Leading entrepreneurs and intellectuals are holding a range of talks exploring a range of mental health and other issues.
By Chris Nicholls
The talks are hosted by the collective ‘Fuzing’ and will encourage people to share knowledge and “challenge your perspectives” over the coming months.
Topics are spread across a variety of psychological and inquisitive nature, from your brain online, to the investigation of conspiracy theories. Talks will take place every month in various venues across the city, including Sheaf St, HiFi Club and the Marriott Hotel.
Launched on Monday, the first of the series was held at Sheaf St, covering the topic of digital distraction. TEDx speaker, author, and Huffington Post blogger Dr Anastasia Dedyukina explored “how the internet is changing our brain.”
Using current neuroscience research, the debut talk offered advice on “how to stay productive and focused in the age of distraction.” Spikes in mobile phone and social media usage have prompted a ‘massive transformation’ in brain activity.
A recent study conducted at Korea University reported that patients diagnosed with addictions to smartphones revealed significantly higher rates of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) compared to the average healthy patient. GABA is a neurotransmitter in the brain that slows down brain signals when unbalanced, strongly linked to increased depression and anxiety.
Highlighting the importance of these topics in the modern age, Funzing talks told Leeds Hacks: “Rates of depression and anxiety are higher than ever before and access to specialist information regarding these topics is vital.”
The concept aims to ‘transform your after work drinks’. Funzing’s correspondent Samuel Asquith says: “There is no better time than right now to acquire knowledge. Taking a moment to breathe from the fast paced, hectic motion of city living really is essential to leading a healthy life.”
Millions of us are affected by mental health. NHS figures revealed that one in four people are affected by a mental illness and one in three sickness notes handed out by GPs are now for mental health.
Christopher Ward, a customer who attended Monday’s talk says: “Information and guidance on mental health and psychology is something I feel a lot of people could benefit from. I have learned so much from just this one talk.”
The quiet killer
Stress is one of the topics covered by the Funzing series. Health psychologist Professor Daryl O’Connor will investigate the relationship between chronic stress and health outcomes in the talk named ‘Stress: The Quiet Killer.’ Using studies on the biological impact of stress, advice will be presented on techniques available to help combat every day pressures.
Nova Deighton-Smith, senior psychology lecturer at Leeds Beckett University, stresses the value of these opportunities: “Connecting with like-minded people and listening to someone who has dedicated their life to extensive research around a topic is simply priceless. Attend at any given opportunity.”
Funzing offer a discount membership scheme for attendance to the talks. £9.99 per month grants access to an unlimited number of talks up to £12. £11.99 per month grants access for unlimited talks at any price nationwide, and £22.99 caters the same unlimited number of talks for two people. Individual talks range from £8-12 per ticket.
The next talk is on the 5th November at Leeds Marriott Hotel.
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