Amusement and pleasant surprises – and the laughter they can trigger – add texture to the fabric of daily life. Those giggles and guffaws can seem like just silly throwaways. But laughter, in response to funny events, actually takes a lot of work,
Christmas is a time of celebration, relaxation and gift giving. But choosing gifts can also make it a time of stress and anxiety. The wrong gift can actually do more harm than good.
The last several months of experience fighting the COVID-19 pandemic can help you to plan a safer holiday season, researchers say.
Back in 1647, Christmas was banned in the kingdoms of England (which at the time included Wales), Scotland and Ireland and it didn’t work out very well.
As new social restrictions are imposed to combat the spread of COVID-19, it will be no surprise if people once again turn to their television screens for entertainment and companionship
Like many people in this unusual year, I am adjusting my family’s holiday plans so that we can all be safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
Groucho Marx once joked, “Anything that can’t be done in bed isn’t worth doing at all.” You might think he was referring to sleeping and sex. But humans, at one time or another, have done just about everything in bed.
Ten years ago my wife, the Broadway singer Judy Blazer, performed in a satirical revue for the Lyrics and Lyricists Series at New York’s 92nd Street Y.
Recent research from the Literacy Trust has indicated that children’s interest in and enjoyment of reading increased during lockdown.
Frances Hodgson Burnett’s 1911 children’s book The Secret Garden has once again been adapted for the screen. Critics have noted that the film about a healing garden has come just at the right time, with The Telegraph calling it “a sparkling COVID antidote”.
After the October 7, 2020, vice-presidential debate in the United States, the fly that landed on Vice-President Mike Pence’s head was more of a sensation than the details of the debate — at least on social media.
John Lennon was acutely aware of his place in the musical lineage, and the strengths and weaknesses of his own songwriting.
During times of crisis, people find themselves faced with lifestyle changes. One of the earliest and most noticeable changes seen during the COVID-19 lockdown was how we consume media — and especially how we read.
Research suggests that as you learn or regularly use a second language, it becomes constantly “active” alongside your native language in your brain. To enable communication, your brain has to select one language and inhibit the other.
Up to 90% of brain development occurs in the first five years of life. Early learning matters, and creates a solid foundation for future development.
“Show business”, Helen Reddy once said, “was the only business that allowed you to earn the same salary as a man and to keep your name”.
People who retire early suffer from accelerated cognitive decline and may even encounter early onset of dementia, according to a new economic study I conducted with my doctoral student Alan Adelman.
As universities have reopened in various ways this fall after spring COVID-19 closures and a rapid move to online learning, new challenges are emerging.
Masks have emerged as unlikely fashion heroes as the COVID-19 pandemic has developed. Every conceivable colour and pattern seems to have become available, from facehuggers to Darth Vader to bejewelled bridal numbers.
Madam C.J. Walker, born Sarah Breedlove, was America’s first female self-mademillionaire. She pioneered a line of hair care and beauty products for people of color early in the 20th century, and the recent Netflix series “Self Made” details the story of this talented innovator and the challenges she overcame on the way to her success.
“A wedding gown represents far more than just a dress. It is also the embodiment of a dream,” said Vera Wang.
During lockdown, travel was not only a distant dream, it was unlawful. Some even predicted that how we travel would change forever.
Handwritten notes are a powerful tool for encrypting embodied cognition and in turn supporting the brain’s capacity for retrieval of information.
On Sunday, August 16 2020, the first major cruise ship to take to the Mediterranean in almost five months sailed out of the Italian city of Genoa.
One hundred and fifty years after Maria Montessori’s birth, tens of thousands of teachers around the world still hail her innovations and educational philosophy.
On April 16 1872, a group of men sat drinking in the Barley Mow pub near Wellington in Somerset in the UK’s south-west. A gust of wind in the chimney dislodged four onions with paper attached to them with pins. On each piece of paper, a name was written.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, cities around the world are rediscovering the value of walkable and bikeable streets.
There’s a saying that everyone has a book inside them. While I don’t know if that’s true, I do believe that everyone has something special to offer the world. Sadly, most people keep their gift hidden, even from themselves, and there are many reasons why this happens.
We rarely associate youth literature with existential crises, yet Canada’s youth literature offers powerful examples for coping with cultural upheaval.
This singling out of comedy clubs once again brings into focus the disdain that the ACE has displayed for standup in the past and means now is the perfect time to reassess standup comedy as art.
Netflix’s Cursed: Retelling Of Arthurian Legend Puts Women Centre Stage In An Era Of Female Leadership
Netflix’s new series Cursed, based on the illustrated novel by Frank Miller and Tom Wheeler, is a retelling of the Arthurian legend – but like none you have seen before.
