Cancer survivors are more easily fatigued

Adults who have undergone successful cancer treatment years or decades previously become fatigued more quickly than their peers who don’t have cancer histories, according to a new study in the journal Cancer from scientists at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The scientists examined data from a long-running study of normal aging, which included periodic treadmill tests of fatigability as well as 400-meter walks to test endurance. They found that, on average, participants with a history of cancer treatment reported more fatigue in the treadmill tests and were slower to complete the endurance walks, compared to participants without a cancer history.

Source: Study suggests that cancer survivors are more easily fatigued

Four Reasons to Start Doing Improv

1. Meet new people (outside the bar scene) — WIT students come from all walks of life — but they all come to improv with open minds, daring to try something new. Abandon your iPhone and share face-to-face laughs with a dozen strangers who will quickly become friends.

One student told us “you make instant friends, and you push yourself in ways that you might not initially believe possible.”

2. Unlock your creative potential — Everyone has untapped creativity — unleash yours with one of our eight-week classes. A testimonial: “You get to exercise your imagination in a way that most adults don’t get to do on a regular basis.”

Source: Say Yes to Your Creativity: Four Reasons to Start Doing Improv

Improv’s Leadership Lessons

We humans don’t make decisions based solely on data; we make them based on emotion, backed with available data. If you want to impact an audience—to influence, affect, inspire them to action—you must tap into emotion. The best way to do that is through stories.

Dan Klein, a lecturer of management at Stanford Graduate School of Business, as well as a lecturer in the theater department, where he teaches improvisation, creativity and storytelling, will lead Execu/Blend™ attendees in a session called “StoryCraft.”

We process information in the world by picking out relevant details and creating stories that link those details together. There are teachable techniques that will boost your natural storytelling skills; Klein’s workshop will identify those techniques, and gives you plenty of safe opportunities to practice, learn and grow.

Source: Leadership lessons from improv – CUInsight

Improv helps  overcome memory loss

Martin tosses out an idea, and the rest of them run with it. They dance, gesture, and act out their feelings, with only a few moments to think about how they’ll express themselves.

“This is all about getting back to the root of who they are,” he said.

The class is part of a series of programs, including folk dance, film screenings, and sing-alongs, designed for people experiencing memory loss.

Reginald and Betty Evans are on their fourth class. Reginald’s memory is fading a bit, and he says these activities help keep him engaged.

“Since that day one, I think it’s helped (him) be more expressive,” Betty Evans said.

Instructors encourage the group to think on their toes and thrive in the moment, because yesterday, or even a few hours ago, might be kind of hazy.

“That playing off of each other, the laughter that comes out of that, all of that’s good for the brain,” said Pam Nolte, a teaching artist with Taproot Theater.

Source: Improv class helps dementia patients overcome memory loss

How pursuing happiness  can make you unhappy

The researchers’ main findings showed that a person’s perception of time scarcity is influenced by their pursuit of (often unattainable) happiness. The feeling that time was scarce lessened for participants who maintained that they had attained their goal of being happy to some degree.

“Time seems to vanish amid the pursuit of happiness, but only when seen as a goal requiring continued pursuit,” explain the researchers. “This finding adds depth to the growing body of work suggesting that the pursuit of happiness can ironically undermine well-being.” According to the researchers, the findings imply that while happiness can impair positive emotions, it need not necessarily do so. Instead, if someone believes they have achieved happiness, they are left with the time to appreciate this, for instance by keeping a gratitude journal. The research further underscores that people have different concepts about happiness, which in turn may well influence how they perceive the time they have to achieve happiness.

Source: Can pursuing happiness make you unhappy?

Watching others makes people overconfident 

To find out whether this perception is borne out by actual performance, Kardas and O’Brien tested a group of 193 participants on their dart-throwing abilities. Those who watched a demo video 20 times estimated that they would score more points than those who saw the video only once–this high-exposure group also predicted that they would be more likely to hit the bull’s-eye and reported that they had learned more technique and improved more after watching the video.

But these perceptions did not line up with reality: People who watched the video many times scored no better than those who saw it once.

Kardas and O’Brien found evidence for this phenomenon in other domains, including doing the moonwalk, playing a digital computer game, and juggling. The more that participants watched others perform these skills, the more they overestimated their own abilities.

Why does repeatedly watching a video breed such overconfidence? Participants who watched a variation of the tablecloth trick video that did not show the performer’s hands evidenced no exposure-related overconfidence, suggesting that people may feel confident only when they can track the specific steps and actions in performing a skill.

Source: Watching others makes people overconfident in their own abilities

Executives Sleep More

There are two possible explanations for this. Either senior executives, with the help of assistants and hard-working middle managers, do less and take more time for sleep. Or senior executives have had the wisdom and discipline throughout their career to get enough sleep and thereby maintain a high performance level without burning out.

Our conclusion is that the latter is the case. “Sleep has always been foundational for my performance,” Cees’t Hart, president and CEO of Carlsberg Group, shared with us. “And especially to perform in a way that is required by my current job, I need seven hours of sleep, every night. Of course, with intense travel and work commitments, sometimes this is compromised, and when that happens, it comes with a cost. When I sleep less, I perform less.”

Source: Senior Executives Get More Sleep Than Everyone Else

Recession led to more health issues

The 2008 Great Recession resulted in changes to individuals’ health behavior, with a significant increase in the likelihood of obesity, diabetes and mental health problems, according to a new study from City, University of London and King’s College London.

In particular, the researchers discovered that the probability of being obese and severely obese increased by 4.1 and 2.4 percentage points respectively. Similarly, the probability of having diabetes was 1.5 percentage points higher after 2008, with the prevalence of mental health problems increasing by 4 percentage points.

It was also found that there was a decrease in smoking and drinking, as well as fruit intake. These changes were also seen to impact particularly on women and those less educated, with the authors suggesting that uncertainty and negative expectations generated by the recession rather than unemployment might explain the changes seen.

Source: 2008 Great Recession led to increase in obesity, diabetes and mental health issues

Music increases exercise time during stress test

Music can have a powerful impact on our mood, signaling the brain to release feel-good and energy-boosting chemicals. While earlier studies have looked at how music might influence specific markers of heart health, this study is the first to evaluate its impact on exercise tolerance during cardiac stress testing–widely used to measure the effects of exercise on the heart. On average, people who listened to music during the test were able to exercise for almost one minute longer than those who didn’t have tunes playing in their ears.

“At least on a small scale, this study provides some evidence that music may help serve as an extra tool to help motivate someone to exercise more, which is critical to heart health,” said Waseem Shami, MD, a cardiology fellow at Texas Tech University Health Sciences in El Paso, Texas, and the study’s lead author. “I think it’s something we intuitively knew, but we found [to be true]. I suspect if it had been a larger study, we’d see a bigger difference.”

Source: Music boosts exercise time during cardiac stress testing