage in my life, I have a confession to make. I detest virtually all aspects of the modern world. It’s not just because I’m getting old and grumpy. And I know that I’m not alone in this loathing.

Those of us in the twilight of our current bodily existence can feel fortunate – or perhaps otherwise – for experiencing the most aggressively rapid advancement the world has ever seen. We’ve witnessed consecutive decades of greater wealth, longevity and scientific progress than our ancestors ever did. Healthcare, social justice and communications have all witnessed radical transformation. Yes, I’m the first to admit that there have been huge benefits.

Read more: Suicide by Modernism

Combine mindfulness with exercise for mental health boost in 2024

Medley MFN 2

New research shows how combining mindfulness with exercise boosts people's mental health and well-being and could help change exercise habits

For people looking to start 2024 with a new routine to feel fitter and happier, a new study from the University of Bath suggests that combining mindfulness with exercise could be your key to success.

A study, published in the academic journal Mental Health and Physical Activity, suggests that life changes which combine both physical activity and mindfulness are most effective at lifting mood and improving health and wellbeing.

Both physical activity and mindfulness practice have well established psychological benefits.However, by reviewing existing research studies, this is one of the first to show how the positive effects can be increased when the two are combined.

Read more: Combine mindfulness with exercise for mental health boost in 2024

Dancing to a Different Rhythm: A Southern Hemisphere Perspective of the Sacred Seasons

Esther Pockrandt – Australia

Medley Esther 2 The Wheel of the Year SH

The Wheel of the Year, Southern Hemisphire

[Friday December 22, 2023]

It is dark outside. It is 4 am. Pre-dawn and far away calls of kookaburras break the night silence from across the distant hills.  The eager call of a currawong trying to get a foot grip on the wet tin roof chimes in, letting the world know nature is waking up.  A possum Mum scurries hastily yet sure-footed across the spines of roofs, from foraging overnight in nearby bushes and trees for fruit, leaves and nectar, like a tight rope walker with a piggy-backed young one, balancing on the electric wires that connect homes to poles, and more poles to homes, hurrying to bed and sleep in a tree hollow somewhere, before the hot sun strikes. The whip birds are still dozing. The drip of remnant rain from leaves of last night’s storms provides that silent drip-drip drone as the dark of the night fades barely noticeable into promise of more light in the east…not quite yet, but soon.  And ‘soon’ comes, and so it is.  Yet there is no colourful sunrise this morning.  The drip-drip from leaves turns to gentle but steady rain again. It is a wondrous new, moist dawn on this special day, an unseasonal, welcome relief from the scorching heat over the past week and a respite from the threat of bushfires, parched cracking earth … for now. 

Read more: Dancing to a Different Rhythm: A Southern Hemisphere Perspective of the Sacred Seasons

Being a vegetarian may be partly in your genes

Medley Being 2 mental vegetarian

Large study found three genes strongly linked to vegetarianism

A person's genetic makeup plays a role in determining whether they can stick to a strict vegetarian diet, a new study has found. The findings open the door to further studies that could have important implications regarding dietary recommendations and the production of meat substitutes.

From Impossible Burger to "Meatless Mondays," going meat-free is certainly in vogue. But a person's genetic makeup plays a role in determining whether they can stick to a strict vegetarian diet, a new Northwestern Medicine study has found.

Read more: Being a vegetarian may be partly in your genes

The Ritual

Ananya Sri Ram – USA  

Medley ASR 2

Akitu Festival: A Celebration of New Beginnings in Ancient Mesopotamia

There are little anecdotes in a calendar I have. The most recent one is about a ritual called “The Trial of the King” that supposedly took place in ancient Mesopotamia during the Akitu festival. The festival was to appease the gods and for the ruler to show humility. (It must be noted that I could find anything that mentions whether this was historically true, parts of the anecdote don’t seem to fit, but the sentiment is something to reflect upon.)

Read more: The Ritual

Where do we feel love?

 Medley Love 2 where do we feel love

New research sheds light on where and how we feel different kinds of love.

Researchers at Aalto University have made a map of where in the body different types of love are felt and how strongly they are experienced.

Read more: Where do we feel love?

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