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9 New Facts About Attraction We Learned in 2016

Do opposites attract? The kind of people who have more sex. Why men shouldn’t try to sound sexy, and more…

1. Opposites only attract when people are single

When people are single they are more attracted to faces that are dissimilar to their own, new research finds.

But, when people are already in a relationship, they are more attracted to faces that look similar to their own.

In other words: opposites attract for single people, but not for those in a relationship.

The reason that dissimilar faces attract could be down to avoiding incest or other people with similar genes.

2. Altruism linked to having more sex

People who help others out have more sex, new research concludes.

The more altruistic people are, the more sexual partners they have and the more frequently they have sex.

Could it be, then, that being nice to other people is the ultimate aphrodisiac?

Who would have thought it?

3. The weight change required to increase attractivity

The face can reveal whether our weight has changed, but how much is required for others to see it?

Dr Nicholas Rule, co-author of a new study on the subject, explains:

“Women and men of average height need to gain or lose about three and a half and four kilograms, or about eight and nine pounds, respectively, for anyone to see it in their face, but they need to lose about twice as much for anyone to find them more attractive.”

 

4. Men should NOT try to ‘sound sexy’

Women have no trouble changing their voice to make it sound more sexy, but men have no clue.

Women lower the pitch of their voice and make it sound more breathy — which men find more attractive.

Dr Hughes said men found it difficult to sound sexy:

“In fact, although not significantly, it got a bit worse when men tried to sound sexy.”

The reason for the differences could be down to practice, the researchers think.

Men do not really focus on making their voice sound sexier, but women do.

couple

5. Uncertainty is key to attraction

Women are more attracted to men when they are uncertain of his feelings.

So the old dating advice about ‘playing hard-to-get’ may have some scientific basis.

It all comes down to how much we are thinking about the other person.

The study’s authors write:

“When people first meet, it may be that popular dating advice is correct: Keeping people in the dark about how much we like them will increase how much they think about us and will pique their interest.”

 

6. Beards signal long-term relationships

Women judge fully bearded men to be a better bet for long-term relationships.

This might be because it makes men look more ‘formidable’.

Certainly, beards make men look older and more aggressive.

Beards are also often judged to make men look like they have higher social status.

However, for short-term relationships, women judge stubble to be most attractive, the new research found.

7. Left cheeks are more attractive

Believe it or not, our cheeks were not created equal in attractiveness or emotional expression.

People’s left cheeks are generally seen as more attractive than their right, a psychology study has found.

It may be because people tend to show more emotion with their left cheek than their right.

The reason could be down to how emotions are processed in the brain.

8. Mixed race faces are most attractive

Mixed-race faces are consistently seen as the most attractive when compared with black and white faces.

The finding is dramatic among the most attractive people, writes Dr Michael Lewis, the study’s author:

“…40% of the faces in the experiment were mixed race but among the top 10% most attractive faces this proportion increased to 65%.
Of the top 5% most attractive faces, 74% were mixed race…
…people whose genetic backgrounds are more diverse are, on average, perceived as more attractive than those whose backgrounds are less diverse.”

 

9. The group changes how attractive you look

How attractive you look depends on the attractiveness of the people around you, new research finds.

An average-looking person is rated as more attractive when surrounded by unappealing faces.

Dr Nicholas Furl, the study’s author, said:

“Last year’s film The Duff, – an acronym for the rather unfortunate and unfair term ‘Designated Ugly Fat Friend’ explored how the main character felt being physically compared to her friendship group.
As in life, this film showed that how we perceive beauty and attractiveness isn’t fixed.”

 

source: PsyBlog


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Fun Fact Friday

  • You can “rewire” your brain to be happy by simply recalling 3 things you’re grateful for every day for 21 days.
  • Hardest question to answer: “Describe yourself?”
  • People who are exposed to bright light early in the morning tend to be more alert throughout the day.
  • The difference between caramel and butterscotch is butterscotch contains brown sugar instead of white. Toffee is butterscotch cooked longer.

mangoes

  • Most of the problems in your life are due to two reasons: you act without thinking, or think without acting.
  • The mango is the most popular fruit in the world. It also helps against cancer, clears skin and lowers cholesterol.
  • Human bones are 31% water.
  • Happiness is increased when tangible goals like “making someone smile” are made.
  • Crying releases extra stress hormones, which is why you feel better after doing so.Crying releases extra stress hormones, which is why you feel better after doing so.

