Food for thought (11/7/2021)
Breath, status anxiety, dogs, and the concept of time.
Sending you lots of love from Brooklyn, NY. This is my first time in Brooklyn, and the vibe is electric. The streets are alive and the weather crisp. You can almost feel the winter on your skin.
I am excited to share a few of my findings from this past month that made me pause, reflect and think of things in a slightly new way. I hope you enjoy them all.
What I've been reading:
Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art - No matter what you eat, how much you exercise, how skinny or young or wise you are, none of it matters if you’re not breathing properly.
“There is nothing more essential to our health and well-being than breathing: take air in, let it out, repeat twenty-five thousand times a day. Yet, as a species, humans have lost the ability to breathe correctly, with grave consequences.
Journalist James Nestor travels the world to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it. The answers aren’t found in pulmonology labs, as we might expect, but in the muddy digs of ancient burial sites, secret Soviet facilities, New Jersey choir schools, and the smoggy streets of São Paulo. Nestor tracks down men and women exploring the hidden science behind ancient breathing practices like Pranayama, Sudarshan Kriya, and Tummo and teams up with pulmonary tinkerers to scientifically test long-held beliefs about how we breathe.
Modern research is showing us that making even slight adjustments to the way we inhale and exhale can jump-start athletic performance; rejuvenate internal organs; halt snoring, asthma, and autoimmune disease; and even straighten scoliotic spines. None of this should be possible, and yet it is.
Drawing on thousands of years of medical texts and recent cutting-edge studies in pulmonology, psychology, biochemistry, and human physiology, Breath turns the conventional wisdom of what we thought we knew about our most basic biological function on its head. You will never breathe the same again.”
Status anxiety: when striving for success impacts our mental health - “Bored and underpaid at work while colleagues seem to easily move up in their careers, jealous when a friend buys a new car, worried you cannot afford a product everyone around you is raving about…That feeling of being stuck while others around you appear successful is called status anxiety.
Alain de Botton first introduced the term “status anxiety” in 2004. Status anxiety occurs when we compare ourselves to others and fear that we are not meeting society’s standards for success. As a result, we feel trapped in our current economic or social status. This leads to a feeling of shame, which can be detrimental to our mental health.
In the words of Anna Keshabyan and Martin Day from the Department of Psychology at Memorial University of Newfoundland: “Status anxiety is believed to be exacerbated by economic inequality and negatively affects well-being.” However, it is possible to turn the noise down and to focus on what you need to feel successful in life.”
What I've been watching:
Netflix’s Explained Season 3 Episode 4: Man’s Best Friend ‘Dogs’ - Nima (my hubby) and I are thinking of getting a dog - for those of you that know us, you are probably like...jeesh finally! - Well, let me tell you, if we needed a bit more convincing, this episode could not have done a better job.
“Who’s a good dog? They all are! From puppy-dog eyes to feats of heroism, watch this episode to see how canines evolved into humankind’s best friends and sources of pure love.”
What I've been pondering:
“A writer—and, I believe, generally all persons—must think that whatever happens to him or her is a resource. All things have been given to us for a purpose, and an artist must feel this more intensely. All that happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art.”
"Try to imagine a life without timekeeping. You probably can’t. You know the month, the year, the day of the week. There is a clock on your wall or the dashboard of your car. You have a schedule, a calendar, a time for dinner or a movie. Yet all around you, timekeeping is ignored. Birds are not late. A dog does not check its watch. Deer do not fret over passing birthdays. Man alone measures time. Man alone chimes the hour. And, because of this, man alone suffers a paralyzing fear that no other creature endures. A fear of time running out."
Source: Author and journalist Mitch Albom on time in The Time Keeper
I took this photo during one of my daily walks through Prospect Park in Brooklyn. The park is vibrant, full of people running, walking, biking, fishing, playing, and simply enjoying the scenes. Prospect Park was laid out by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, who also helped design Manhattan's Central Park and was opened in 1867.
Until next time,
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