Welcoming Our New Program Manager, Sharon Brock

Stanford Lifestyle Medicine (SLM) is pleased to welcome Sharon Brock, MEd, MS, as the new program manager and lead writer/editor. With a master’s degree from Columbia University journalism school and 17 years of experience as a science journalist, Brock brings a wealth of editorial knowledge to the position and is committed to the overall goal of growing the program with enhanced content across all platforms. 

“I am excited to be at Stanford Lifestyle Medicine,” says Brock. “I’m incredibly inspired by the researchers of SLM. I believe their work is essential for the future of medicine and I’m honored to be part of this movement.”

In addition to improving content quality, Brock works closely with the team’s research fellows. As a team under Brock’s leadership, they produce social media posts, blogs, and newsletters that translate complex scientific research into language that is understandable and practical for the general public.

“Lifestyle medicine has traditionally been neglected in modern medicine, but with the help of Stanford researchers and this great team of writers, we can make it more mainstream and accessible for everyone,” says Brock.

Brock grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from University of California, Santa Barbara in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in the biological sciences and a master’s degree in education. After teaching high school biology in the Bay Area for five years, she moved to New York to earn a second master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.  

For the past 17 years, Brock has been working as a health and medical editorial professional, including a writing position at UCSF and as the editor-in-chief of the USC Keck Medicine magazine KeckMD, which highlights the work of USC physicians and researchers. She hopes to similarly collaborate with Stanford’s team to share their research findings and innovations in the field of Lifestyle Medicine. 

In addition to being an editorial professional, Brock is also a UCLA-certified mindfulness teacher and bestselling author of the book The LOVEE Method: Mindfulness Meditation for Breast Cancer. Following a breast cancer diagnosis in 2018, her training in mindfulness helped her navigate the year-long journey of chemotherapy treatments and surgeries with greater strength. 

When the mindfulness practices not only served her emotionally, but also physically–she had minimal side-effects from chemotherapy–she saw it as her duty to publish a book providing mindfulness tools for other women facing this diagnosis. In 2021, her book became a bestseller and was featured on Good Morning America, and it continues to serve as a mental health resource for women going through breast cancer treatment across the country.

“It was a very challenging time, but I asked myself, ‘How can I turn this pain into purpose? How can I use this experience to serve others?’” says Brock. “Although writing this book was a lot of work, when I receive emails from women I’ve never met saying this book was their greatest source of support while going through cancer, it makes it all worth it.” 

Brock was thrilled to find this position at Stanford Lifestyle Medicine, which is a great fit with her education and editorial experience. Also, as evidenced by her book, Brock is aligned with the mission of the program to educate and empower the general public with actionable lifestyle choices to enhance health and wellbeing. 

“The other day, a researcher on the team spoke about a study where meditation and gratitude practices supported women going through cancer treatment, as shown by blood test results,” says Brock. “As the researcher spoke, I smiled and thought to myself, ‘I’m in the right place.’”


By Carly Smith, BS, MPH (c)

Laughter Your New Prescription

Laughter: Your New Prescription

When was the last time you laughed? Do you remember the way it made you feel? Many people note that laughter can heal the soul, but what about other aspects of our health? From boosting your mood to enhancing social connectedness, laughter is one of nature’s feel-good remedies, and it has a positive clinical relevance in the treatment of mental, physical, and physiological conditions.

Recent reviews of randomized-controlled trials report reduced levels of stress, anxiety, depression, and fatigue when patients underwent laughter and humor-based interventions. Certain studies have even found humor to be beneficial in improving people’s ability to focus and remember different aspects of lectures, conversations, etc. Furthermore, the opportunity to share a laugh with other people helps to build stronger bonds and deeper connections, fostering a greater sense of belonging and helping crush feelings of social isolation and loneliness.

When our team reflected on how laughter could be used as a tool for a healthy lifestyle, it was agreed that laughter is much more than just a sound. Sometimes even just thinking of a time that you let out a big belly laugh is enough to brighten your mood and ease some of the stress from your body. Seeking opportunities to laugh and engage with others in such a lighthearted fashion may just be the tool many of us should embrace to lead happier and healthier lives. So, we encourage you to take a moment to relive the last moment you left out a laugh and reflect on the different ways it helped you at the time.

“Let laughter be our song. Listen for laughter. Enjoy. Chuckle. Smile. Laugh. Try it sometime, and see for yourself. “

– Dr. Bruce Feldstein, MD, BCC, Head of Gratitude & Reflection Pillar


By: Carly Smith, BS, MPH(c)


  1. Stiwi K, Rosendahl J. Efficacy of laughter-inducing interventions in patients with somatic or mental health problems: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized-controlled trials. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2022 May
Seeing the World with New Eyes

Seeing the World with New Eyes

Life as we know often presents us with surprise, change, uncertainties, excitement, and all that lies in between. This week, Chaplain Bruce Feldstein, MD, Head of our Gratitude & Reflection Pillar, invites us to take a pause and ask ourselves – what is your current situation? Who shares the situation with you? And what matters the most to you?He urges us to try and find perspective, by considering different horizons of time: today, the coming months, or the next chapter of our life. Whether we reflect on these questions in quietude, during a reflective walk, through the art of journaling, or amidst enriching conversations with others, we will be more capable of facing our present existence with new eyes.

