Kelly McGonigal claims that stress is only bad for you if you believe that it is. Citing one study (Keller et al 2012), McGonical argues that people who believe stress is bad for them have worse health outcomes than those who didn’t. Her argument (which the study doesn’t actually discuss, so it presumably is based on her own research) is a physiological one: when you don’t believe that stress is bad for you, your body reacts differently, particularly with the way your blood vessels constrict.
Citing another study (Poulin et al 2013), she also argues that the negative physiological effects of stress can be mitigated if you reach out to other people for comfort in times of stress, and/or reach out to other people and help them in their time of need. She links this argument the hormone oxytocin, which actually is a stress hormone (Lang et al 1983). The so-called “cuddle chemical” which is associated with only feelings of love and well-being is also (paradoxically) associated with fear and social anxiety.
Stuff to read!
Keller, A., Litzelman, K., Wisk, L. E., Maddox, T., Cheng, E. R., Creswell, P. D., & Witt, W. P. (2012). Does the perception that stress affects health matter? The association with health and mortality. Health psychology: official journal of the Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association, 31(5), 677–684. doi:10.1037/a0026743
Lang, R. E., Heil, J. W. E., Ganten, D., Hermann, K., Unger, T., & Rascher, W. (1983). Oxytocin Unlike Vasopressin Is a Stress Hormone in the Rat. Neuroendocrinology, 37(4), 314–316. doi:10.1159/000123566
Yomayra F Guzmán, Natalie C Tronson, Vladimir Jovasevic, Keisuke Sato, Anita L Guedea, Hiroaki Mizukami, Katsuhiko Nishimori, Jelena Radulovic. Fear-enhancing effects of septal oxytocin receptors. Nature Neuroscience, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/nn.3465
Poulin, M. J., Brown, S. L., Dillard, A. J., & Smith, D. M. (2013). Giving to others and the association between stress and mortality. American journal of public health, 103(9), 1649–1655. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2012.300876
This landed in my inbox this morning:
Dear friends and colleagues,
This week we are conducting a 9-day workshop on creative coding for artists and creative people interested in using current technology for their projects.
This 9 day workshop will introduce coding to artists who want to incorporate programming into their work, starting with basic elements of the Processing language and moving into topics including 3d modeling, using peripheral devices like the Kinect and Arduino, data visualization, computer vision/sensors & interactivity, and generative art inspired from nature, statistics, biology, and computer science.
We will also work on projection mapping techniques, and filmmakers and visual artists are invited to bring content and a concept, and we will help set up the tech for installing it.
On a related note, my LeapMotion order is about to ship! Getting excited about that. Here’s what it’s all about:
Originally published in The Curiosity Chronicles.
In an article published on the Design Altruism Project, design researcher Sumandro reflects on colonialist readings of jugaad, which is often taken to mean as “startling ingenuity in the face of adversity.” He asks a provocative question: can non-europeans innovate?
Why do the Indians need a special word for a phenomena that Europeans (not in the sense of the continent but in vague civilizational terms) simply call innovation?
He argues that jugaad is not a strategy practiced only by the poor. Instead, he looks at jugaad as a cognitive and strategic response to any unknown, confusing, or potentially overpowering system. Everyone practices jugaad.
Jugaad is neither a strategy of informal product economies, nor does it emanate from the ‘worldview of the poor.’ It is not an artifact of an older community-based sustainable product culture, which is under threat from globalised commodity cultures. It is a form of imagining and engaging with formal systems — of design, of governance, of urban planning and so on… it is practiced by the poor and the rich alike, resulting in widely different ethical and material consequences.”
…The first moment of jugaad lies in being face-to-face with an unknown or exclusive system— be it the modern electricity distribution system or a new car engine. The practitioner of jugaad, or the jugadoo, then addresses this unknown/exclusive but in-your-face system by innovating and often subverting the formal logic of that system— for example, by illegally ‘hooking’ from the official electricity lines, or by repairing the car engine using unorthodox/recycled/self-made parts. This is the second moment of jugaad.
However, Sumatro admits that simply framing jugaad as a respose to an unknown system and subverting its formal logic to suit the user’s need renders his definition to be so general as to be useless. Jugaad is jugaad when it is a shared experience.
Jugaad refers to a culture of understanding and taking part in formal systems, which are unfamiliar but excessively real, and have deep everyday consequences.
In our research with communities traditionally regarded as belonging in the informal economy, such as sari-sari store owners, we’ve seen how the both informal and formal economies are part of a larger financial ecosystem that are in continuous relationship with each other. Ultimately, the responses of sari-sari owners are fueled by their everyday understanding and experiences of power involving formal systems. The sari-sari store owners we work with are often nanays who bring with them experiences, perceptions, and assumptions related to both to being a parent and being a woman in their particular community. When trying to understand how sari-sari store owners interact with product distributors, what we wish to understand is the logic the distributors mobilize, how sari-sari store owners challenge that logic, and what the corresponding logic is behind their resistance. How they feel engaging with these distibutors, activation agencies, and brands? Do they feel powerless against these formal systems? Do they feel like they can dictate any part of the agreement?
So many cool things are happening this Saturday. The Southeast Asian Cultural Arts Festival starts at 10 am and goes till 5. Kirtan Vancouver starts at 3pm and goes till 9pm (I’ll probably be going to the Kirtan Star Quest bike ride at 7pm). And somewhere in between I’ll be attending a BBQ that Mable Elmore is hosting. Oh, and the night before, I’d like to see MACHiNENOiSY’s Law of Proximity.
Constantly making decisions is tiring, and now there is scientific evidence that suggests why this is so. Jian Ghomeshi inteviewed New York Times science writer John Tierney on the CBC this morning on a column that Tierney recently wrote about “decision fatigue”. It’s a fascinating concept, and one that is consistent with many people’s experience.
In this post, I would like touch on two different themes related to experiencing dance, both in its making and its viewing:
Many of the ideas in this essay came after watching shows from the 2011 Dancing on the Edge festival, and I mention some of them in this post.
I’ve just changed my WP theme to Portfolium. I’m totally loving it, but it doesn’t support widgets. Here’s how I managed to get display my tweets nonetheless. In a nutshell, I added a new <div> to two files (the main index template, index.php, and the single post template, single.php), positioned it relative to its ancestor element, and inserted a Twitter widget in this new <div>.