When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress – Gabor Maté

When we have been prevented from learning how to say no, our bodies may end up saying it for us.

While it is common knowledge that stress is affecting one’s health, Dr Gabor Mate takes it a step further and analyses the impact of stress on body by looking into a patient’s childhood, relationship with partners, work and life in general.

The book is bold in its suggestion that body is over mind, considering that a person cannot accumulate stress and tension without effect. Dr Mate goes as far as saying that there is a “cancer” profile, where physicians can increase the chances of confirming cancer by looking at a patient’s personality. The ones who always try to help others, cannot say no to demands and are always smiling, those people simply bottle up negative emotions that would surface as an autoimmune disease.

An interest concept put forward by the author is the difference between rage and anger. He promotes the idea that it is ok to be angry and let tension exit the body. An angry person relaxes its body, takes a long breath and lets tension out. This comes in contrast with rage, which is uncontrolled violence (physical, verbal, behavioural). A person in a rage has all muscles contracted, does not breath correctly and accumulates tension.

The cost of hidden stress

The book is full of various medical cases and draws heavily on medical research, making it a somewhat dry reading. Nevertheless, this does not draw from the appeal of understand how our choices are affecting us.

It finishes with Seven A’s of Healing: principles of healing and the prevention of illness from hidden stress:

    • Acceptance – accepting us how we are
    • Awareness – of our bodies and what they are telling us
    • Anger – in Dr. Mate’s view, anger has cognitive value and works as a way to release tension and negative emotions
    • Autonomy – independent thoughts and actions
    • Attachment – being connected with others is healing
    • Assertion – speak up for ourselves
    • Affirmation – affirming our creating selves, and also our connection to something bigger.

    The book is really wonderful and warmly recommend to read, whenever we feel that life takes over us.

    The Differing Drivers of EU Electricity Policy – Mike Bostan

    Countries and companies are likely to store an extra supply of gas to cover more than the normal consumption need, in order to avoid any disruption of the gas supply to consumers. However, the cost of storing this extra supply must be added to the price, making the gas more expensive. Too much focus on affordability may become a vulnerability of the gas supply. Conversely, too much emphasis on secure supply can affect price. So where is the balance? What factors drive EU policymakers to pay more attention to one policy goal?

    This dissertation investigates such fundamental system imbalances in the domain of electricity and finds that differing drivers of EU electricity policy depend on its purpose. While affordability and security of supply legislation respond to expected drivers, such as electricity price or interrupted electricity, the environmental policy is an anomaly. Environmental policy is not responding to drivers such as air pollutants or GHGs reduction, but to a different set of drivers, highlighted in the paper.

    Presentation

    This is my book, a PhD thesis discussing the fundamental imbalances of the EU electricity system.

    Link: https://doi.org/10.26481/dis.20220914mb

    Les 50 règles d’or de l’éducation positive – Bénédicte Péribère, Solenne Roland-Riché

    Sachez que les violences éducatives (physiques, verbales ou “simplement” émotionnelles) laissent une trace sur un IRM cérébrale. Certaines zones du cerveau sont alors insuffisamment développées, notamment celle permettant de réguler les émotions.

    ( Règle 22 : Évitez les punitions)

    Ce petit livre propose 50 conseils sur la parentalité. Les règles mêlent des règles de bon sens à des arguments scientifiques, donnant une bonne vue d’ensemble.

    Les règles évitent les conseils controversés et le lecteur peut facilement suivre les différentes principes. Le livre est conçu pour être souvent consulté et relu, avec des règles faciles à trouver, une bonne vue d’ensemble et un petit format.

    J’ai lu le livre en quelques jours et j’y suis toujours revenu avec plaisir. C’est un excellent livre à lire pour tous les parents qui veulent apprendre quelque chose de nouveau sur la parentalité ou simplement apprendre plusieurs règles de base.

