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Stress Is Good For You

April 3, 2019, 7:37 PM UTC

I’ve been busy sharing emcee duties with my dear colleague Adam Lashinsky at Fortune’s Brainstorm Health conference in San Diego, Calif today, and we’re both a little stressed.

Luckily, that’s not a bad thing.

In addition to covering the latest disruptions in health care, like how AI is poised to revolutionize health care, what’s next in Parkinson’s disease research with Michael J. Fox, and how drones could play a role in achieving universal health care, we’ve also learned that some stress is helpful.

Psychologist and best-selling author Dr. Lisa Damour, shared lessons learned from her research for “Under Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic of Stress and Anxiety in Girls,” by reassuring us that we can only grow as humans when we’re feeling a little heat.

According to Adam, who was taking notes while I was running around backstage, Damour explained that “stress happens any time humans are operating at the edge of their abilities.”

From his summary:

This includes doing new things like taking on a new project, moving into a new house, and welcoming a baby into your life. Stress, in fact, is a lot like weightlifting. Going through it makes you stronger. But you also can’t be stressed all the time any more than you can lift weights continuously. It’s important for people to restore themselves—to de-stress, in other words—and everyone does that differently.

Says Damour: “If your life is interesting at all you’re going to have stress.”

May we all live in interesting times.

She also offered key learnings from her practice treating anxious teens. More on that here.

I’m about to go back onstage, so do follow along. For more coverage of Fortune’s Brainstorm Health conference, click here. And if you want more health care innovation delivered daily to your inbox, subscribe to Fortune’s Brainstorm Health Daily newsletter.

On Point

Chicago has a new mayor, y’allAnd she ran on a campaign that promised to stick it to the Chicago machine. Lori Lightfoot is the first African American woman and openly gay person elected mayor of Chicago; the former federal prosecutor and first-time candidate launched a longshot bid for more inclusive leadership has just toppled the head of the Cook County Democratic Party. Lightfoot swept all 50 Chicago wards. “Today, you did more than make history,” Lightfoot told the crowd at the Hilton Chicago last night. “You created a movement for change.”Chicago Tribune

The Department of Homeland Security disbands domestic terrorism unit
According to The Daily Beast, the intelligence experts who focused on domestic terrorist threats have been reassigned, sending ripples of concern throughout the agency. “It’s especially problematic given the growth in right-wing extremism and domestic terrorism we are seeing in the U.S. and abroad,” one former intelligence official tells The Daily Beast. The analysts were a subset of the Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A). They worked closely with state and local law enforcement to address threats within communities.
The Daily Beast

A fire destroys a historic social justice center, white power symbol found
The Highlander Research and Education Center has hosted many iconic civil rights leaders over the years, including Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr, Ralph Abernathy, and Pete Seeger, and played a key role in organizing the Montgomery, Ala. bus boycotts. Last week, its main office was burned to the ground and a symbol associated with the white power movement was painted in the parking lot. “While we don't know the names of the culprits, we know that the white power movement has been increasing and consolidating power across the South, across this nation, and globally," they said in a statement. "Since 2016, the white power movement has become more visible, and we’ve seen that manifest in various ways, both subtle and overt."
NBC News

Joking not joking: A popular gaming subreddit shut down on April Fools’ Day to make a statement about bigotry
The subreddit r/Games was shut down for 24 hours because the moderating team wanted to tackle a growing issue within the gaming community: Racist, bigoted, or otherwise hurtful chatter targeting underrepresented communities. “Whether it’s misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, racism or a host of other discriminatory practices, now is the time to stymie the flow of regressive ideas and prevent them from ever becoming the norm,” they wrote in a statement. It’s a real issue, after the Christchurch shooting, another gaming platform had to remove over 100 profiles praising the shooter. r/Games has over 1.7 million subscribers.

On Background

Jai Alai’s last hope
As a craze, Jai Alai came and went for most Americans, so it may be hard to understand just how persistent the allure of the sport continues to be. Jai alai is a fun sport to watch, a variation of handball with origins in the Basque region of Spain and France. It requires a special court and equipment. But 30 years ago, if you were a woman who wanted to play, it required a sex discrimination lawsuit to get court time. So begins the extraordinary tale of Becky Smith, a first generation Cuban American who thirty years ago dreamed of becoming a the first female professional jai alai player in the United States, maybe the world. But despite her extraordinary skill, the sport burst spectacularly into the spotlight without her. Now, 54, it looks like both she and jai alai are about to make a comeback. All hail this incredible long read from freelance sports writer Britni de la Cretaz.

How to run meetings that are fair to introverts, remote workers and other geniuses
When people are quiet in meetings, the unconscious bias that’s triggered is a pervasive one: Smart people think on their feet. But that’s not necessarily true, HBR (and your deeply introverted correspondent) wants you to know. “[I]ntroverted thinkers make their best contributions when they’ve had time to process relevant data and space to choose words carefully and share thoughtful conclusions,” says Renee Cullinan. She offers several workarounds including circulating a post-meeting note asking for input. “Anyone have a new insight about this situation since we met? If so, I’d love to hear it.”

Remembering the first black architect in the AIA
Paul Revere Williams was the first black member of the American Institute of Architects, and the first certified architect to work west of the Mississippi. And he was prolific: According to photographer Janna Ireland, he’s credited with nearly 3,000 buildings during his five-decade career. He was born in 1894, orphaned by age five, raised in a foster home by someone who recognized his unique gifts. Click through for extraordinary photos of his iconic homes, but also for some truth about what it was like not-that-long-ago. “Williams taught himself a brilliant trick; he learned how to draw upside down as well as he could right side up. A skittish prospective client could be drawn in by the magic of watching the home of their dreams appear on the table in front of them without the impropriety of sitting next to the architect.” In addition to photographing his work, Ireland teaches the reader how to “see” architecture. Enjoy. Really.



Without having the wish to 'show them,' I developed a fierce desire to 'show myself.’ I wanted to vindicate every ability I had. I wanted to acquire new abilities. I wanted to prove that I, AS AN INDIVIDUAL, deserved a place in the world.
—Paul Revere Williams