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Fun Fact Friday

  • 80% of the time, it’s not that a person changed…. you just never knew who they actually were. 
  • The average amount of time a woman can keep a secret is 47 hours and 15 minutes.
  • A human adult is made up of about 7,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 atoms.
  • Lack of sleep causes the brain to remember events incorrectly.
insomnia

 

  • The male brain is 10% bigger than the female’s but the female brain works more efficiently.
  • Because the English language is so complex, every day the average person will create a sentence that has never been said before.
  • In the next 30 seconds, you will, on average, produce 72 million red blood cells, shed 174,000 skin cells, and have 25 thoughts.
  • Most people dream in color, but those that grew up watching black and white television often dream in black and white.

Happy Friday  
🙂

source:       factualfacts.com       https://twitter.com/Fact       @Fact


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No Partner, No Worries: New Study of Psychological Health

Bella DePaulo Ph.D.         Nov 27, 2016

Older women are psychologically healthy with or without romantic partners

When adults get into their mid-fifties and beyond, how much does a romantic partner matter to their psychological well-being? Matthew Wright and Susan Brown of Bowling Green University, authors of a study recently published online at the Journal of Marriage and Family, expected to find a hierarchy of good outcomes. They predicted that married people would enjoy the greatest psychological well-being. Cohabiters, they thought, would do next best, and daters would follow in third place. They expected unpartnered single people to be worst off, psychologically. That is not what they found.

Instead they found that for women, partnership status made no difference. Whether the women were married, cohabiting, dating, or single and unpartnered, there were no statistically significant differences in their experiences of depression, stress, or loneliness. There were some nonsignificant trends in the data, but even those were not always consistent with the authors’ predictions. For example, the women who were dating tended to experience more stress than the single women without a romantic partner.

For the men, having a romantic partner mattered more than it did for the women, but again, not exactly in the ways the authors predicted. The authors thought that the unpartnered single men would do worse than the single men who were dating on every measure, but that never happened. The men who were dating did not differ significantly from the unpartnered single men in their experiences of depression or stress or loneliness.

The cohabiting men were predicted to do less well than the married men, but that never happened, either. The married men were more likely to report frequent depressive symptoms. They were also slightly more likely to experience stress than the cohabiting men. Marriage was also no protection against loneliness, as married men were no less lonely than cohabiting men. Cohabiting men also did well in comparison to the dating or unpartnered men on two measures of well-being: They were less likely to report frequent depressive symptoms or loneliness.

The unacknowledged psychological strengths of older adults who are not married

The hierarchy that the authors predicted is consistent with the prevailing narrative about marriage and coupling in contemporary society. Married people are supposed to do better than everyone else. Cohabiters should do next best, then people who are dating. Single people with no partners should, in theory, do worse than everyone else. The theory is that these four groups form a continuum of social attachment (with married people enjoying more social ties, and more social and emotional support, and unpartnered singles the least) and also a continuum of commitment (again, with married people showing the most commitment and unpartnered singles the least).

For the older women, though, partnership status did not make a lick of a difference. Married women, cohabiting women, dating women, and unpartnered single women – they were all about the same in their experiences of depression, stress, and loneliness.

For the older men, there were some differences, but not exactly the ones the authors predicted. Married men never did significantly better than everyone else, on any of the measures. In fact, when there was a difference between the married men and the cohabiting men, it favored the cohabiting men. According to the theoretical perspectives that guided the authors’ work, the dating men should have done better than the unpartnered single men, because they supposedly had greater social attachment and greater commitment. But again, the men who were dating did not do significantly better than the unpartnered single men in any way.

For at least 10 reasons, the psychological well-being of the unmarried people in this study – particularly the unpartnered single people – is especially impressive.

