When she was giving a speech in honour of her dead father, the novelist Siri Hustvedt suddenly began to shake violently. Her book "The Shaking Woman" is a cascade of personal, literary, therapeutic, and neurological reflections meant to shed light on her condition - and on the human condition in general. But does it succeed?
Both meditation and physical exercise may reduce our vulnerability to stress and increase our quality of life. They are mutually enriching, but may they also be contradictory? Some forms of exercise cultivate openness to inner impulses, while others provide an ‘endorphin rush’ that might at times close our mind instead of opening it.
What you eat influences your mind, and, some people think, your meditation. According to a recent pilot study, your diet also influences your mood. Two weeks on a lacto-vegetarian diet made participants in the study happier. Those who continued to eat meat and those who avoided meat but ate fish did not experience this change of mood.
There was one breakthrough in The Times journalist Katie Morris's fight against sleep deprivation: when a fellow insomniac recommended Acem Meditation. "Night-time has never been great for me," the journalist says. But "things are better now".