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The Rabbit Effect

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It was satisfactory read overall. I like how the author executed the concept. Four stars definitely.
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The author, Kelli Harding,  is an assistant professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center. In this book she delves deeply into how kindness, compassion and our connections with those around us affects our health and happiness. Even though this is backed up with many studies and personal experiences, the book does not come across as a dry, non fiction book filled with an endless series of facts. I found the book so fascinating, I would pick it back up every time I had a few minutes.

This is truly a book worth reading, because I'm sure that anyone reading this will find lots of useful information.  This  is definitely worthy of five stars.
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I read the Rabbit Effect.  I found none of the information inside the book to be new to me.  I also found all of the information in the book to be less entertaining to read that most shampoo bottles.  So, feel free to pass on this.
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In simple, straightforward, powerful prose, Kelli Harding sets a movement into motion. Ultimately, Harding lays out a convincing and empowering case for health to be far more than metrics and tight boundaries of medicine, for wellbeing to be our aim and guiding light. Stating "To live a truly healthy life, we need to choose to connect to one another and find purpose, joy, and meaning in our lives," Harding inspires the individual to do the good that they can do in their daily rounds -- and to take action to inspire, support, and cooperate with others to build the world that we all want to live in. Through case studies, expertise gained in emergency rooms, and research, Harding shows the reader how to enjoy a full, robust, and meaningful life through love, kindness, and connection. Rarely have I encountered such a unique, compelling, and energizing book -- would love to see it included in high school and college courses.
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THE RABBIT EFFECT by Kelli Harding describes how to "Live Longer, Happier, and Healthier with the Groundbreaking Science of Kindness." Harding, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center and emergency room doctor, sought to explore the question: "What are we missing in medicine that’s crucial to health?" and was inspired to write this book by a 1978 study which showed that rabbits who were treated more kindly by attendants had better health outcomes, despite being fed the same high-fat diet as others. Harding traces work that supports the holistic view that "a person's health occurs in a social context that cannot be ignored" and argues that "two halves [medicine and public health] needed unification with a common language" since "the vast majority, 80 to 90 percent, of people's health depends on factors outside clinical care." Her book spends several chapters discussing hidden factors (for example, in our intimate relationships, our work, our education and neighborhoods) as well as the essentials of health, both individually and collectively. In a very accessible style, Harding recounts numerous scientific experiments and other anecdotes; raising questions (e.g., if genetics are fixed, why was love changing personality?) and offering "toolkit" suggestions for action by her readers. Although THE RABBIT EFFECT has no index, Harding does include almost 30 pages of source notes. This encouraging text will be of interest to AP Psych classes and also relevant to this year's professional development on social emotional learning, especially in conjunction with other titles like The War for Kindness or The Telomere Effect.
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"The Rabbit Effect" by Dr. Kelli Harding is an amazing read. As a health care professional, I often wondered what helps people improve their lives to making themselves healthier and happier? Does the mindset of positivity and caring really do affect the healing process? Why do some people with the same illness recover so much faster and recover better? It is a well know fact that in the United States, health care spending is the highest in the world. But why is it that, despite the billions of dollars spent on health care expense, the health of Americans are still among the lowest in the world? Additionally, why is life expectancy continuing to drop? All these questions are answered very articulately through stories and anecdotes that explain it well with the basis of expert and current research.  So if you want to know how to live healthier through love, kindness, friendship and community rather than medicines and medical procedures, you must pick up this book now. 

A feature that I also enjoyed in the book was the highlighting and use of a Tool Kit, which gave examples on how to improve your health (like a checklist) and find useful applications in oir daily lives. I also love that even when data is mentioned, I find that the author has a way to make it less intimidating and enriches the information that is provided. This book has really opened my eyes to the definition of health, and what being healthy in body, mind and spirit truly means. 
I recommend this book whole heartedly to my fellow health professionals and to anyone wishing to live a healthier and happier life by living with a purpose, through compassion, kindness and human connection. I would pick up this book for an amazing read that is full incredible tidbits of information we need in our life. This is a must read for anyone.