  1. Married people are the recipients of more than 1,000 federal benefits and protections given only to them. They include tax breaks, Social Security benefits, special considerations under the Family and Medical Leave Act and much more. Unpartnered single people get none of this largesse, and neither do daters or cohabiters. Why is it that married people do not do better than everyone else psychologically when they have these extraordinary advantages?
  2. Married people also enjoy a vast array of social, cultural, economic, and political privileges simply because they are married. These, too, should have catapulted them far above everyone else in their psychological well-being. But they didn’t.
  3. Among the participants in Wright and Brown’s study, the unpartnered single people – both men and women – were far less well off financially than the married or dating people. The married women’s assets (household assets minus debts) were more than twice those of the unpartnered single people, and for the men, the difference was almost as great. (The cohabiters’ assets were similar to those of the unpartnered single people’s – yet they did as well or better than the married people on every measure of psychological well-being.)
  4. The unpartnered single people in the study were the least likely to be employed. For the men, the difference between the unpartnered and everyone else was especially large.
  5. Unpartnered women in the study were least likely to have some college education. Among the men, only the cohabiters were less likely than the unpartnered singles to have some college education.
  6. Unpartnered men and women in the study were least likely to have private health insurance. For the men, the difference between them and everyone else was especially large.
  7. People who are not white, who have the challenges of racism in addition to singlism, were disproportionately represented among those who were not married. Among the women in the study, the proportions followed the proposed hierarchy precisely, with the fewest people who were not white among the married, then the cohabiting, then the dating, and the greatest proportion among the unpartnered. For the men, the distribution was similar, except that the dating men included a greater percentage of people who were not white than the unpartnered men.
  8. The unpartnered single people in the study were also disadvantaged by the authors’ decision to lump together all unpartnered single people, regardless of whether they were divorced or widowed or had always been single. (They were constrained by the sample size, but other researchers do the same thing.) People who are divorced and widowed, especially if their marriages ended fairly recently, may feel especially depressed, stressed, and lonely. Lifelong single people often do quite well psychologically. By including the previously married in with the lifelong single people, the study likely underestimated the true psychological well-being of lifelong single people.
  9. The single people in the study were also disadvantaged methodologically in another way. The married group included only those people who were currently married. The previously married, who often do less well than the married people and the lifelong single people, got assigned to one of the other groups. The authors’ prediction was that the people who got married would do the best – but the people who got divorced and widowed did get married. They just didn’t stay that way. The authors – like just about everyone else who studies marital status – gave the married group an unfair advantage by excluding from that group everyone who got married, hated it, and got divorced. They compounded the unfairness by including the previously married with other groups, such as the lifelong single people, whose psychological well-being may have looked even better if they were studied on their own.
  10. Even if the authors had found exactly what they predicted, with married people doing the best and unpartnered singles the worst, the design of their study would not allow them to make the claim that the married or partnered people were doing better because they were married or partnered. The people in the four groups were all different people. Consider, for example, the unpartnered single people who chose to be single, who perhaps were single at heart. If they were to marry or cohabit, they might not experience any improvement in psychological well-being – and in fact could end up doing less well, psychologically – even if the people who chose to marry or cohabit did better. (In this study, especially among the women, they generally did not do better.)
  11. The authors are not alone in giving short shrift to the methodological issues that disadvantage single people, and they are not alone in citing uncritically claims about the benefits of marrying that have been extensively critiqued. The methodological issues are basic ones but rarely fully acknowledged in the research on marital status. (This is explained in more detail here, here, and here.)
mirror

The authors offered one possible explanation for why partnership status didn’t matter for the women: Wives do more caregiving than husbands, so they may not get the same benefits from their partnerships that men do. That explanation, though, overlooks all the research showing that single people do more of the work of caring for their aging parents than married people do, and that single people are more likely to step in to help people who need help for three months or more, even when those people are not family members. So single women are in some ways doing more of the work of caregiving than married people, yet, in this study, they are doing just as well as partnered women in their psychological well-being.

Considering the profoundly important ways that the unpartnered single people are disadvantaged – both in the society at large, in this particular study, and in the specific methodology of this study and so many others – perhaps the most significant question raised by the present study (and the research on marital and relationship status more broadly) is, how is this possible? How is it possible that the unpartnered single people in this study were disadvantaged economically, educationally, in their employment status, in their access to private health insurance, and faced more racial stigma and discrimination as well, yet they held their own on every measure of psychological well-being? (In some of their analyses, the authors tried to control for these differences and a few others, but it made little difference.) With so much going against them, why didn’t the unpartnered single people do worse than everyone else, as the authors predicted they would? How is it possible that single people are stereotyped, stigmatized, marginalized, and discriminated against, and still live happily ever after? That’s a question hardly anyone addresses.

