Friday Faves is our weekly blog series highlighting a few select pieces from the REG team’s reading lists. You can catch up on past Friday Faves on the archive

How your memory works – and why forgetting is totally OK

Anne says: I totally forgot which article I was going to write about this week… and then I came across this TED Talk that I had saved… Coincidence? Probably… or not….

There’s a lot going on with the pandemic and our mental health. Many people are talking about their memories being affected and finding it difficult to concentrate, or walking into another room and completely forgetting why or what they were going to do! Lisa Genova, a neuroscientist, unpacks what’s going on. And it’s liberating, just in case you think you’re losing it!

In this brief talk, Genova explains the different ways memory is stored and the type of cues or contexts that can bring those memories into focus – you haven’t lost them, you just can’t retrieve them. She also adds a couple of myth busters, but the three key elements for your brain and memory? Sleep (7-9 hours a night), exercise, and learning new things. And stop the crosswords, you’re not learning anything, you’re just resourcing words you already know!

Learning new things is particularly valuable – stretching the brain’s capabilities. And don’t worry, she also reassures us that our capacity is not limited! And, another myth busted, we are definitely using more than 10% of our brain every day.

Lisa Genova’s recent book, Remembering, looks fascinating – now I need to remember to read it!!

Watch (22min): https://www.ted.com/talks/lisa_genova_how_your_memory_works_and_why_forgetting_is_totally_ok#t-27305

Stuck in a rut? Sometimes joy takes a little practice

Jakkii says: Oh man, these past 18ish months have been quite the emotional rollercoaster, haven’t they? And while we’ve been far less affected in Australia than most overseas, that doesn’t mean we’ve been unaffected, and we are facing our own unique pandemic challenges now as we watch the rapid rollout of vaccinations overseas while ours lags far behind, leaving us with no end in sight to the risk of (and current) snap lockdowns, ongoing covid restrictions, state borders snapping shut, and – in practical terms – an inability to leave the country (except to NZ, when the bubble is actually open), let alone return.

We’re not going to get into whataboutism or get into it ‘it could always be worse’, because sure, it absolutely could be, and we have had a lot of good fortune as a country. But ultimately that doesn’t help how we feel, and the truth is, many of us are feeling pandemic fatigue hard. Because this is hard. More than anything, this constant cloud of risk that permeates every facet of our lives and has us always having to be aware things could change at a moment’s notice is exhausting, doubly so when we’re just about 18 months in with no end in sight. It’s got plenty of us feeling like we’re stuck in a rut.

This article, sprinkled with some lovely peaceful images, is a good read that looks at how our emotions arise, and the good news? Researchers think they’re actually pliable, and we can influence our own emotions more than we might think. According to the research the article refers to, it really comes down to an emotional ‘muscle memory’ of sorts, in that we tend to react based on our memories of past experiences. That means we can work on cultivating positive emotions, which will help us learn how to move ourselves from a more negative emotion towards a more positive one.

Awe is called out as a particularly useful emotion to cultivate, which is something I’ve talked about in past Friday Fives. Getting out and into nature is a good way to help yourself find and feel awe, but if you’re stuck at home you can use your walk around the neighbourhood as well, looking for “unexpected and inspiring things.”

“Look for what moves you, what pushes your sense of boundaries of what is out there in the world.”

The piece wraps up with three ways to practice happiness:

  1. Share some appreciation

  2. Take an awe walk

  3. Listen to a calm concert

If you’re feeling in a rut or even just like you could use a broadening of your perspective by looking for awe, this is most definitely the article for you. And if you’re really struggling, please reach out to someone, whether a friend, a family member, or by using one of the resources below.

Beyond Blue have put together a coronavirus mental health support service to help us all cope. If you need to talk, you can call 1800 512 348.

For crisis support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or text 0477 13 11 14. If your life is in immediate danger, please call 000.

Read: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/06/29/1010319240/stuck-in-a-rut-sometimes-joy-takes-a-little-practice

At home

Jakkii says: For those still in lockdown and for those still spending the bulk of their time at home, here are a few things for keeping occupied. Stay safe, and stay sane!

Friday Fives

Hybrid workplace and the future of work

Remote work and the digital workplace

Communication, collaboration, engagement, and culture

Community management, moderation and misinformation

Privacy and data

Big Tech, tech and regulation

Social media

Extras

This is interesting: Why you’re listening to more music now that life is returning to normal

Things that make you go hmmm: America’s ‘Smart City’ didn’t get much smarter

Space: China’s Zhurong Rover captures remarkable sights and sounds on Mars

Podcast: How to regulate Facebook (with Nick Clegg)

Friday playlist: 17 pop songs you didn’t know were directly inspired by classical music


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