 

Happy Friday  🙂

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


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Five Ways Christmas Affects Your Brain

Christmas is a time of year like no other; gifts are exchanged, little-spoken-to relatives are contacted, and appetising treats are consumed with great gusto. Christmas can be both a time of stress and a time of relaxation. But whether you love or hate Christmas it’s pretty difficult to avoid – and so your brain may be altered by the experience one way or another. Here are some of the main facets of the Christmas experience, and how they might affect your brain.

The festive spirit: The joy surrounding Christmas may influence some of the chemicals in your brain (dopamine and serotonin) which affect your happiness levels. Dopamine is known to be involved with reward-driven behaviour and pleasure seeking and serotonin is thought to increase our feelings of worth and belonging. So when people talk about “Christmas cheer” they may be on to something.

In fact, researchers at the University of Copenhagen conducted an imaging study to try and find the “centre” of the Christmas spirit in the human brain. Here, participants were shown Christmas-themed images and, in those participants who actively celebrated Christmas, there was increased brain activation in the sensory motor cortex, the premotor and primary motor cortex, and the parietal lobule. Previously these brain areas have been associated with spirituality, bodily senses and recognising facial emotions. While these results should be interpreted with some caution, it is interesting to note the physical effects that feeling festive can exert on your brain.

christmas

Stress: Not everyone finds Christmas an entirely joyful and festive time – many people find it very stressful. In fact, the burdens of navigating through a busy shopping centre to find the ideal gift for your other half, or of cooking the perfect turkey for a house full of hungry people, is enough to rattle even the calmest person. Stress can exert a physical response in your body, with the automatic release of adrenaline and cortisol. Further, cortisol has been shown to have a profound effect on the hippocampus, which may decrease your memory and ability to multitask.

Giving gifts: The giving and receiving of gifts is an age-old Christmas tradition and there’s no better feeling than seeing your loved one’s eyes light up when you’ve found the perfect gift for them. But why does giving make us feel so good? Generosity has been linked with the reward circuitry of our brain, causing the release of dopamine and endorphins. Researchers have described a “helpers’ high”, which is experienced after giving. The chemicals that cause this high can reduce stress and increase your desire to repeat these acts of kindness. So, while you may resent being out of pocket after buying your great aunt that pair of slippers, your brain at least ensures that you are compensated with a chemical reward.

Bonding with family and friends: The quintessential Christmas experience involves sitting around a table with your loved ones. In fact, it’s hard to even imagine the festive period without thinking of your family and friends. The bond between you and those special to you can result in the release of a hormone called oxytocin in the brain. Oxytocin – sometimes referred to as the “cuddle hormone” – drives maternal behaviour, trust, and social attachment. As such, this hormone may help towards explaining that warm, fuzzy feeling you get at Christmas when surrounded by those you love and trust.

Overindulging: Indulging in our favourite food and drinks is all part of the Christmas experience – but overeating can affect your brain. It has been shown to activate a pathway linking the hypothalamus in the brain to the immune system. This leads to an immune response and low-grade inflammation, which may explain why you can feel unwell after eating too much. Of course, this doesn’t do much harm to your body after one extravagant Christmas meal – but, when overeating becomes a long-term issue, this inflammation can become chronic, and contribute to Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

But for now, don’t worry too much if you’ve got Christmas on the brain, you’ll soon be back to your usual self come January.

December 21, 2016     Kira Shaw    Postdoctoral Researcher in Neuroscience, University of Sussex
 


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20 Delicious High-Protein Foods to Eat

People argue about carbs, fats, and everything in between.

However, almost everyone agrees that protein is important.

Eating plenty of protein has numerous benefits.

It can help you lose weight (especially belly fat), and increase your muscle mass and strength, to name a few.

The recommended daily intake (RDI) is 46 grams for women, and 56 grams for men.

However, many health and fitness experts believe that we need much more than that.

Here is a list of 20 delicious foods that are high in protein.

1. Eggs

Whole eggs are among the healthiest and most nutritious foods on the planet.

They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, eye-protecting antioxidants and brain nutrients that most people don’t get enough of.

Whole eggs are high in protein, but egg whites are almost pure protein.

Protein content: 35% of calories in a whole egg. 1 large egg contains 6 grams of protein, with 78 calories.

2. Almonds

Almonds are a popular type of tree nut.

They are loaded with important nutrients, including fiber, vitamin E, manganese and magnesium.

Protein content: 13% of calories. 6 grams per 1 ounce (28 g) serving, with 161 calories.