What mattered more than having a romantic partner

The focus of the article was on romantic partnerships and their purported benefits. But for the women especially, the predicted benefits of having a spouse or cohabiting partner or dating partner simply were not there.

Those romantic partnerships were supposed to provide the social attachments and commitments that enhanced people’s psychological well-being. For the most part, they didn’t. The data the authors reported actually did show the importance of social ties, just not the narrow romantic ones that were at the center of their interest.

All participants answered questions about social support, assessing the extent to which they could open up to their friends and family, and rely and friends and family when they have a problem. Social support did matter, for both women and men, in almost every way.

Although romantic partnership never mattered for women, social support from friends and family always did. Women with more social support were less likely to report frequent depressive symptoms, they were less likely to experience stress, and they were less likely to be lonely. Social support from friends and family mattered to men, too, though not quite as much as it did for the women. Men who had more social support were less likely to report frequent depressive symptoms and they were slightly less likely to experience stress.

In the section of the article in which the authors discussed the meaning and implications of their findings, they never mentioned what they found about social support. They never suggested, for example, that perhaps social support from friends and family, and the reciprocal support participants likely provided in return, constituted the very social attachments and commitments theorized to be so special to romantic partners. They never urged their colleagues to consider the possibility that support from friends and family is more important than romantic partnerships. Instead, they said their findings “demonstrate the need to consider the benefits of non-marital unions for older adults.”

Other research has already shown the significance of ties beyond romantic ones to people of different marital statuses. It is single people, more than married people, who maintain ties with friends, neighbors, siblings, and parents. When people marry, they become more insular. They lean on one particular social attachment and commitment, the one to their spouse. The hierarchy perspective considers one kind of relationship, a romantic relationship, to be paramount, and marginalizes all the other significant people and relationships in our lives. Maybe that’s one of the reasons the authors did not find what they thought they would.

Details of the study

Participants were about 1,000 people, ages 57 through 85, from a representative national sample from the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project. The project was a longitudinal study but the authors of the present study analyzed the three dependent measures (depressive symptoms, perceived stress, and loneliness) from only one point in time, Wave II of the data. The other variables in the study, including partnership status, demographic characteristics, socioeconomic resources, and social support, were measured at Wave I.

Depression was assessed by the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. It includes items such as “felt depressed,” “felt everything was an effort,” and “did not feel like eating.” The authors created a measure that separated people into those who experienced depressive symptoms frequently and those who did not experience symptoms as frequently.

Perceived stress was measured by participants’ answers to questions such as “I felt difficulties were piling up so high I could not overcome them” and “I was unable to control important things in my life.” The authors created a measure that separated people into those who rarely or never experienced those stressors in the past week, and those who experienced them more often.

Loneliness was assessed by participants’ answers to three questions: How often do you feel that you lack companionship? How often do you feel isolated from others?  How often do you feel left out? (When single answer that last question, they may be describing more than a feeling, as, for example, when coupled people exclude their single friends because they are single.)

Summary

There actually is a hierarchy of value and respect, and it is just the one the authors described: married people are valued and respected the most, and given the most benefits and protections; cohabiters are in second place, followed by single people who are dating. Single people without romantic partners are the most stereotyped and stigmatized. The authors thought that psychological well-being would follow the same hierarchy, with married people enjoying the most and unpartnered single people the least. There are many reasons why it would be reasonable to expect that, including all the ways in which married people are advantaged and single people are not – both in society in general and in the specific way this study, and many other studies of marital status, are designed and analyzed. But that’s not what they found. Partnership status made no difference whatsoever for the women: the married, cohabiting, dating and unpartnered single women were all about the same in their experiences of depression, stress, and loneliness. Partnership made some difference to the men, but not always in the way the authors expected. For example, married men never did significantly better than the cohabiting men in any way. The dating men also did no better than the unpartnered men on any of the measures of their psychological well-being. The key question left unanswered by this study is: How is it that single people do so well psychologically, when they have so much stacked against them?

The fact that partnership status did not matter to women (and did not always matter to men, either) doesn’t mean that social ties and interpersonal commitments don’t matter. They do matter, when ties beyond the narrow romantic ones are considered. The men and women with more social support from friends and family experienced less depression and less stress, and the women less often felt lonely.

