Health

Success can be an addiction

The Atlantic reports that though success isn’t a conventional medical addiction, it has addictive properties for many people. Praise stimulates the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is connected to addictive behaviors. Success addiction is known to have a negative effect on human relationships. People choose to travel for business on anniversaries, and they miss their children’s important milestones while working long hours. Some even decide to focus on their careers and forgo marriage.

Many scholars, such as the psychologist Barbara Killinger, have found that people are willing to overwork to keep getting "hits" of success at the expense of their well-being. They shelve a much-needed rest from work and time with family and friends until after a project, or a promotion, but that day never arrives.

Forest bathing stress away

National Geographic answers the question: what is forest bathing? The term emerged in Japan in the 1980s as a physiological and psychological exercise called shinrin-yoku. It can mean “forest bathing” or “taking in the forest atmosphere”. The purpose was to offer an ecological antidote to tech-boom burnout and to inspire residents to reconnect with the country’s forests.

The Japanese quickly embraced this form of ecotherapy. In the 1990s, researchers began studying the physiological benefits of forest bathing, providing the science to support the idea that time spent surrounded by nature is good for us. The concept at the heart of shinrin-yoku is not new. Many cultures around the world have long recognized the importance of the natural world to human health.

Visuals: Fruit & Veggie consumption

People’s diets have varied considerably around the world, and have often been dictated by geography, the types of crops that the land can sustain and animals that dominate the ecosystem. However, with advances in technology and globalization, billions of people can now eat all sorts of fruits and vegetables out of season, as well as exotic, imported meats.

Take a look at the two maps below and discuss what you see with your teacher.

Nonprofit business: Clean the World

One night at a hotel in 2009, tech executive Shawn Seipler thought about how many bars of soap guests use for a night and then leave. He called the front desk to find out what they did with the used soap and learned that they just throw it away. In the U.S. alone, hotels throw out about 3.3 million bars of soap every day.

So, Seipler started Clean the World, a nonprofit that recycles soap, in his garage. He quickly discovered that major hotel chains, airlines, cruise companies and casinos were happy to pay him to take their waste. The business has since grown into a $750k production facility in Orlando, Florida, with branch operations around the world.

Invisible disabilities at work

It is easy to see that someone in a wheelchair has a disability, and workplaces are becoming much better at making accommodations for them. But what about people whose disability doesn't show? Chronic illnesses like heart disease, lupus, or diabetes aren't visible to others. Neither are mental illnesses like depression or anxiety. Because of this, it's much more difficult for these workers to get the support they need.

Visuals: average height increases

People today are taller, on average, than their ancestors 100 years ago. This is true for every country in the world.

The data shown below is based on a global study. It reports mean height for adults by year of birth, from 1896 to 1996; in other words, people who had reached their eighteenth birthday from 1914 to 2014.

Please look at the graph and discuss it with your teacher.

Visuals: Cigarette sales in the US

Around 18 billion cigarettes are sold around the world every day. In the United States alone, it is estimated that cigarette-related healthcare costs exceed USD $300 billion per year. However, the sale of cigarettes in the US has had an interesting history over the past century.

Please have a look at the chart below and discuss what you see with your teacher.

Do you know how to rest?

Our society has taught people to always work hard. People are learning how to be more productive, but they also have the idea that they should always be busy. These people think "busy" and "productive" are the same thing. When these people finally rest, they feel bad. They think they are lazy. They might even work until they break down from tiredness. 

American psychotherapist Sarah McLaughlin says 70% of visits to the doctor are because of stress-related issues. She suggests people start taking care of ourselves as much as we try to achieve tasks. She says that we need to think more realistically about ourselves, “If this task does not get done today, it does not mean I have failed. It just means that I will get to it tomorrow.”

Here are some pieces of advice from two psychotherapists, McLaughlin and Pantha Saidipour, on how to forget about work before resting: