Geeky wellbeing favourites: November 2022
Regrets, what ifs, and the usual mind–body science highlights
There’s a fairly famous film from the late 90s called “Sliding doors”. I don’t remember if it was an especially good film; Imdb rates it at 6.7, which I guess means it was decent. The reason I still remember it is the premise of the film – the moment where Gwyneth Paltrow splits into two, where in one universe she enters the train carriage and in the other she misses it.
The fork in the road.
The “what if”. That damned “what if”.
Like what if I hadn’t studied biology? What if I hadn’t left my job at Nature? What if I hadn’t accepted my current job? What if I had quit last summer?
I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in wondering what would have happened in a parallel universe where I made a different decision.
If, like me, you are wondering how to work with those “what ifs”, how to use them to improve your wellbeing, then keep reading for some great resources. Hopefully no regrets!
I’m considering running a charity yoga nidra online to support World AIDS Day, would you be interested in joining?
This is a fascinating read on the two types of “what ifs”: the “if onlys” vs the “at leasts” and how they impact on our happiness. According to Daniel Pink (and research), the former are more comforting but don’t help us grow, whereas the latter feel uncomfortable in the moment but may help us identify what’s really important to us.
Read a bit more
Wondering how to cope with feelings of regret? With the constant “what ifs”? Check out this article for some evidence-based tips. Unsurprisingly, self-compassion is crucial for moving on.
And a bit more
Here’s a piece of fiction that I wish I had written myself (here’s a regret!) and beautifully encapsulates the “what if” and the search for the right decision to feel happy – if you haven’t read Midnight Library, I highly recommend it!
The always excellent Happiness Lab has an episode covering more or less the same content as the Daniel Pink article above on “if onlys” and “at leasts”, with lots of great examples from people’s real experiences. I can completely relate to the work-related guilt example.
I’ve never regretted practicing yoga nidra, especially if it’s in snack form like this one. Ignore the new age music and enjoy the practice, which is more of a relaxing body scan than a yoga nidra (but sometimes that is exactly what you (I) need!).
Yoga science highlights
Online yoga revolution for fall prevention – A study of teleyoga (ie yoga delivered online) to the elderly found that participants gained physical and psychological benefits, with some preferring online yoga due to avoidance of embarrassment and the convenience of practicing at home. The authors highlight the benefits this could have given what is known about yoga, healthy ageing and fall prevention.
Mind–body practices for heart failure – This review looked for evidence that “non-conventional” exercise can be beneficial for those living with heart failure. Indeed, they found that tai chi and yoga (among other practices) may improve heart function and patient quality of life. I’m a little confused on their definition of non-conventional, as some of the other exercises included stretching, dance and resistance training (fairly conventional), but interesting nonetheless.
Breathing for COVID-19 – One with big caveats but I will be risky and throw it in the mix. This study investigated the effects of breathing techniques on those infected or recovering from COVID-19; they used what they term ‘short breathing techniques’ (Bhastrika pranayama) and ‘long breathing techniques’ (I can’t get the supplementary information to work, but I’m guessing something with longer breathing, like coherent breath). The key finding to pull out from this is that the breathing practices both improvement exercise capacity in mild-to-moderate cases, and so could be a useful tool for recovery.
From the blog
I haven’t been blogging recently because I’m focusing on another writing project, but here are some older articles you might enjoy:
Burned out? Try yoga – If, like me, you are experiencing the end of year manic time at work, maybe some yoga could help?
Yoga nidra makes me happy (or just less sad) – Yet another reason to scroll back up, click play and relax with some yoga nidra goodness
Is yoga community good for our immunity? – While Zoom classes are still great for accessibility, maybe it’s good to re-connect with some fellow-minded yogis in class too
Until next month!