 
References
Wright, M., & Brown, S. L. (2016). Psychological well-being among older adults:
 The role of partnership status. Journal of Marriage and Family.
Currently available online; will appear in print later.
Bella DePaulo (Ph.D., Harvard, 1979) is a social psychologist and the author of Singled Out: How Singles are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After (link is external) (St. Martin’s Press) and How We Live Now: Redefining Home and Family in the 21st Century (link is external) (Atria), and other books (link is external). Atlantic magazine described Dr. DePaulo as “America’s foremost thinker and writer on the single experience.” In Singled Out and in her other work on people who are single, DePaulo has drawn from social science data to challenge the stereotypes of people who are single. DePaulo has also offered seminars and workshops on the science of singlehood. She is the recipient of a number of honors and awards, such as the James McKeen Cattell Award and the Research Scientist Development Award. DePaulo has published more than 100 scientific papers and has served in various leadership positions in professional organizations. She has written op-ed essays for publications such as the New York Times, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Newsday, and the San Francisco Chronicle, and she is also a contributor to the Huffington Post. Bella DePaulo has discussed the place of singles in society on radio and television, including NPR and CNN, and her work has been described in newspapers (such as the New York Times and the Washington Post) and magazines (such as Time, Business Week, and Psychology Today). She is a Project Scientist at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Visit her website at BellaDePaulo.com (link is external).

 sources: www.psychologytoday.com


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Teff Benefits: 8 Healthy Reasons To Add Teff To Your Diet

It’s the super tiny grain with the not-so-tiny power.

Teff, which is grown in Ethiopia and used to make injera (the sourdough flatbread), is a small grain with a long list of health benefits.

“Teff packs a nutritional punch to your diet if you are looking for a super food that gives you excellent combination benefits,” says Rosanna Lee, a nutrition educator based in Toronto.

Along with being gluten-free, high in iron and super tasty, teff is also known to reduce PMS symptoms and help you lose weight, and Lee says it’s ideal for vegetarians looking for sources of protein.

But the one thing this super grain doesn’t have is a cheap price tag. Teff can cost up to $8 per pound and one site that ships teff across North America starts at $25 for four pounds.

If you don’t mind spending the money, though, this superfood could just be worth it. Here are Lee’s eight reasons why you need more teff in your life.

The Health Benefits Of Teff

High Nutritional Value

Teff is high in protein with a great combination of eight essential amino acids needed for the body’s growth and repair. It has high amounts of calcium (1 cup of cooked teff offers about 1/2 cup of calcium found in cooked spinach), manganese, phosphorous, iron, copper, aluminum, barium, thiamin, and vitamin C (which is not normally found in grains). The iron from teff is easily absorbed and is also recommended for people with low blood iron levels.

High Nutritional Value

Teff is high in protein with a great combination of eight essential amino acids needed for the body’s growth and repair. It has high amounts of calcium (1 cup of cooked teff offers about 1/2 cup of calcium found in cooked spinach), manganese, phosphorous, iron, copper, aluminum, barium, thiamin, and vitamin C (which is not normally found in grains). The iron from teff is easily absorbed and is also recommended for people with low blood iron levels.

teff

Gluten-Free

Teff is a gluten-free grain so it can be a great alternative for those living with celiac disease, having gluten intolerance or choosing a gluten-free lifestyle.

Better Manage Blood Sugars

If you’re diabetic, you might want to consider adding teff to your diet to control blood sugar levels. Teff contains approximately 20 to 40 per cent resistant starches and has a relatively low glycemic index (GI) that can help diabetics better regulate their sugar levels.

It Will Make You Go

Teff is also great for helping you go. The fibre content in this tiny little grain can help you regulate your bowel movements and keep you feeling fuller longer.

Low In Sodium

Teff is also great for those seeking to lower their blood pressure and maintain a heart healthy diet. Unprocessed teff is a better alternative compared with pre-processed, cooked teff which often comes with preservatives or additives that are high in sodium. If you’re worried, always double check nutritional labels.

Low In Fat

Naturally, this grain is very low in saturated fat.

You Can Do A Lot With It

Part of eating a nutritionally adequate diet is being able to incorporate superfoods like teff into all of your meals. Teff is a versatile grain and can be eaten whole, steamed, boiled or baked. Today, teff is found in a variety of products like pancakes, breads, cereals, snack bars and many other foods. Traditionally, it is used to make Ethiopian injera (sourdough bread).

