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PHOTOGRAPH: ©2017 IRENE YEE FROM ‘SHE EXPLORES: STORIES OF LIFE-CHANGING ADVENTURES ON THE ROAD AND IN THE WILD’ BY GALE STRAUB (CHRONICLE BOOKS, £17.99)

A s a woman I have no country. As a woman my country is the | whole world VIRGINIA WOOLF “

I thought there was no place for me in a world of rugged men clothed in dark earth tones. Then I realised… nature makes rainbows, too,’ says climber and photographer Irene Yee. Her story features in the new She Explores book by Gale Straub, founder of She-Explores.com. It’s a compendium of the journeys of curious outdoorswomen and travellers. Straub says: ‘When we’re alone in nature, we get the opportunity to define ourselves, away from a society tempted to shape us into its image.’

Thought-provoking culture, creative ideas, insightful science and inspiring gifts

OUR KINDNESS PROJECT

Ellen DeGeneres joy, love and kindness plates, £45 each, royaldoulton.co.uk

CHOOSE COMPASSION

Author David Hamilton is an advocate of kindness. Here, he explains how compassion is anti-inflammatory

COMPASSION TONES UP the nervous system, much as exercise tones muscles. It particularly increases vagal tone, a term associated with the health and fitness of the vagus nerve. This nerve plays a key role in controlling inflammation, known as the inflammatory reflex. And with this reflex, the nerve can literally turn down inflammation. In research, volunteers took part in a daily Buddhist loving kindness meditation, a meditation known to build feelings of compassion and kindness. It found the meditation increased the vagal tone.* Further research confirmed that the compassion practice did indeed consequently reduce inflammation, as measured by the body’s inflammatory response to stress.** In effect, by spreading compassion to others, we naturally tap into its anti-inflammatory properties for ourselves.

Join Psychologieskindness tsar, David Hamilton,live on Facebook @Psychologiesmagazine for his 30-day kindness challenge, next on 1 June at 1pm. For more, join thePsychologiesLife Leap Club, free when you subscribe to the magazine.The Little Book Of Kindnessby David Hamilton (Octopus, £6.99) is out now. Read Davids interview with Lorraine Pascale on page 38

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