Good reading: positivity and health, intimacy, longevity and more

This post highlights some suggested readings that you may find helpful, informative or inspiring. I hope that you enjoy one or more of these.

On positive attitude and healing

Jane Brody, A Positive Outlook May Be Good for Your Health (New York Times). This article highlights research studies documenting that a positive attitude and accompanying practices contribute to better health outcomes for cancer patients and others. One researcher, Judith T. Moskowitz, developed a group of eight skills that help to foster positive emotions. The skills include keeping a gratitude journal, savoring a positive event each day and setting an attainable goal and recording progress toward reaching it.

Brody writes:

There is no longer any doubt that what happens in the brain influences what happens in the body. When facing a health crisis, actively cultivating positive emotions can boost the immune system and counter depression. Studies have shown an indisputable link between having a positive outlook and health benefits like lower blood pressure, less heart disease, better weight control and healthier blood sugar levels.


Photo father son attention intimacyKen Page, Developing Deep Attention: The Key to True Intimacy (Psychology Today). This interview with Edward Hallowell, M.D., the author of 20 books, including The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness. Page and Hallowell discuss the keys to intimacy, including attention and connection. These qualities are often forgotten when people are too busy and distracted. Hallowell suggests putting the smart phone down, setting boundaries and honoring the person requesting your time by saying “No” when you can’t meet their expectations.

Life After the Election

Lesley Alderman, Therapists Offer Strategies for Postelection Stress (New York Times). This article acknowledges the stress that many feel since the 2016 election about the state of the world and the direction of the nation, and it offers several suggestions for coping. These include reaching across the aisle to better understand those on the other side of the political divide, volunteering and supporting a civil society organization that promotes your values.

Food culture

Nell Casey, Angelica Kitchen’s Leslie McEachern On The Fading Vitality Of The East Village & The Spirit Of Clean Food (Gothamist). Angelica Kitchen, a landmark vegan restaurant in New York City’s East Village, closes on April 7 after more than 40 years. In this illuminating interview, Leslie McEachern discusses her decision to close the restaurant, and its place in the clean food and farm-to-table movements. She also addresses the forces of urban gentrification that made it impossible for AK to survive in Manhattan today.

To me, it’s an educational process of people understanding the choices they’re making. A lot of people are a little bit mindless about this and feel like if they can just get something in their stomach for the moment it’s okay. ‘I’m hungry, I need to eat.’ That’s valid enough from time to time, but on a day in and day out basis, I think the awareness of what we’re eating and the effect it has on our bodies is where the change is coming from—and I think there is a change coming. The medical profession is finally starting to talk to people about their diets. It’s just so alarming that for physician degrees, people didn’t even have to take nutrition courses. And some of that’s changing now, too.

Longevity and living well

What Makes a Good Life: Revelatory Learnings from Harvard’s 75-Year Study of Human Happiness

This report from the Maria Popova’s marvelous Brain Pickings site highlights findings from Harvard’s Grant Study. Beginning in the 1930s, researchers explored questions previously left to philosophers and poets, what factors contribute the most to happiness photo aging couple relationship togetherand a good life. Specifically, by studying a group of men, the study explored “who lives to ninety and why, what predicts self-actualization and career success, how the interplay of nature and nurture shapes who we become.”

The study’s findings are reported more fully in the book by George E. Valliant, Triumphs of Experience: The Men of the Harvard Grant Study.

If you don’t know Brain Pickings, it’s a great site to explore. You can sign up for the weekly email that arrives each Sunday. BP’s search archives feature opens the door to hours of fine reading. Pick a keyword (for example: wellness, positive, healing) and scan the results. Each article contains summaries and excerpts from fine writers exploring important topics, with beautiful illustrations. All of it is expertly curated by Popova.

To your well-being and happiness! Thanks for reading.

Thanks to for making available the images in this post.

Comments are closed