Are Mobile Devices Healthy?

It’s easy to see that mobile technology has vastly changed the way we all connect over the last few decades. Today, we can connect with nearly anyone across the globe in just a few moments, and we have easy access to more information than we could read in a whole lifetime. As our world becomes more and more interconnected through mobile devices, many people have questioned the effects of this interconnectedness on our mental and physical health as well as the health of our relationships. On one side, people praise mobile technology for making everyday tasks much simpler and faster, and making it easier to stay connected to loved ones. On the other side, many people wonder if the pervasiveness of mobile tech is making us more anxious and disconnected than ever.

This debate is multifaceted and complicated, so to help you sort through your own relationship with mobile devices, we’ve rounded up a selection of books offering different perspectives on mobile devices, how we use them, and how they’re affecting us.

Hamlet’s Blackberry by William Powers

At a time when we’re all trying to make sense of our relentlessly connected lives, this book presents a bold new approach to the digital age. Part intellectual journey, part memoir, Hamlet’s BlackBerry sets out to solve what William Powers calls the conundrum of connectedness. Our computers and mobile devices do wonderful things for us. But they also impose an enormous burden, making it harder for us to focus, do our best work, build strong relationships, and find the depth and fulfillment we crave. Hamlet’s BlackBerry argues that we need a new way of thinking, an everyday philosophy for life with screens. To find it, Powers reaches into the past, uncovering a rich trove of ideas that have helped people manage and enjoy their connected lives for thousands of years. New technologies have always brought the mix of excitement and stress that we feel today. Drawing on some of history’s most brilliant thinkers, from Plato to Shakespeare to Thoreau, he shows that digital connectedness serves us best when it’s balanced by its opposite, disconnectedness.

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Beach Reading Round-Up: Book Recommendations for Summer

This weekend is Memorial Day, one of the most popular times to go to the beach here in Florida. We love reading on the beach, so we’ve rounded up a list of beach-reads that you can enjoy all summer long! Each of these has what it takes to be a good beach read: nothing too dense or complicated so you won’t be confused coming back to it after a quick dip in the ocean, but still engrossing enough that it takes you on a little mental vacation! Happy reading!

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

With masterfully wrought characters and lots of juicy twists, you won’t want to put this one down – just make sure you don’t stay out on the sand too long and get sunburned! Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her?Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds through the decades—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

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Reading Round-Up: Book Recommendations to Celebrate World Book Day

Happy World Book Day everyone! Today is the perfect day to curl up with a new book or an old favorite and reap the health benefits of reading! To help you celebrate, we’ve rounded up the best of our book recommendation posts for you to browse for your next read:

2018 Spring Reading Round-Up: A round up of books to ease you into the new season (and distract you from the pollen).

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Book Recommendations Based on your New Year’s Resolutions

An oldie but a goodie: this post was originally published on 1/12/17.

It’s an undeniable fact that with January comes New Year’s resolutions, and with New Year’s resolutions comes the danger of frustration, burnout, or a lack of motivation. Even if you set resolutions that you’re really passionate about (and we hope you do!), changing your behavior can be hard work. To help you all out, I’ve rounded up some book recommendations based on common New Years Resolutions! Whether your goal is to eat healthier, reduce stress, or get organized, These books are here for you. I believe that books contain a wealth of knowledge and can be one of our greatest sources of inspiration when our own is flagging – so get reading and crush those goals!

Resolution #1: Increase your motivation/find your passion

Read Drive: The Surprising truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink

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If you find yourself low on motivation and need to get yourself fired up for a new project, job, or challenge, Drive is a great reading choice. Pink draws on four decades of scientific research on motivation to reveal the three elements of true motivation: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. By understanding the science behind human motivation, this book gives you the tools to better motivate yourself and others towards achieving your goals.

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The Librarians’ Book Recommendations – With a Medical Twist!

An oldie but a goodie: this post was originally published on January 14, 2016.

Do you have a goal to read more books? If you don’t, maybe you should! Besides being downright fun, science shows that reading for pleasure can actually be good for your mental and physical health.

