All posts by HelgaLouw

Is Stress Dangerous?


Chronic stress is suspected of playing a role in the rising global burden of hypertension and type 2 diabetes, and pushes rats into major depression. Corroborating observations from animal studies and early human studies suggest chronic stress may even change the structure of the brain.

Author of the book Stress-Proof, Mithu Storoni, explains how modern life may have amplified our anxiety.

A Vegan Microbiome


Few studies include vegan subjects as a distinct experimental group, yet when vegan diets are directly compared to vegetarian and omnivorous diets, a pattern of protective health benefits emerges.  The vegan gut profile appears to be unique in several characteristics, including a reduced abundance of pathobionts and a greater abundance of protective species. Reduced levels of inflammation may be the key feature linking the vegan gut microbiota with protective health effects. This review examines whether there is evidence that a strict vegan diet confers health advantages beyond that of a vegetarian diet or overall healthy eating.

Break Free from Worry


Anxiety belongs to the broader complex relationship between creativity and mental illness, and although the causal direction of that relationship might forever evade us, it is strangely assuring to know that other minds — especially those of above-average intelligence and creative ability — have been savaged as well.

This article reviews the illustrated meditation Thin Slices of Anxiety: Observations and Advice to Ease a Worried Mind by Catherine Lepage with several useful sidetracks!

Unleash your creativity


formula-1-1055709_960_720Human creativity can be considered in the context of four components: the creative person, the creative process, the creative situation and the creative product.  This article uses the development of a Formula One race car to illustrate these components.

Bottom line? When you provide boundaries, resources, and a clear objective, then release people to do their best work, great things are possible!

Become Self-Aware


Self-awareness seems to have become the latest management buzzword — and for good reason. Research suggests that when we see ourselves clearly, we are more confident and more creative. We make sounder decisions, build stronger relationships, and communicate more effectively. We’re less likely to lie, cheat, and steal. We are better workers who get more promotions. And we’re more effective leaders with more-satisfied employees and more-profitable companies. Read these interesting research insights from organizational psychologist, Tasha Eurich.

Laugh more in 2018!


Researchers in Austria discovered that funny people have higher IQs than their less funny peers. They argue that it takes both cognitive and emotional ability to process and produce humour.

Not only are funny people smart, they’re nice to be around. Evidence suggests that having a good sense of humour is linked to high emotional intelligence and is a highly desirable quality in a partner. In studies of attractiveness, both men and women rate funny people as more attractive, and cite having a good sense of humour as being one of the most important traits in a long-term partner.

The Science of Stress

Our perception of stress, and therefore our response to it, is an ever-changing thing that depends a great deal on the circumstances and settings in which we find ourselves. It depends on previous experience and knowledge, as well as on the actual event that has occurred. And it depends on memory, too. Read more about Dr Esther Sternberg’s work on the link between the central nervous system and the immune system.

Be a Demanding Reader

Open book

Form the habit of reading well! Reading a book, for any reason other than entertainment, is essentially an effort on your part to ask the book questions (and to answer them to the best of your ability).

Reading is like skiing. When done well, when done by an expert, both reading and skiing are graceful, harmonious activities. When done by a beginner, both are awkward, frustrating, and slow.