Proust has a famous quote that goes, “The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” And so, as we live these questions of reflection, we may discover new ways of taking the ups and downs of life on.

For Dr. Bruce Feldstein, the quote helps him realize importance of allowing and slowing down. He explains that “On the path towards wisdom and discovery, when you listen, demonstrate presence, and show caring, and most importantly, slow down, a new world of appreciation and learning may emerge.”


By: Helena Zhang, BS & Bruce Feldstein, MD, BCC

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The Healing Powers of Art

The Healing Powers of Art

What are the healing powers of art? And can art therapy be used to improve mental health?

The Healing Powers of Art

From the animals dancing on the walls of Paleolithic caves to the Harlem Renaissance, the resonance of art in our world is loud and deeply felt. As we continue to carry histories and emotions, our propensity to turn to art has spanned across the desert of time.

While some believe that art can evoke emotions that go beyond words, others agree that art can captivate the soul, body, and mind. Recently, researchers studied the healing power of art. Through reviewing literature, they explored the effects of art therapy on mental health.[1]

Art therapy, which encompasses theater, dance, music, photography, drawing, painting, and crafts, is currently used in several recovery and treatment procedures. When art therapy became a formalized curriculum in 1940, our dependence on the arts for self-expression, healing, and communication became clear. Researchers found that art can improve mental health, slow cognitive decline, build self-esteem, and enhance one’s quality of life. Moreover, as a powerful, patient-centered tool, art can impart insight, decrease stress, heal trauma, increase memory and neurosensory capacities, and improve interpersonal relationships.

In a randomized control trial (RCT) by Ciasca et al., 60 stable, pharmacologically treated women with Major Depressive Disorder received either art therapy or care as usual. In the art therapy condition, therapists introduced artistic resources such as weaving, collage, clay modelling, drawing, and painting and guided participants in using them. Following the intervention, patients who received art therapy experienced less depression and anxiety symptoms than patients in the control condition. While these observations were consistent with other forms of nonpharmacological treatment, such as psychotherapy, the researchers found that during artistic output, emotions and feelings could be formulated and revaluated. Art as an outlet, allowed for new insights and forms of expression that led to less negative thoughts and feelings of sadness [2]. In another study, patients with Alzheimer’s disease who participated in art interventions experienced improved quality of life and self-actualization.

Currently, art therapy is used as a treatment modality for people with cancer, autism, HIV disease, Alzheimer’s disease, COVID-19, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease. The therapeutic and psychological impact of art is consistent. These findings demonstrate the healing power of art and the value it can bring to the lives of people who are managing medical and mental health disorders.

By: Helena Zhang, BS

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Journal References:

  1. Shukla A, Choudhari SG, Gaidhane AM, Quazi Syed Z. Role of Art Therapy in the Promotion of Mental Health: A Critical Review. Cureus. 2022 Aug 15;14(8):e28026. doi: 10.7759/cureus.28026. PMID: 36134083; PMCID: PMC9472646.
  2. Ciasca EC, Ferreira RC, Santana CLA, Forlenza OV, Dos Santos GD, Brum PS, Nunes PV. Art therapy as an adjuvant treatment for depression in elderly women: a randomized controlled trial. Braz J Psychiatry. 2018 Jul-Sep;40(3):256-263. doi: 10.1590/1516-4446-2017-2250. Epub 2018 Feb 1. PMID: 29412335; PMCID: PMC6899401.
A Strong Sense of Life Purpose is Associated With Better Quality of Life

A Strong Sense of Life Purpose is Associated With Better Quality of Life

A Strong Sense of Life Purpose is Associated With Better Quality of Life

Purposeful living is a self-organizing life aim to stimulate goals, promote healthy behaviors and give meaning to life. Many of us are most likely agree that having a sense of purpose in life is associated with overall both physical and mental health quality of life. Needs a scientific proof to this? This article showed a very interesting association of life purpose with all-cause mortality in older adults. The study analyzed a total of 6,985 individuals between 50-60 year. Hazard ratio, 2.43; 95% CI, 1.57-3.75, comparing those in the lowest life purpose category with those in the highest life purpose category. There were also significant association between life purpose and specific cause mortality attributed to heart, circulatory and blood conditions. There are several possible mechanisms through which life purpose might potentially be associated with mortality such decreased expression of proinflammatory genes in purposeful living (studied by Fredrickson et al), lower cortisol and proinflammatory cytokines in purposeful living (studied by Ryff et all), elevated inflammatory markers such as CRP and inflammatory cytokines such as IL-6 in those without low to no purposeful living (studied by Harris et, Reuben et al and De Martinis et al).

By: Rusly Harsono, MD, & Maya Shetty, BS


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Journal Reference:

  1. Alimujiang A, Wiensch A, Boss J, Fleischer NL, Mondul AM, McLean K, Mukherjee B, Pearce CL. Association Between Life Purpose and Mortality Among US Adults Older Than 50 Years. JAMA Netw Open. 2019 May 3;2(5):e194270. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.4270. PMID: 31125099; PMCID: PMC6632139.