    Nautilius (Tome 2) – Mathieu Mariolle, Guénaël Grabowski

    Tout en se faisant passer pour un agent du gouvernement français du nom de Jean Paillole, Kimball parvient à faire évader Némo de la prison russe qui le retenait depuis plus de 10 ans. Avec son capitaine libéré, le légendaire Nautilus est prêt à se diriger vers la baie de Bombay où reposent toujours les documents que Kimball convoite tant. Le temps presse, l’évasion de Némo à fait grand bruit et Kimball est toujours suivi à la trace. Pourtant, le submersible n’a pas encore démarré que le ton monte entre les deux hommes. S’ils veulent s’en sortir, il devront rester soudés… Mais les dissenssions sont à chaque instant plus flagrantes. Une question reste alors en suspens : lequel trahira l’autre en premier ? Deuxième partie d’un triptyque haletant, veritable course poursuite à l’échelle planétaire où se mêlent espionnage, situations inextricables et scènes spectaculaires, Nautilus continue de proposer un récit beau et palpitant.

    Le volume est une nouvelle prise du légendaire capitaine Nemo et de son submersible, Nautilus (créé par le romancier français Jules Verne), dans un monde du 19ème siècle où les submersibles sont encore une merveille. Danse le deuxième tome de la trilogie, le capitaine Nemo est sauvé de prison par Kimball, un homme qui veut prouver son innocence avec des documents d’un épave au fond du golfe du Bengale. Ainsi, le submersible est un élément clé de sa quête ; mais pour une raison quelconque, il pose comme agent du gouvernement français.

    L’histoire de Mathieu Mariolle est bien écrite et la meilleure partie est la profondeur des principaux protagonistes, qui sont bien conçus et leurs motivations sont claires. J’ai particulièrement apprécié les dessins, qui sont de petites œuvres d’art. Le dessinateur, Guénaël Grabowski, a le sens des couleurs et des détails. Le lecteur peut ressentir les sentiments complexes des personnages dans ses dessins. Aussi, le lecteur peut voir la grandeur du Nautilus et le savant fou du capitaine Nemo.

    Les aventures du capitaine Nemo et de sa merveille d’ingénierie, le submersible Nautilus, dans un monde rempli d’intrigues et d’espionnage.

    J’ai apprécié le volume et les dessins magistraux. Une super série, j’attends avec impatience le tome 3 !

    Colonisation (Tome 6) – Denis-Pierre Filippi, Vincenzo Cucca

    Les équipes de l’Agence ont été attaquées. Une branche indépendante d’Écumeurs dirigée par un certain Raylan est parvenue à s’infiltrer dans le vaisseau du Commodore Illiatov. Leur assaut, s’il était destiné à la récolte de données concernant les nefs perdues, ne sera parvenu qu’à une chose : mettre fin à la vie de nombreux agents et notamment à celle du Commodore lui-même. Raylan et ses sbires sont en fuite et mènent la danse, agissant toujours avec un coup d’avance. La menace s’intensifie, les morts se multiplient et l’escouade de Milla réalise peut-être trop tard que l’ennemi qui lui fait face est le plus rusé et le plus redoutable qu’elle ait jamais eu à affronter.

    Colonisation est le 6ème tome de la série des bandes dessinées par scénariste Denis-Pierre Filippi et dessinateur Vincenzo Cucca. Les dessins et le scénario sont captivants et clairement profondément pensés. La série est imaginative et pleine d’action. Les inconvénients sont le manque de science dure à certains moments, comme aller sur une planète extraterrestre dangereuse (haut de gamme) par l’équipe de recherche sans casque.

    Le context de l’histoire est l’humanité dans le futur, envoyant des colonies dans le grand espace. Cependant, des extraterrestres bien intentionnés offrent à l’humanité le cadeau de voyager vite dans l’espace. Les colonies sont un prix élevé du marché noir et l’Agence est formée, pour trouver et protéger des braconniers maléfiques ces colonies perdues. La série suit les aventures de l’agence dans sa mission de défendre les colonies humaines perdues.

    Dans ce volume 6, l’Agence tente de capturer un braconnier habile appelé Raylene, qui s’avère plus ingénieux et impitoyable que prévu.

