Use it to reduce stress and anxiety, tame burnout, and get some of the benefits of meditation

The herd of massively-antlered, 400-pound caribou was running 50 miles an hour and directly at me. The 30 animals had been eating lichen on the Arctic tundra, more than 100 miles from any settlements in Kotzebue, Alaska, when something spooked them. I was apparently sitting in their escape route.

I was in the Arctic for more than a month on a backcountry hunt while reporting my new book, The Comfort Crisis, which investigates the shocking downsides of our overly comfortable (first) world and reveals how we can leverage the power of a handful of evolutionary discomforts that will dramatically improve…

Embrace whatever pandemic solitude remains—and, in the future, re-create it

I recently found myself standing alone on the Arctic tundra, over 100 miles from civilization. I spent a month up there reporting portions of my new book, The Comfort Crisis. There was no human around me for miles and miles. There were also no people “with” me through TV, podcasts, social media, email, or text messages.

The realization that I was in a rare state of supreme solitude was both unnerving and freeing. Unnerving because the frozen ground was littered with grizzly poop and if the weather were to change — and did often and quick out there — I’d…

Research going back to the 1950s explains why we’re now facing a “creativity crisis”

Last week I wrote about the benefits of boredom, which is something we’re facing less and less of now, thanks to the 11-plus hours a day we spend consuming digital media. But what, exactly, happens to a bored mind without easy access to media? A recent study looked at just that question.

The Canadian neuroscientist James Danckert recruited some volunteers and put them into a neuroimaging scanner. “Then we induced those people into a mood of being bored,” he said. “We had them watch two guys hanging laundry for eight minutes. …

What I told Joe Rogan about boredom

I recently appeared on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast to talk about my new book, The Comfort Crisis. It explores how our physical, mental, and even spiritual health can benefit from a reinjection of some evolutionary discomforts. Our modern comforts and conveniences are tied to many of our most pressing problems, like obesity, chronic disease, depression, and even feeling a lack of meaning.

During the podcast, I told Joe all about the benefits of boredom. Here’s the clip:

So here’s the deal: There are thousands of articles and tips on how to use your cellphone less. But they all…

Carrying weight for distance — or rucking — is part of the human design and it can keep us fit and healthy

Last fall I found myself standing on the Arctic Tundra, about 120 miles from civilization. One hundred pounds of caribou filled my pack. I had to hoof the weight back to camp, which was five miles away. All uphill and across the tundra. And the tundra is a savage landscape comprised of dirt that exists in an ice-cream-like state: spongy layers of dense moss, mucky swamp, and basketball-sized tufts of grass called tundra tussocks. A mile out there is like five on a regular trail.

I was in the Arctic for more than a month on a backcountry hunt while…

Why time seemed slower when you were a kid

If this year feels like it has flown by, there’s a solid scientific reason for that. Most of us spent it locked in our homes, doing the exact same thing day in and day out.

It turns out that our brains love this kind of predictability, neuroscientists at Brown told me. The human brain evolved to keep us in the comfort zone of a predictable routine because that improved our chances of survival in our past environments. For example, a reliable routine that helped us regularly find food kept us alive.

Even before the pandemic, our lives were rather predictable…

Three truths you must face to write anything worth reading

There’s this joke among writers. When we go to parties, we often get introduced to people with skill-intensive, clinical jobs that require years of schooling and certifications. For example, a surgeon. When we tell these people what we do for a living they often say, “oh, I’ve thought of writing a book.” We respond with, “I’ve thought of performing surgery.”

It’s funny because it’s true. People think writing is easy because they do it all the time in emails and work reports. …

It also makes running a moving meditation

One pandemic upside is that with gyms closed and lockdowns making us stir crazy, running outside experienced a boom. Now the downside: Many eager new pandemic runners ran into injuries. One study found, “27% to 70% of recreational and competitive distance runners sustain an overuse running injury during any 1-year period.”

Some fitness minds see stats like that and treat running like they might a loaded gun. I’m not one of them. Running is a beautiful exercise, at once meditative and exhausting, making it uniquely good for our minds and bodies. …

Stuff that works—no productivity gurus necessary

All creators — whether musicians, writers, artists, coders, or entrepreneurs — would freely give a critical organ to be more prolific and successful. Which is why we now have the modern productivity industrial complex. It gives us all kinds of tips and techniques to do more, better work.

But I recently uncovered some evidence that suggests we’re overthinking the topic.

The other day I’m working out in my garage with music blasting when Glen Campbell comes on. Galveston. It’s one of the greatest country songs of all time. It sent me down a Glen Campbell Spotify rabbit hole. …

It tells us why fad diets can have lasting effects

A few weeks ago I wrote about one of the most dangerous studies of all time and how it can tell us everything we need to know about weight loss.

In that study, which occurred at the height of World War II, 36 men entered a lab to starve. The scientists wanted to understand the effects of starvation so they could help starving people in war-torn Europe.

Many readers asked me what happened to the men after the study. It’s a great question.

The scientists began refeeding the men to return them to a healthy weight. What happened next and…

Michael Easter

Author of The Comfort Crisis // Professor // Writing about physical + mental health, psychology, and living better 1x week //

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