It Tastes Great

Looking very much like poppy seeds, teff has a nutty, grainy taste and texture that can add dimension to your recipes and cooking. Most Ethiopian platters are served on injera bread.

By Arti Patel        02/06/2014


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‘Magic Mushroom’ Psychedelic May Ease Anxiety, Depression

NEW YORK, N.Y. – The psychedelic drug in “magic mushrooms” can quickly and effectively help treat anxiety and depression in cancer patients, an effect that may last for months, two small studies show.

It worked for Dinah Bazer, who endured a terrifying hallucination that rid her of the fear that her ovarian cancer would return. And for Estalyn Walcoff, who says the drug experience led her to begin a comforting spiritual journey.

The work released Thursday is preliminary and experts say more definitive research must be done on the effects of the substance, called psilocybin (sih-loh-SY’-bihn).

But the record so far shows “very impressive results,” said Dr. Craig Blinderman, who directs the adult palliative care service at the Columbia University Medical Center/New York-Presbyterian Hospital. He didn’t participate in the work.

Psilocybin, also called shrooms, purple passion and little smoke, comes from certain kinds of mushrooms. It is illegal in the U.S., and if the federal government approves the treatment, it would be administered in clinics by specially trained staff, experts say.

Nobody should try it on their own, which would be risky, said the leaders of the two studies, Dr. Stephen Ross of New York University and Roland Griffiths of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Psychedelic drugs have looked promising in the past for treating distress in cancer patients. But studies of medical use of psychedelics stopped in the early 1970s after a regulatory crackdown on the drugs, following their widespread recreational use. It has slowly resumed in recent years.

Griffiths said it’s not clear whether psilocybin would work outside of cancer patients, although he suspects it might work in people facing other terminal conditions. Plans are also underway to study it in depression that resists standard treatment, he said.

The new studies, published in the Journal of Psychotherapy, are small. The NYU project, which also included psychotherapy, covered just 29 patients. The Hopkins study had 51.

Bazer, who lives in New York, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2010, when she was 63. Treatment was successful, but then she became anxious about it coming back.

“I just began to be filled with a terrible dread,” she said in an interview. “You’re waiting for the other shoe to drop. … (The anxiety) was ruining my life.”

She swallowed a capsule of psilocybin in 2012 in the company of two staff members trained to guide her through the several hours that the drug would affect her brain. As she listened to music through headphones, her eyes covered with a sleep mask, the drug went to work.

“Suddenly I was in a dark, terrifying place, lost in space, lost in time,” she recalled. “I had no bearings and I was really, really terrified.”

magic-mushrooms

Then she saw her dread of a cancer recurrence as a black mass in her abdomen, and she furiously yelled at it to leave.

“As soon as that happened, the fear was gone,” she said. “I was just floating in the music … like being carried in a river.”

Then she felt deep love for her family and friends, and sensed their love for her. “It felt like I was bathed in God’s love … I’m still an atheist, by the way, but that really seemed to be the only way to describe it.”

Researchers said such mystical experiences appeared to play a role in the drug’s therapeutic effect.

Walcoff, 69, a psychotherapist in Rochester, New York, also entered the NYU study because of her anxiety over a cancer recurrence, in her case, lymphoma. (Most participants had active cancer.)

Psilocybin “opened me up to pursue meditation and spiritual searching,” Walcoff said, and as a result of that “I have become reassured and convinced that that phase of my life is over and it’s not going to come back.”

Most funding for the studies came from the Heffter Research Institute, a non-profit organization that supports studies of psilocybin and other hallucinogens.

In both studies, psilocybin treatment had more effect on anxiety and depression than a placebo did. For example, by the day after treatment, about 80 per cent of the treated NYU patients no longer qualified as clinically anxious or depressed by standard measures. That compares to about 30 per cent for the placebo group. That’s a remarkably fast response, experts said, and it endured for the seven weeks of the comparison.

The studies took different approaches for formulating a placebo. At NYU, patients were given niacin, which mimics some effects of psilocybin. At Hopkins, the placebo was a very low dose of psilocybin itself.

