When a Stress Expert Battles Mental Illness


Mental illness is an illness. It can happen to anybody. A stress expert shares his experience.

Even so, it’s hard to come to terms with an illness that affects my mind. When I injure my body, it’s easy to say “my calf is pulled” or “I have a stress fracture in my heel.” But if I don’t have control over my mind, I can’t help but wonder who am “I.” I’ve found some consolation in meditation, which has helped me realize that perhaps “I” am the awareness that lies underneath not just physical pain, but also thoughts and feelings.

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Brad Stulberg — Outside

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Have you ever felt an inexplicable sadness because you were alone? I felt such a sadness on a weekend when I was in London away from my family during Holi, one of the biggest festivals in India.

We live in a society that admires independence but derides isolation. Yet for many old people the two go hand in hand. Back in the summer of 1960, following the death of his wife, Joy, C.S. Lewis wrote of the agony of becoming a free agent. “I’d like to meet,” he wrote to Peter Bide, the priest who had married them, “for I am – Oh God that I were not – very free now. One doesn’t realise in early life that the price of freedom is loneliness. To be happy is to be tied.” This was exactly Barry’s experience. He finds it hard to say where grief ends and loneliness begins, but together he experienced them as “a penetrating hurt that doesn’t dissipate – a mental thing that becomes physical and robs you of all motivation. I got very near to losing the will to live: despair is always knocking on the door for the lonely.”

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Maggie Fergusson — 1843

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How to Accept Anxious Feelings So You Can Let Them Pass


This last one is the most difficult but the most important. Often anxiety is so painful that we become fascinated, obsessed even, with understanding and solving our worries. We want to get rid of the pain of anxiety as soon as possible.

Sometimes this is useful, as we come up with strategies to manage our emotions, but a lot of the time it validates the power of our anxiety and adds fuel to the fire. The mind will only focus on what it values; if you can manage to become bored with your anxiety, it will loosen its grip on your life.

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Benjamin Fishel — Tiny Buddha

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The Science of Stress and How Our Emotions Affect Our Susceptibility to Burnout and Disease


We all know this intuitively, but ignore the consequences of excess stress.

These effects of stress exist on a bell curve — that is, some is good, but too much becomes bad: As the nervous system secretes more and more stress hormones, performance increases, but up to a point; after that tipping point, performance begins to suffer as the hormones continue to flow. What makes stress “bad” — that is, what makes it render us more pervious to disease — is the disparity between the nervous system and immune system’s respective pace.

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Maria Popova — Brain Pickings

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India’s fight to keep drug prices down


India’s medical system has many flaws but then it has its merits too. Indian generic drug makers have helped many medicines become affordable to the masses. A success story you should read about.

Low drug prices come about only if certain conditions are cultivated. Creating those conditions means tackling both intellectual property barriers and regulatory barriers, both of which happened in India. While Indian generics makers were trying to develop their own version of the drug, advocacy groups — and even some Indian generics makers — were challenging Gilead’s patent claims in Indian court. At the same time, patient groups approached Indian regulators to fast track approval of the drug for sale in the country. It also helped that there was already a public health program in place which would directly stand to benefit if sofosbuvir was approved.

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Huizhong Wu — Undark

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Big Vape is copying Big Tobacco’s playbook


It’s the same tactics over and over again.

So when The Simpsons mocked industry claims that they didn’t market to kids a few years ago, many vapers weren’t amused. In the episode, Bart goes to the Kwik-E-Mart to buy e-cigs, and Apu tells him that while they’re legal for children in their state, “this is not kid stuff.” Then Apu asks, “Now would you like bubble gum flavor, strawberry shortcake, or watermelon dream?” A writer for Vaping360 complained that the show played to “common fears and misconceptions.”

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Liza Gross — The Verge

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Why maternal mortality is an oddly American phenomenon

A new study recording a spike in maternal mortality rates in the state of Texas provides a case in point. Published in Birth, and documenting a jump of 87 percent for the years 2011-2015, it has led media analysts to focus on the consequences of funding cuts to reproductive services in states restricting access to abortion. Rightly so: it is estimated that in Texas, where this has been particularly successful, between 1.7 and 4.1 percent of women have tried to self-induce an abortion, attempts that can have serious— sometimes fatal—consequences.

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Helen Charman — The Baffler