If anyone can express the particularities of distress, it is surely the artists; and they are surely needed at times like the present – times when uncertainty, anxiety and, for too many people, bitter loss are the order of the day.
One of rock’s clichés, originating in a Neil Young song lyric, is that “it’s better to burn out than to fade away”.
Since the start of lockdown, more of us have taken to our bicycles, grown our own vegetables and baked our own bread.
For many of us, the forced confinement of lockdown has reiterated the importance of being out and about in nature – along with the benefits it can bring.
With university classrooms and language schools closed because of the pandemic, language students must find new ways to practise and improve.
COVID-19 is changing the way we live. Panic buying, goods shortages, lockdown – these are new experiences for most of us. But it’s standard fare for the protagonists of young adult (YA) post-disaster novels.
Chronicling four generations of two families, Felicity Volk’s Desire Lines is set against landmarks of 20th century Australian history,
In a typical summer, millions of Americans head outdoors to national parks, hiking trails and rivers across the U.S.
Go into any bath and body store and you are sure to find soaps in a huge variety of scents, fragrances, colors, types, sizes, shapes and price ranges. How are these soaps different from the nationally advertised brand name soaps? How are they different from each other? What really makes a soap a "good" soap?
Less obvious are the subtle psychological drivers behind our collective online shopping splurge.
Franchises like The Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones and The Witcher often lead us to think of fantasy as a pastoral genre: a medieval landscape filled with knights riding on quests, enchanted woodland and isolated castles.
In the United States, churches in at least four states have filed lawsuits about the banning of religious gatherings due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Born Richard Wayne Penniman and nicknamed for his smallness as a child, Little Richard was one of 12 children. He developed his charismatic singing, piano and performance styles playing in black and Pentecostal churches.
Mary Shelley’s neglected later book The Last Man (1826) has the most to say to us in our present moment of crisis and global pandemic.
One of the things you get asked most when people find out that you’re a poet is whether you can recommend something that could be read at an upcoming wedding, or if you know something that might be suitable for a funeral.
People are social creatures. While many of us are making the best of social isolation, we’re much better together than apart.
In recent years the orthodoxy that Shakespeare can only be truly appreciated on stage has become widespread.
Humans are innately social creatures. But as we stay home to limit the spread of COVID-19, video calls only go so far to satisfy our need for connection.
In her book How Games Move Us (2016), computer games researcher Katherine Isbister writes that her friends and colleagues believe that gaming might numb people’s emotions.
Knowing what I know now fires me up with enthusiasm to share this truth: there is a brighter way. What you seek, you will find. I want to impart this to all who approach me about their creative issues and anxieties: there are answers to your suffering and your longing.
The #PlayApartTogether campaign has recently been promoted by the World Health Organization (WHO) to encourage people to stay socially connected from home.
Fifty years ago, when Paul McCartney announced he had left the Beatles, the news dashed the hopes of millions of fans, while fueling false reunion rumors that persisted well into the new decade.
In 1722, Daniel Defoe pulled off one of the great literary hoaxes of all time. A Journal of the Plague Year, he called his latest book.
He survived the last great plague in London and the city’s Great Fire. He was imprisoned and persecuted for his religious and political views.
Shakespeare lived his life in plague-time. He was born in April 1564, a few months before an outbreak of bubonic plague swept across England and killed a quarter of the people in his hometown.
The evolution of the novel and short story in the 19th century brought us one of the greatest human sources of comfort, besides food and a nice hot bath.
Watching cute cat videos and looking at their online pictures may not be a waste of time. A new study has found doing so could boost energy levels and increase feelings of happiness.
A plague of serious proportions is ravaging the world. But not for the first time. From 1347-51, the Black Death killed anywhere from one-tenth to one-half (or more) of Europe’s population.
A new social music app is pushing the boundaries of music creation by making recording artists out of novices with little to no musical training or traditional talent.
Many musicians are reaching out from isolation on balconies, in condos or the outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Seeking to bend the coronavirus curve, governors and mayors have told millions of Americans to stay home. If you’re pondering what to read, it’s easy to find lists featuring books about disease outbreaks, solitude and living a simpler life.
My name is Dillon and this is a story of how I woke from the dream of the world -- a trance which controlled my thinking, my behavior, my relationships, and my future -- a trance which affected every aspect of my life, and a trance of which I was completely unaware...
In your hectic life, you might feel as if you're always rushing -- from a client meeting to a seminar, then to an aerobics class, then to drinks with friends. Even though you might enjoy, and perhaps even thrive on, this busy timetable, it's still crucial that you schedule blocks of 'Me Time'.
Various versions of the following story were circulated through the Human Potential Movement of the 1960s and 70s: Once upon a time, a long time ago, there lived two very happy people called Tim and Maggie with two children called John and Lucy. To understand how happy they were...