Thank you to NetGalley, Atria Books, and the author for the ebook arc copy in exchange for an objective review.
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Part self-help, part Malcolm Gladwell-esque anecdotes, part soft science. This is a very readable, uplifting book on practical ways to improve your health through kindness, compassion, and personal relationships.
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This book, although chock full of statistics and overviews of scientific experiments, is still a must-read for anyone who has a heart left for humanity and is disgruntled with the current state of the world. Dramatic? Yes, but now that I have your attention, even though personally I do not like to read technical works with lots of data, this author makes it palatable and adds sufficient anecdotes and case studies to keep the reader intrigued. The title is referring to an experiment with rabbits where they were loved and nurtured while being fed different diets - a healthy one and a very unhealthy one - and the surprising results arising based on how nurtured they were by the human caregiver. I won't give any more detail about the outcome to avoid spoilers. As I see it, however,  the overall premise of the book is that human connection and love can dramatically affect health in spite of traditional factors of diet and exercise as well as other external influences. She does a wonderful job of citing actual scientific evidence with a healthy balance of anecdotal evidence, which is great by me because I didn't want to read a science journal and who doesn't enjoy a good story to illustrate examples? I believe the stories are real but have names changed to protect the innocent. This book is so important in today's hostile political climate where we have mass shootings and lack of civility on social media. It scientifically PROVES that human kindness and compassion really do matter. It delves into subjects like childhood trauma and includes a psychology aspect but actually substantiates it, in case anyone is turned off by what they call "psychobabble". I will add that you do need to read with an open mind. If you cannot get past old beliefs and are dismissive of something you perceive as new age (sorry I am a cynic and know way too many people who suffer from serious cognitive dissonance) then perhaps you will have difficulty with this book. But for anyone who thinks the world needs to change and humanity needs to be better and kinder, the concepts in here will have you nodding your head and feeling a renewed sense of hope. This book shows actual SCIENCE behind the very much needed concepts of human connection and compassion. But that is just my two cents.
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I’ve been obsessed lately with books on kindness, generosity, and other positive science, especially in relation to business. This one was a pleasure, and while I didn’t gain any new or earth shattering insights, it was a solid read and one I would recommend to others.
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I’m so glad I went down this rabbit’s trail (pun intended).  I’ve read gazillions of books about health and wellness and “The Rabbit Effect” transcends them all by demonstrating the healing power of GENUINE KINDNESS, backed up by hundreds of scientific studies which are explained in simple terms.  

I think this book could convince even the most cynical of hermits that the key to living a long and healthy life is all about unselfish love, friendship, and connection.  I’m neither cynical nor a hermit, but as an introvert (INFJ in the Myers Briggs personality type system), solitude is essential for “recharging my batteries”.  When socializing, I’m a lightweight, quickly becoming “drunk on extraverting”, which requires going home and sleeping it off.  Even so, I never felt that this book was pushing me out of my comfort zone.  It advocates genuine caring and connection in whatever style works for you as an individual, with plenty of lovely ideas (most of which are quite introvert-friendly, I think) about little ways to share kindness and be open to receiving kindness from others.  

So, about the fascinating rabbit experiment that inspired this book:  in the late 1970s, a bunch of lab rabbits were fed the equivalent of a heart attack breakfast all day long, every day, for several months.  At the end of the study, as expected, all the rabbits had high cholesterol levels.  Then the rabbits’ blood vessels were examined and the researchers were shocked to find that one group of rabbits had 60 percent fewer fatty deposits than the others.  Why the different results, when the rabbits had the same environment, same food, same everything?  It turns out that all the healthy rabbits had been fed by Murina Levesque, “an unusually kind and caring individual”.  Every time she fed her rabbits, she petted them, talked to them, and cuddled with them.  Thinking this was probably a coincidence, the researchers repeated the experiment with a new group of rabbits and tightly controlled conditions, with the same result.  All the rabbits fed and snuggled by Murina were healthy, and all the rabbits fed by others had advanced heart disease.  “Take a rabbit with an unhealthy lifestyle.  Talk to it.  Hold it.  Give it affection.  And many adverse effects of diet disappear.  The relationship made a difference.”  Love is nature’s anti-inflammatory.

But what about those who have been victims of abuse or tragic events, in childhood or as adults?  What about people who haven’t received the nurturing and kindness that is a fundamental right of human beings, the ones who are represented by the lab rabbits that weren’t fortunate enough to have a Murina to snuggle with them?  Are they doomed to a short and miserable life?  Not at all!  This book is filled with realistic positivity and hope for every human in every circumstance.  It explains that our state of health is constantly changing and that even our DNA isn’t chiseled in stone but rather is being amended and rewritten every day of our lives (the study of the amendments to our genes is called epigenetics).  This flexibility that’s built into the human body means that we have the power to rewrite our story, metaphorically and literally.  Therapeutic writing has physical and emotional healing power, confirmed by many scientific studies.  For example, one study asked undergraduate students to write about their most traumatic and upsetting experiences and to pour out their deepest thoughts and feelings on paper.  Their writing sessions lasted only twenty minutes, four days in a row.  Six weeks later, the students’ blood tests showed improvements on serum markers of immune functioning and they reported better moods and less distress.  So, yay for writing!  Whether you decide to publish it, shred it, frame it, or burn it, writing is one of many ways to start a pattern of self-compassion and self-care that helps us open up to compassion and caring for others.  “While we can’t change the past, we can help immunize ourselves against negative effects in the present through empathy, compassion, and emotional connection.”

I recommend this insightful, empowering, and life-changing book to every human being.

Thanks to NetGalley and Atria Books for a digital advance review copy.  Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
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The Rabbit Effect: Live Longer, Happier, and Haelthier With the Groundbreaking Science of Kindness
by Kelli Harding, MD, MPH
due 8-27-2019
Atria Books
5.0 / 5.0

#netgalley.    #TheRabbitEffect.

