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One of my favorite short stories – The Egg
Written by Andy Weir, author of The Martian, “The Egg” is a fascinating little tale about what existence might ultimately be about. I’m not entirely sure if Weir has actually nailed a metaphysics of everything, or if this story is just a nice little fantasy, but I can’t deny that it strikes a very deep chord every time I read it.
Incredible Therapeutic Technique – Expressive Writing Therapy
In expressive writing therapy, subjects free write about the most challenging and traumatic events in their lives, without giving much thought to editing, spelling, or grammar. I first heard of this practice in a podcast episode, and was completely floored when I heard about the physiological effects it can have on those who use it. For one, the immune systems of test subjects who tried the therapy were better able to respond to foreign substances six weeks after the writing than they were previously. If I remember correctly, their blood pressure was also lowered. Most interestingly, in my opinion, college students who participated in studies on the effects of expressive writing ended up visiting the campus physician’s office less than control subjects in the months following their writing sessions. For more details on this practice, I’d highly recommend listening to the podcast episode I linked to above. Although you can listen the app on the link I embedded, I suggest listening to it using the podcast app Overcast. I would also highly recommend reading the books of the man behind the initial experiments in expressive writing, Dr. James Pennebaker. In addition to his work with therapeutic writing, he has also done some amazing research on pronoun use. This research is beautifully detailed in his eye-opening book: The Secret Life of Pronouns.
In the video below, Dr. Pennebaker discusses the structure and results of his studies with therapeutic writing. The first twenty five minutes are nothing short of mind-blowing.
The Health Benefits of Sauna Use
I started spending time in saunas about six months ago. I was inspired to do so after reading up on the health benefits of sauna use, some of which seem almost too good to be true. The most compelling evidence the efficacy of sauna use comes from a study performed over the course of 20 years by the University of Finland. An article from the Harvard Health Blog summarized the results of the study:
“Researchers from the University of Eastern Finland tracked 2,300 middle-aged men for an average of 20 years. They categorized the men into three groups according to how often they used a sauna each week. The men spent an average of 14 minutes per visit baking in 175° F heat. Over the course of the study, 49% of men who went to a sauna once a week died, compared with 38% of those who went two to three times a week and just 31% of those who went four to seven times a week. Frequent visits to a sauna were also associated with lower death rates from cardiovascular disease and stroke.”
To read the entire article, click here.
Although my health is, to my knowledge, very good, spending time in the sauna seems like a worthwhile preventative measure. While sitting in a 170 degree room for 15 to 20 minutes is pretty arduous, it’s becoming easier with time, and I always feel great after getting out and taking a cold shower.