Newsletter #192: The Nature Cure

Hi there, and welcome to the second Thursday of May! My favorite month continues, which means this week’s lead article is filled with hope. Rather than prescribing drugs and assuming surgery, more and more doctors are urging their patients to spend time in nature in order to promote health and treat disease. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather run around the lake or take a stroll through the woods than worry whether I’ve organized my pillbox.

The other three articles are great reads, too, though perhaps scoring lower on the hopefulness scale. You’ll learn it’s pretty much impossible to open a restaurant, it’s pretty much impossible to live in the Bay Area, and it’s pretty much impossible to listen to Jordan Peterson. Please enjoy!

The Nature Cure

You’ve read all the dismal statistics. As a country, we’re not well. Whether it’s heart disease or obesity or high blood pressure or depression or anxiety or cancer or dementia, we’re ill. And we’re not feeling any better, no matter how many pills we take. But don’t worry, this article is a hopeful one. Many doctors are skipping the traditional approach and prescribing nature instead, and so far, the data is looking good. Preliminary research suggests that going outside — looking at trees, listening to birds, and smelling flowers — activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which reduces stress, inflammation, and disease. This growing field of ecotherapy is especially popular among pediatricians, like Nooshin Razani, who directs the Center for Nature and Health in Oakland and founded SHINE, a program that connects low-income kids with redwood forests in the East Bay. (Extra points to subscribers who read this article in the woods.) (21 min)

Masculine Chaos

Some men don’t like the idea of toxic masculinity(#111#157), arguing that political correctness and the “gay agenda” have emasculated “traditional men.” In this article, Omer Aziz tells his story of why and how he became infatuated with the teachings of psychology professor Jordan Peterson. In a time when many young men are feeling a void, Prof. Peterson offers a path (be tough, forge order out of chaos) and a scapegoat (women, feminism). (23 min)

The Price We Pay: How Rising Housing Costs Are Changing The Bay Area

Here’s another great report on housing prices and the general malaise of living in the ultra-expensive Bay Area. You’ll meet families from six zip codes who are struggling to pay their rent or mortgage payment. Plus, you’ll engage with a variety of interactive maps, line graphs, photos, and videos, realizing how quickly the region has become uninhabitable. One startling fact: In 2012, 70% of neighborhoods were affordable to families earning $100,000 a year. Now it’s 28%. (20 min)

Starting a Restaurant Was The Dumbest Thing I’ve Ever Done In My Entire Life

I like my job, but sometimes, I dream of opening up a pizza parlor or a bakery that makes scones or a store that sells oranges. Good thing I read this article before hatching my plans. Talented home chef Robert Maxwell provides a behind-the-scenes look at opening The Beech Tree, a restaurant in Toronto. Spoiler: It’s not pretty. (25 min)

Thank you for reading this week’s issue of The Highlighter! Hit reply or use the thumbs below to tell me what you thought. Also, let’s welcome this week’s 2 new subscribers: Tara & Lacey. Thank you for trying out the newsletter. Hope it’s a good match!

If you like The Highlighter, please tell your friends. Our reading community grows by the power of your good word. Here’s how:

On the other hand, if this newsletter isn’t worth your time, please unsubscribe. See you next Thursday at 9:10 am!