Researchers in both studies eventually gave full psilocybin treatment to the placebo groups and followed all the patients for about six months. The beneficial effects appeared to persist over that period. But the evidence for that is less strong than for the shorter term, because there was no longer any placebo comparison group.

No severe side effects arose from the treatment.

Dr. William Breitbart, chief of the psychiatry service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, who didn’t participate in the studies, said they were improvements over prior research on the topic. But there were still enough shortcomings to make him cautious about drawing conclusions, he said.

In any case, Bazer and Walcoff say the treatment affected more than their cancer anxieties. Walcoff said it has helped her work on being less judgmental and more self-accepting. Bazer said it made her a more patient driver and more active socially.

“It really changed everything for me,” Bazer said. “And I still do not have anxiety about the cancer coming back.”

 

MALCOLM RITTER, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS         12.01.2016

 


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This Type of Exercise May Guard Against Dementia

People who worked out on a bike, a treadmill, or the elliptical showed improvement in their memory and problem solving skills after six months, a new study found.

Working out is good for you in more ways than we can count, but a new study may have uncovered a new perk for people with memory problems.

Researchers from the Wake Forest School of Medicine found that aerobic exercise appears to boost thinking skills and brain volume in adults diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, a condition that sits in between normal age-related memory decline and more serious dementia. Stretching routines also increased brain volume over a six-month period, but had no noticeable impact on brain function.

The study was presented today at an annual meeting of radiologists in Chicago, and hasn’t yet been peer-reviewed or published.

Researchers used a new MRI technique to measure both volume and shape changes in specific areas of the brain, which are both important indicators for tracking the development of dementia.

At the start of the study, the researchers performed MRI scans on 35 people with mild cognitive impairment, which is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. The participants were then divided into two groups and assigned to four weekly sessions of either stretching exercises or aerobic activity—walking on a treadmill, cycling on a stationary bike, or training on an elliptical machine. After six months, the researchers did a second MRI scan and compared the two sets of scans.

aerobic_exercise_at_gym

Both groups showed increases in most gray matter regions of the brain, including the temporal lobe, which supports short-term memory. But those increases were greater in the group that walked, pedaled, or spent time on the elliptical.

“Even over a short period of time, we saw aerobic exercise lead to a remarkable change in the brain,” said lead investigator Laura D. Baker, PhD, associate professor of gerontology and geriatric medicine at Wake Forest, in a press release.

People in the stretching group had less total brain volume increase, and their brain scans also showed signs of “directional deformation”—shape changes possibly related to volume loss—within the brain’s white matter. The researchers believe these hard-to-detect signs could be early indicators of dementia. “Directional changes in the brain without local volume changes could be a novel biomarker for neurological disease,” co-author Jeongchul Kim, PhD, said in a press release.

In an abstract presented at the conference, the researchers concluded that aerobic exercise “could preserve or possibly even improve brain volumes” in people with early cognitive problems.

What’s more, the researchers also reported that over a six-month period, participants in the aerobic exercise group improved in tests that measure executive function—a set of thinking processes that include working memory, reasoning, and problem solving—while the stretching group showed no change.

That doesn’t mean stretching didn’t help in some way, the authors say, especially when compared to completely sedentary behavior. It does suggest, however, that aerobic activity may be a better bet for overall brain functioning.

Plenty of previous research has tied exercise to better brain outcomes in older adults; a 2014 Canadian study, for example, found that brisk walking (but not resistance training, balance exercises, or muscle toning) was associated with enlargement of the hippocampus. Aerobic exercise may have some competition when it comes to brain health, however. Last month, an Australian study found that women who lifted weights regularly had better cognitive function than those who did regular stretching and calisthenics.

This newest study, although small and preliminary, is in line with previous research suggesting that “any type of exercise can be beneficial,” said Kim—good news for older adults who perhaps can’t get out and walk, ride, or otherwise break a sweat. However, he added, “If possible, aerobic activity may create potential benefits for higher cognitive functioning.”

 

 By Amanda MacMillan      November 30, 2016


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Top 10 Ways To Stay Healthy This Winter

It seems that no matter how well I plan to take it easy during the holidays, I still end up feeling exhausted when they’re over. Even though I try to avoid malls and holiday traffic all together, it seems that even the cooking and laughing and staying up late are enough to leave me feeling drained.