    Défendre les colonies humaines perdues contre les braconniers maléfiques dans le futur lointain de l’humanité.

    Le volume était captivant et les dessins capturaient magnifiquement l’immensité de l’espace et de l’humanité dans le futur. Si l’histoire est forte, les dialogues sont moins forts que les illustrations, qui sont vraiment mémorables. Les scènes d’action et l’histoire elle-même sont bien mises en page et facilitent la lecture et le suivi de l’action pour le lecteur.

    Dans l’ensemble, même si elle manque parfois de science dure, la série est captivante et avec des illustrations mémorables.

    Factfulness – Hans Rosling

    This is data as you have never known it: it is data as therapy. It is understanding as a source of mental peace. Because the world is not as dramatic as it seems. Factfulness, like a healthy diet and regular exercise, can and should become part of your daily life. Start to practice it, and you will be able to replace your overdramatic worldview with a worldview based on facts. You will be able to get the world right without learning it by heart. You will make better decisions, stay alert to real dangers and possibilities, and avoid being constantly stressed about the wrong things.

    The central idea of the book is that world is much better than you think and it is getting better. Hans Rosling presents with data how world improved over time and shows with surveys how pessimistic without cause the reader is. While not perfect, the world is indeed getting better and the author presents the pessimistic biases we have.

    The book is structured in 10 chapters, presenting an instinct that we must be aware from:

    1. The Gap Instinct
    2. The Negativity Instinct
    3. The Straight Line Instinct Exercise: Question Your Assumptions
    4. The Fear Instinct
    5. The Size Instinct
    6. The Generalization Instinct Exercise: Getting the Full Picture
    7. The Destiny Instinct
    8. The Single Perspective Instinct
    9. The Blame Instinct
    10. The Urgency Instinct

    The book was written in the last months of life of Doctor Hans Rosling and seems to encompass his last message to the world: that we should leave bias and look for data, which will help us to create a better world and be more successful in medicine, business and development.

    The book is thoroughly entertaining, full of imagines and survey questions that make the read a pleasure. It challenges the reader to rethink the world around. What is really the masterstroke is presenting data in a way that is easy to understand and delivers a clear message.

    One of the most thought-provoking, well-written books on the world and developing trends currently on the shelves.

    On Basilisk Station (Honor Harrington Book 1) – David Weber

    The message she’d just ordered Webster to send and Venizelos to relay to Manticore was never sent in drills, not even in the most intense or realistic Fleet maneuvers. Case Zulu had one meaning, and one only: “Invasion Imminent.

    The book follows military captain Honor Harrington’s adventures in a distant, far future, fighting foreign invasions, sexism, greed and incompetence. Honor is a woman, captain in the Queen’s Royal Manticoran Navy, and the reader sees how she handles different situations brought to her by politics and discrimination.

    The protagonist is one of the best developed characters in the military scifi universe and an inspiration for the entire genre. The book and series is widely regarded as one of the must-reads for the military scifi fans, a reference for this niche science fiction style.

    In this first book of the series, captain Harrington is exiled to a backwater station, Basilisk, where she is gradually building the confidence of her ship crew and of the local authorities in dealing with the trade and offworld traffic. She becomes involved in the defense of the planet against foreign forces.

    Critics point out that the different types of views that the book presents make the reader to do no thinking, everything is well presented pages in advance. Honor Harrington is too much of an omnipotent captain, who never makes mistakes and pushes duty over everything, even her crew. The hard scifi part, the science in the book is passable, with a long description of the technologies and the world at the of the volume. Some more description of the everyday life and universe would have been helpful as well.

    Despite these drawbacks, the book is truly memorable and entertaining. An easy, relaxing read for holidays. The plot is easy, but well paced. the vocabulary is adequate, not really fantastic, but not bad neither.

    An entertaining, recommended read.