According to a study by Dr. Josie Billington at the University of Liverpool, people who read regularly for pleasure report lower levels of stress and depression than non-readers. Pleasure readers also report higher levels of self-esteem and greater ability to cope with difficult situations. Researchers believe this may result from readers gaining expanded models and repertoires of experience when they read that allow them to look with new perspective and understanding on their own lives. According to an expansive study carried out by the UK’s National Literary Trust, reading for pleasure has also been shown to reduce feelings of loneliness in adults and increase ability to prioritize and make decisions.

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Fall Reading List – The Librarians’ Picks

It’s officially Autumn here in Florida, which means continuing to sweat in 90+ degree weather while you decorate for Halloween and drink (iced) Pumpkin Spiced Lattes. Fall brings with it lots of fun  activities, like pumpkin carving, baking, fall festivals, hay rides, and actively keeping yourself from listening to Christmas music until after Thanksgiving (or is that just me?). The start of Fall is also the start of the football season and the holiday season – what’s not to love?

However, the whirlwind of the holidays and cooler weather can also bring stress as people begin budgeting for the holidays and planning parties and family time. My favorite way to enjoy Fall and combat stress at the same time? Reading! While there’s nothing better than curling up with a good book and a hot cup of tea on an Autumn night, reading also has a lot of health benefits that you can enjoy throughout the Fall season: research conducted in 2009 at the University of Sussex showed that reading may actually be the most effective way to overcome stress and wind down, beating out favorites such as listening to music, enjoying a cup of tea, and even taking a walk. It only took six minutes of reading for participants to see significant improvement in both muscle tension and heart rate! According to research, people who read regularly for pleasure report lower levels of stress and depression, higher levels of self-esteem, and greater ability to cope with difficult situations than non-readers. Reading for pleasure has also been shown to reduce feelings of loneliness in adults and increase ability to prioritize and make decisions. Reap these benefits of reading with our Fall Reading List picks below!

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Chilly Summer Reads to Cool You Off

Summer is in full swing, and it is HOT outside here in Florida (heat index of 105 degrees, anyone?). It’s officially the time of year when the only survivable locations are poolside  or inside with the air conditioning on high! One of our favorite ways to beat the heat is to settle in with a good book and an ice-cold drink. I’ve rounded up some favorite chilly, winter-y reads to distract you from the summer heat and keep you cool all season long.

Need a book to keep you cool this summer? Read on!

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Summer Reading to Satisfy your Travel Bug

I love to travel during the summer- to go to places I’ve never been and to collect new and exciting experiences! Unfortunately, with my schedule I can’t always up and head to another country or continent for a couple of weeks. As much as I love taking short day trips to local sites, it doesn’t quite scratch the travel itch. Enter: books involving traveling and exotic locales. Reading is the perfect summertime activity because nothing can take you on a mental vacation quite like a good book. As the days get longer and the weather gets hotter, it’s the perfect time of year to relax and curl up in a sunny spot with a good book. To populate your summer reading list, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite summer reads to help you relax and take a mental vacation.

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim

I absolutely love this book and I read it every year around the beginning of summertime. Set in the 1920’s, this book follows four unacquainted English women who are dissatisfied with their everyday lives, and who decide to rent an Italian castle for the month of April, away from their husbands, families, and anyone who knows them. Lottie Wilkins has been married only a few years, but she and her husband are rubbing each other the wrong way. Rose Arbuthnot is a highly religious lady who does extensive charity work, but is married to an author of racy popular novels who neglects her. Lady Caroline Dester is a beautiful socialite who is tired of the burden of London society and is beginning to regard her life as shallow and empty, after a man she loved died in WWI. Mrs. Fisher is a pompous, snobbish, highly proper lady who prefers to live in her memories of times past rather than embracing the present. Each experiences their own personal metamorphosis while on the trip, and along the way we get to enjoy lots of descriptions of the Italian seaside.

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Spring Reading List: Find Your Motivation

It’s HSL Book Club Day! This spring we’ve been reading Drive: The Surprising Truth Abut What Motivates Us, by Daniel H. Pink. Drive explains how traditional motivators used in business (think carrots and sticks) don’t always work to get people to do what they need to do, and how some people are just not wired to be motivated by such extrinsic rewards. Today we’re sharing some other good reads to keep your motivation engine humming.

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