Amazing book and premise. One I totally agree with. This will empower you to change not just your overall physical health, but our mental health by making choices to be more kind, accepting and inclusive. Small choices made daily and our experiences with others create a cultural fabric that has a larger effect on our health than previously thought.

It began in 1978, when a Columbia University Doctor designed an experiment to establish a correlation between heart health and high blood cholesterol, using rabbits. She discovered nurturing, kindness and interaction made the difference between a heart attack and a healthy heart. Feeling supported and cared for made a huge difference in our ability to heal.

The Whithall Study was started to look for biological factors for heart disease. What it uncovered was a link between mind and body, a correlation between level of education and physical health. Kindness, support and inclusion are as much, if not more, healing than medicine alone. Dr. Engels Biopsychosocial model showed The Hidden Factors in health: social experiences can alter DNA through epigenetic processes. Community and social ties can help you remain more healthy.

Clearly we are missing something in medicine when in 2016, USA ranked 43rd in life expectancy. In 2015, life expectancy dropped for the first time in 2 decades. In 2017 it dropped again.
In maternal care, USA ranked 46th, the worst rate or maternal deaths in the developed world. 
And out  of the 32 wealthiest countries in the world, USA is 32nd, last place, on the health-wealth inequality.
Clearly, as a country that spends so much on health care, we are missing something.

I believe the mind body connection is such an important idea and premise for our future, our health and our well-being.
Kindness is a healer.
Acceptance is a healer.
We need leadership in this country that we can have confidence, dignity and pride in following. A feeling of hope, camaraderie, different but equal. It's not to late.
Small choice,every day. It matters.
Positive energy and acceptance. It matters.
It's time to get with it.

At the end of each chapter is a Tool Box of ideas, suggestions, support and help.
This is truly a revolutionary thought, and book.
 I highly recommend it for every single person!

Thanks to Netgalley, Atria books and the author, Kelli Harding for sending this requested e-book ARC for review.
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The Rabbit Effect demonstrates research on rabbits and their recovery/ cure rates when treated with kindness rather than apathy. The bunnies who were talked to and cuddled were healthier. It goes on to show how the same treatment affects humans. People who have identical illness and socio-economic backgrounds will differ in recovery if they have family or someone who cares for them.
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This is a wonderful book on how kindness can effect your health. It shows you through science how this is so. Though a bit scientific at times, I think tje message is wonderful. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to improve their health or look at the scientific effects of kindness on the body. 

I would like to thank netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy free of charge. This is my honest and unbiased opinion of it.
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This is an excellent look at the hidden factors behind your health. The author explains how for decades, western medicine has been obsessed with treating just the body. If doctors could treat your cells, organs, and systems, then of course your health problems would be cared for, right? Not exactly. It's becoming more accepted that health is a combination of physical, mental, and social elements. The status of any one of those aspects can impact the others in drastic ways.
I appreciated that this book was written with a vocabulary that will be accessible to the average reader. There's a bit of scientific explanation about what happens on top of your DNA (epigenetic changes are fascinating--your DNA remains what it is, but chemical groups can attach to it as you go through various experiences, and impact the way your body works, even in successive generations), but most of the book is anecdotes and interpretation of scientific studies. Each chapter ends with a "tool kit" of ways that you can try to take charge of your own social, mental, and emotional well-being.
The main things I got out of this book were: To be healthier, it is absolutely vital to stay socially connected, to welcome physical touch such as hugs from loved ones, to be fully present in the moment as much as possible, and to be kind and attentive to others to create a ripple effect of healthier feelings in the community around us. This is not just feel-good advice, but has measurable effects on the inflammatory tendencies of the body...the very things responsible for many health problems.
I would like to try to implement several of the points from this book myself. It is definitely worth a read for anyone who is interested in the intersecting paths of health, feelings, and community.
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Thank you for the opportunity to review this book, The Rabbit Effect, by Kelli Harding.  Harding takes a good run at encouraging kindness and compassion in a time when both seem so much harder to come by- if the media is to be believed, anyway.  I've been gravitating toward talk of humanity, kindness, and compassion in my work as a professor. Humans first.  It's a tough lesson to share sometimes, when so many are focused inward.  Harding's book is one I will suggest to anyone interested in learning more.
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Interesting book, if a little too scientific in spots. The overall premise is that if people are treated well, and live their lives in a more positive manner, their health will improve. A positive message, with a lot of recommendations for improving your life on a personal and a more global scale. Thanks to Netgalley for an advance copy.
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I don't have a lot to say about this other than it is excellent. Dr Harding provides excellent stories, history, examples, and tools that educate and entertain. Like any suggestions and tools, you have to do them to reap the benefits, but even if you don't do (all of) them you will likely be influenced to makes some changes that will benefit you and those around you in at least some small ways. Highly recommended.

I really appreciate the advanced copy for review!
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