    The Calculating Stars (Lady Astronaut, book 1)

    There is something magic about takeoffs. I know people who are afraid of flying who say that the takeoffs and landings are the only hard parts, perhaps because that’s when the act of flying is most apparent. I love the way you get pushed back into your seat. The weight and the sense of momentum press against you and the vibrations from the tarmac hum through the yoke and into your palms and legs. Then, suddenly, everything stops and the ground drops away.

    A meteorite hits Earth in the 1950s and, in its aftermath, the planet will gradually become uninhabitable. Humanity realizes that it is in danger and looks for stars. Under such entertaining context, the book follows Elma York, a female pilot and mathematician, and her struggle to be accepted in the space programme, as astronaut.

    The story is well narrated and the little news headlines at the beginning of each chapter, showing the worsening of the situation on Earth, offer a nice background. The book is overwhelmingly composed by the dialogue of the protagonist and various personages. It nicely presents the prejudice that women had to bear at the time.

    The book was a huge hit, with awards from Hugo, Nebula and Locus prizes. It developed into a series called “Lady Astronaut”. It is well written and has an engaging background. The first 100 pages of the book are a marvel.

    On the other side, there are some attributes that make the story less convincing. The protagonist has all the cards possible in her hand: father is a general, she is a genius with a PhD in mathematics, her husband is the best rocket scientist in the world, at the exact moment that this science become the most important thing, she is an ace pilot, well-connected and beautiful. In a bit of cliche, she fights sexism, racism and religious discrimination (she is a Jew), and wins.

    Nevertheless, an interesting, engaging, well written and multi-awarded book.

    EU Electricity Policymakers’ (in) Sensitivity to External Factors (Article)

    Below is the abstract of an article I wrote for the International Journal of Energy Economics and Policy in autumn 2021. Link to full paper at the end of the post.

    The article explores a possible reason for the consistent dominance in the EU energy space of one energy policy priority, environment, when a more balanced policy would be expected, according to the classical energy trilemma.

    Stemming from a policy dynamics theoretical background, the sensitivity of EU policymakers to external factors is quantitatively tested by comparing legislative output against key relevant indicators, such as the public opinion and air pollutants emissions. The study encapsulates the last three decades, across all the three energy pillars of the energy trilemma, plus a fourth, internal energy market. The investigation converts into ordinal values data from selected indicators so as to create comparable scales.

    Results show that, unlike other energy pillars, which display strong connections between external factors and legislative output, environment legislation is rather indifferent to external factors pressure. Possible explanations are incorrect policy calibration or internal factors, originating in the rational choice realm.

    This research is one of the first to introduce comparative assessments in the Environmental Policy Integration discussion and employs in novel ways research methods for energy policy analysis emerged in the field of energy security policies.

    DOI for full article: https://doi.org/10.32479/ijeep.11630

    Dreadnaught (The Lost Fleet, Book 7) – Jack Campbell

    If you don’t exercise a talent, you get rusty,

    The odyssey of Captain Jack Geary and his start fleet continues beyond human-controlled space, into the alien enigmas territory. The captain finds itself again in new and tense situations, but dangers are much higher than during the war with the human Syndics.

    Already the 7th volume in the series, the story keeps its appeal and, finally, Jack Campbell responds to some of the criticism and does not repeat the various descriptions of the universe it creates. The book is more ingrained in the space opera, rather than a stand alone book, which was always one of the aims of the author in the previous stories.

    This time the war with the Syndics is over and enemy is a mysterious alien civilization. While the plot is simple, it develops well and has enough depth and logic to be plausible. This is indeed one of the strengths of the book – taking wild developments in the far future and then apply logic response to them. There is no silver bullet or magic that saves the day.

    Beyond human-controlled space, into the unknown.

    The jabs to politicians continue, but it is not a nod to fascism, as, while not explicit, democracy is still seen the best of all forms of socio-economical organisation. The political game makes sense and helps drive the plot forward.

    The drawbacks remain the same: a somewhat limited vocabulary, too much focus on dialogue that does not really add more depth to characters, too little description of the universe it creates.

    Nevertheless, it is astonishing how the series keeps its appeal, even at the seven volume. Jack Campbell is truly a masterful and ingenious storyteller.