Philosophers and others have argued for centuries that real-world travel comes second to armchair travel.
Disney’s recent deal with the immersive experience company Secret Cinema signals a new era for the cinema industry.
You may have heard of binaural beats, an auditory illusion that has been touted as having stress-busing properties, and is the subject of countless hours of videos on YouTube and elsewhere.
We sang a popular duet, Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s “Shallow,” to the room’s applause, and I remembered how good it felt to sing into a microphone.
Movies starring lead actors from underrepresented groups perform as well as those with white male leads, a new report shows.
Have you ever found yourself about to say, “that’s ironic,” only to stop yourself – unsure whether you were using the word correctly?
When people see my art, they often exclaim, "You are so creative! I cannot even draw a straight line!" My answer is the same, "I cannot draw a straight line either; when I need one, I get a ruler!" Creativity has nothing to do with art...
The European Patent Office recently turned down an application for a patent that described a food container. This was not because the invention was not novel or useful, but because it was created by artificial intelligence (AI).
Fewer work hours as a win-win – improving productivity for employers while giving employees what they want.
The shortlist for that category is, for the 87th time in 92 ceremonies, all male, and some might say, all rather macho to boot.
Researchers have surveyed more than 2,500 people in the United States and China about their emotional responses to these and thousands of other songs from genres including rock, folk, jazz, classical, marching band, experimental, and heavy metal.
The roots of the reinvention go back to the early 1980s. Adaptations like the BBC’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Lord of the Rings and NPR/BBC’s Star Wars changed how radio drama was viewed.
Everything you need to achieve the goals in your life is given to you. The seven-year cycles are a flow, a rhythm. Every seven years there is, within the system, a total change.
Don’t buy the novelty baby Yoda. Don’t buy that game of toilet golf. Don’t buy the wine flask bra. Just. Don’t.
December is dominated by the holiday season, which often involves lots of parties, visitors, travel, and special meals. Maintaining an organized home is a particular challenge this month, given all the pressure to decorate, buy presents, host gatherings, and cook.
When you take a sip of wine at a family meal or celebration, what do you notice?
If you are one of those people who will settle in this evening with a hot cup of apple cider to watch a holiday movie, you are not alone. Holiday movies have become firmly embedded in Americans’ winter celebrations.
Holidays are a time of high stress. Despite the delight of not having to work for several days or even weeks, holidays come with pressures.
Disney’s Frozen has been a staple in my house since before it won an Academy Award for best animated feature in 2014.
The main reasons for children ending music lessons are boring lessons, frustration at a lack of progress, disliking practice and competition from other activities. Some children regretted stopping music lessons.
Eyebrows can turn a smile into a leer, a grumpy pout into a come hither beckoning, and sad, downturned lips into a comedic grimace.
It may seem like we are living in an age of anxiety, where feeling worried, upset and stressed has become the norm. But we should remember that anxiety is a natural human response to situations.
In a nutshell, music puts us in a better mood, which makes us better at studying – but it also distracts us, which makes us worse at studying.
Intelligence could play a role in how quickly people learn music, according to new research on the early stages of learning to play piano.
Get ready for some romance on the dance floor as the second series of Flirty Dancing kicks off.
The concept of “home” refers to more than bricks and mortar. Just as cities are more than buildings and infrastructure, our homes carry all manner of emotional, aesthetic and socio-cultural significance.
If you say, 'I am not creative,' then that's an affirmation that will be true for you for as long as you continue to use it. You can never express yourself creatively by talking or thinking about what a klutz you are. We create our lives every day...
Some things have not changed since Homer's time. Now as then, the young despise boredom. Now as then, kicks are the cheapest solution. As to the beneficial uses of sensuality, dashes of it, to be sure, spice creativity. But runaway sensuality has...
Reduced brain size may suggest a genetic predisposition towards heavier alcohol consumption, according to new research.
How do you like the following joke from Sumeria in about 1900BC? “Something which has never occurred since time immemorial; a young woman did not fart in her husband’s lap."
Thrill seekers and daredevils thrive on the terrifying because of their high-sensation-seeking personalities, according to a new book.
We are being lazy if there’s something that we ought to do but are reluctant to do because of the effort involved.
The 50th anniversary re-issue of the seminal Beatles album Abbey Road – remixed and with a slew of alternative takes – along with the celebrations by surviving band-members and fans alike, illustrates the recording industry’s preoccupation with nostalgia.
“We should work to live, not live to work”, declared John McDonnell in his speech to Britain’s Labour Party Conference.
The traditional poetry and music of Iran aim to create a threshold space, a zone of mystery; a psycho-emotional terrain of suffering, melancholy, death and loss, but also of authentic joy, ecstasy, and hope.