The cold temperatures and lack of sunshine that occur during the winter have a considerable impact on our well-being, particularly since Jack Frost brings unwanted presents with him: the flu and dampened moods.

But winter doesn’t have to zap your energy or pit you against this season’s new hard-to-beat bug. Stay well all winter long by following the action points below, suggested by health and well-being blogger, Alicia Benjamin.

Thankfully, for those of us who feel like we’ll never have the motivation to get back to our normal routine, these small actions only take a few minutes, or seconds, to do.

1. Eat one dark green vegetable every day. Dark green veggies contain minerals like iron and vitamins like A, C, K, and folate that your body needs to stay healthy. Instead of sticking with spinach, try something different like sautéed dandelion greens added to a stir-fry, or kale or Swiss chard added to a favorite stew or soup recipe.

2. Call a friend. Instead of hunkering down with Love Actually again during a snowstorm, give someone you haven’t seen in a while a call. Hearing a friend’s voice can boost your mood and socializing helps you feel connected to the people who matter most to you.

3. Take five. To combat feeling overwhelmed and rundown during the busy holiday season, take five minutes to close your eyes. Clear your mind of your to-do list (it can wait) and, instead, focus solely on your breathing. Rest your hands over your heart. Repeat in your mind or aloud a calming word, like “blue” or “ocean,” to help ease tension throughout your body. Try picturing yourself on a sunny beach; listen to the waves crash upon shore. Even though it’s not an actual vacation or a real respite from the freezing temps, visualization exercises can be very effective in promoting relaxation and boosting your mood.

4. Hide the remote. When the cold weather sets in, you may be tempted to curl up with a blanket and watch television. Instead, hide the remote so you’re forced to get up to change channels or adjust the volume. You can also challenge yourself by doing jumping jacks during commercial breaks. Little bursts of movement during your down time will ensure you’re getting much-needed activity during the hibernation months.
winter

5. Bake your fruit. Chances are you won’t be craving watermelon when temps drop. So instead, bake fruit for a healthy after-dinner dessert or oatmeal topping for breakfast. Put apple slices and cranberries in the oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and add a sprinkle of cinnamon—a powerful antioxidant—on top to add both health benefits and flavor.

6. Go green. It’s tempting to reach for soda or coffee when we’re feeling sleepy during the winter. Instead, enjoy a cup of green tea. It’s loaded with antioxidants. Plus, green tea extract may also boost metabolism and help burn fat—an added bonus during a time in which we usually indulge. Want the benefits of other hues? Wear yellow or red during the bleakest of winter days to help boost your mood and energy level, or choose green or blue to bring a sense of calm to your busy holiday-planning days.

7. Get more D. We’re often bundled up inside during the winter months, which means we don’t get as much vitamin D as in summer months. There are lots of ways to get vegan and animal sources of vitamin D; supplement your diet with cod liver oil high in EPA/DHA; and add Sockeye salmon, sardines, shrimp, and tuna to your cold-weather menu. Vitamin D can help build strong bones (as it helps the body use calcium) and boost our immune systems for the flu season ahead. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends 400 to 800 IU of vitamin D daily for adults younger than 50, and 800 to 1,000 IU for adults 50 and older.

8. Disinfect your desk and phone. Your phone receiver and desk surface at work can harbor germs that are spreading around the office. Wipe down your space at least once a week with an antibacterial spray. Method and Seventh Generation make great ones. Also, slip a hand sanitizer in your purse to kill bacteria wherever you go.

9. Keep your bedroom at no more than 68-72 degrees F. Holding the heat will help promote a sound sleep to ensure you’re feeling well rested and refreshed to take on the winter days. Also, aim to get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night. Want to fall asleep more quickly? Wear socks to bed.

10. Get moving. Temps in the teens make it rather hard to pull yourself out from underneath a pile of blankets. But during the cold weather, nudge yourself to get moving because exercise helps boosts mood and your immune system. Not a fan of outdoor activities like snow shoeing? Hit the mall to walk laps; keep an eye out for gyms offering free trials or classes; look into the costs of joining a local community center like the YMCA; or simply add a few at-home exercises like squats, lunges, and wall push-ups to your daily routine.

