Let’s touch: why physical connection between human beings matters

Touch can be used as a tool for communicating empathy, even resulting in an analgesic, painkilling effect. To combat loneliness, let’s set up coffee dates instead of screen time.

We humans aren’t meant to live in isolation – loneliness has been proven to cause serious repercussions, leading to illness and a 50% increased risk of early death.

In her New York Times Modern Love essay, writer Michelle Fiordaliso makes the case for unexpected moments of intimacy between strangers. “Touch solidifies something – an introduction, a salutation, a feeling, empathy,” she writes.

It turns out that these moments of connection, while fleeting, have a lasting impact on our wellbeing. One study published earlier this year showed that touch can be used as a tool for communicating empathy, resulting in an analgesic, painkilling effect. This ability to synchronize with others is crucial for social development – a fact that has garnered the attention of psychologists and scientists in recent years.

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Buying less is better than buying ‘green’ — for the planet and your happiness

Humans’ overconsumption of resources — from the food and clothes we buy to the methods of transportation we choose — is a leading contributor to global climate change, says University of Arizona researcher Sabrina Helm. Therefore, it’s increasingly important to understand the choices consumers make and how those decisions affect the health of a planet with limited resources.

In a new study, published in the journal Young Consumers, Helm and her collaborators explore how culturally entrenched materialistic values influence pro-environmental behaviors in millennials, who are now the nation’s most influential group of consumers.

The researchers focused on two main categories of pro-environmental behaviors: 1) reduced consumption, which includes actions like repairing instead of replacing older items, avoiding impulse purchases and not buying unnecessary items; and 2) «green buying,» or purchasing products designed to limit environmental impacts, such as goods made from recycled materials.

The researchers also looked at how engaging in pro-environmental behaviors affects consumer well-being.

More materialistic participants, the researchers found, were unlikely to engage in reduced consumption. However, materialism did not seem to have an effect on their likelihood of practicing «green buying.» That’s probably because «green buying,» unlike reduced consumption, still offers a way for materialists to fulfill their desire to accumulate new items, Helm said.

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Doctors Explain How Hiking Can Actually Change Our Brains

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While it may seem obvious that a good hike through a forest or up a mountain can cleanse your mind, body, and soul, science is now discovering that hiking can actually change your brain… for the better!

Hiking In Nature Can Stop Negative, Obsessive Thoughts

Aside from the almost instant feeling of calm and contentment that accompanies time outdoors, hiking in nature can reduce rumination. Many of us often find ourselves consumed by negative thoughts, which takes us out of the enjoyment of the moment at best and leads us down a path to depression and anxiety at worst. But a recent study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that spending time in nature decreases these obsessive, negative thoughts by a significant margin. Leer Más


WORLD HAPPINESS REPORT 2015

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Why Does Child Well-being Matter?

A central aim of any society should be that its children enjoy their lives and acquire the skills necessary to become happy, functioning adults. For this, they need to develop emotional buoyancy, coping skills, resilience and the ability to form constructive social relationships. Social and emotional capacity is a built-in response to experience. The main drivers of children’s experiences are parents, teachers, health workers and the community in general. These relationships form the focus of this report. How can these relationships be supported and improved to maximize good outcomes for children? And how can this be achieved given the different challenges posed in low-, middle- and high-income countries? 109

Some 31% of the world’s population is aged under 18.11 Of them, around 10% have a diagnosable mental disorder (mainly anxiety, depression or conduct disorder).12, 13 That means some 220 million children and young people…

(Excerpt from the World Happiness Report 2015, Chapter 6)

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Measuring well-being

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HOW do you measure the well-being of a country’s citizens? Looking at wealth alone is clearly not enough: oil-rich states in the Middle East may have the highest levels of GDP per person yet they lag behind the West in terms of civil rights, education and a host of other quantifiable (and desirable) measures. Leer Más