A health and well-being blogger, Alicia Benjamin is currently enrolled at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition to become a certified health counselor. Alicia works as the Social Media Manager at MeYou Health, a Boston-based social well-being company that provides web and mobile apps to promote healthy living. Alicia tweets about well-being at @AliciaGetsFit and is a regular contributor to the MeYou Health blog.

by Beth Buczynski     @bethbuczynski
source: www.care2.com


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5 Things People With Integrity Do Differently

When you meet a person who has exceptional integrity, you know that there is just something different about them that might feel like an attracting force. There’s no real secret to being a person of integrity, and becoming that type of charismatic, honest person is something that everyone should try to accomplish for living a life of authenticity.

Personal integrity is being true to who you are, personally, in spite of who you are with at the time, since your relationship should only define a part of who you are. Integrity is a way of being honest in your actions and it is what makes you a trustworthy romantic partner, business partner, and member of society.

People with integrity are people whose words and actions match and often inspire us to want to be like them. These are the role models of our society. They show up and do what needs to be done. People with integrity are problem solvers and movers and shakers.

In this article, we will explore the 5 things that people with integrity do differently and how we can adopt their best habits for ourselves.

5 THINGS PEOPLE WITH INTEGRITY DO DIFFERENTLY

1. DO WHAT YOU SAY YOU WILL DO

Have you ever failed to come through for someone who you made a promise to? People with integrity inspire us because they are consistent with the fact that their word is their bond. They act differently by committing to keep promises that they have given. If you can say the same thing about yourself, then that makes you a person with integrity that acts differently than those who do not.

2. STAND UP FOR WHAT IS RIGHT

Bullies are not going to like what a person with integrity has to say. The same goes for anyone who is using belittling language or name-calling. People with integrity sick up for the little guy when the little guy is getting picked on.

They have an innate sense of right and wrong and seek to balance the scales of justice. When someone with power is abusing their power, people with integrity are there to defend the powerless. Abuse of power is an injustice. People with integrity see others being treated as ‘less than’ and come to their defense.

integrity

3. LOOK IN THE MIRROR AND COMMIT TO POSITIVE CHANGE

Part of a healthy level of self-evaluation is looking at whether or not we hold ourselves accountable to the same standards that we hold others to. We cannot be justified in pointing fingers at others when we haven’t cleaned up our own houses first.

You may have heard the saying that when you point one finger, there are three pointing back at you. Judging others’ faults is an easy trap to fall into, but instead of putting others down, people with integrity lift others up by owning up to their own flaws.

None of us is perfect and embracing those parts of you that you want to change is something that people with integrity are doing differently. Not only do people with integrity acknowledge their flaws, they seek to improve themselves in the areas that need changing.

4. TAKE OWNERSHIP FOR SOLVING PROBLEMS, EVEN WHEN THE FAULT LIES ELSEWHERE

People with integrity are different in that they assume the role of leader when no one else will. Maybe it wasn’t your fault that someone left trash in the hallway, but people with integrity see that there is a problem and take ownership of it anyway. Another thing that people with integrity do differently is that they are also more likely to be volunteers or people who champion a cause for the little guy.

One model of management theory in the workplace is that of Servant Leadership, as described first by Robert Greenleaf.

Greenleaf says that these are the traits of a servant leader:

  1.  listening;
  2. empathy;
  3. healing;
  4. awareness;
  5. persuasion;
  6. conceptualization;
  7. foresight;
  8. stewardship;
  9. commitment to the growth of people; and
  10. building community.

 

5. ACT SOONER RATHER THAN LATER

People with integrity don’t wait to act in case someone else jumps in first to save a drowning person; they are the ones who jump first and come to the aid of their fellow man and woman as often as possible.

In a journal article on personal accountability in the workplace, former NASA mechanical engineer Roger M. Boisjoly says, ‘If good and knowledgeable people observe wrongdoing and simply turn away to protect their own self interests without attempting to correct the wrongdoing, they become part of the problem.’

Boisjoly spoke up a year prior to the disastrous Space Shuttle Challenger mission in 1986 and NASA’s fatal decision to launch in spite of known problems for the operating temperatures of the O-rings. This is one example of how failing to act quickly is one thing that people with integrity do differently; acting sooner rather than later can impact the lives of many people.