Other High-Protein Nuts

Pistachios (13% of calories) and cashews (11% of calories).

3. Chicken Breast

Chicken breast is one of the most popular protein-rich foods.

If you eat it without the skin, the majority of the calories in it come from protein.

Chicken breast is also very easy to cook, and tastes delicious if you do it right.

Protein content: 80% of calories. 1 roasted chicken breast without skin contains 53 grams, with only 284 calories.

4. Oats

Oats are among the healthiest grains on the planet.

They are loaded with healthy fibers, magnesium, manganese, thiamin (vitamin B1) and several other nutrients.

Protein content: 15% of calories. Half a cup of raw oats contains 13 grams, with 303 calories.

5. Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is a type of cheese that tends to be very low in fat and calories.

It is loaded with calcium, phosphorus, selenium, vitamin B12, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and various other nutrients.

Protein content: 59% of calories. A cup (226 g) of cottage cheese with 2% fat contains 27 grams of protein, with 194 calories.

Other Types of Cheese That Are High in Protein

Parmesan cheese (38% of calories), swiss cheese (30%), mozzarella (29%) and cheddar (26%).

6. Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt, also called strained yogurt, is a very thick type of yogurt.

It tastes delicious, has a creamy texture, and is high in many nutrients.

Protein content: Non-fat greek yogurt has protein at 48% of calories. One 170 gram (6 ounce) container has 17 grams of protein, with only 100 calories.

Just make sure to choose one without added sugar. Full-fat Greek yogurt is also very high in protein, but contains more calories.

Similar Options

Regular full-fat yogurt (24% of calories) and kefir (40%).

7. Milk

Milk is highly nutritious, but the problem is that a huge percentage of the world’s adults are intolerant to it.

However, if you tolerate milk and enjoy drinking it, then milk can be an excellent source of high-quality protein.

Milk contains a little bit of almost every single nutrient needed by the human body.

It is particularly high in calcium, phosphorus and riboflavin (vitamin B2).

Protein content: 21% of calories. 1 cup of whole milk contains 8 grams of protein, with 149 calories.

produce

8. Broccoli

Broccoli is an incredibly healthy vegetable, loaded with vitamin C, vitamin K, fiber and potassium.

Broccoli is also loaded with various bioactive nutrients believed to help protect against cancer.

Calorie for calorie, it is high in protein compared to most vegetables.

Protein content: 20% of calories. 1 cup of chopped broccoli (96 grams) contains 3 grams of protein, with only 31 calories.

9. Lean Beef

Lean beef is very high in protein, and also tastes delicious.

It is loaded with highly bioavailable iron, vitamin B12 and numerous other nutrients.

Protein content: 53% of calories. One 3 ounce (85 g) serving of cooked beef with 10% fat contains 22 grams of protein, with 184 calories.

If you’re on a low-carb diet, feel free to eat fatty cuts of beef instead of lean beef.

10. Tuna

Tuna is a very popular type of fish.

It is low in both fat and calories, so what we’re left with is mostly just protein.

Like other fish, tuna is also very high in various nutrients and contains a decent amount of omega-3 fatty acids.

Protein content: 94% of calories, in tuna canned in water. A cup (154) contains 39 grams of protein, with only 179 calories.

11. Quinoa

Quinoa is a seed/grain that is currently among the world’s most popular superfoods.

It is high in many vitamins, minerals and fiber, and is loaded with antioxidants.

Quinoa has numerous health benefits.

Protein content: 15% of calories. One cup (185 g) of cooked quinoa contains 8 grams, with 222 calories.

12. Whey Protein Supplements

When you’re pressed for time and unable to cook, a whey protein supplement can come in handy.

Whey is a type of high-quality protein from dairy foods, shown to be very effective at building muscle mass, and may help with weight loss.

Protein content: Varies between brands, can go over 90% of calories, with 20-50 grams of protein per serving.

13. Lentils

Lentils are a type of legume.

They are high in fiber, magnesium, potassium, iron, folate, copper, manganese and various other nutrients.

Lentils are among the world’s best sources of plant-based protein, and are an excellent food for vegetarians.

Protein content: 27% of calories. 1 cup (198 g) of boiled lentils contains 18 grams, with 230 calories.

Other High-Protein Legumes

Soybeans (33% of calories), chickpeas (19%) and kidney beans (24%).

14. Ezekiel Bread

Ezekiel bread is different from most other breads.

It is made of organic and sprouted whole grains and legumes, including millet, barley, spelt, wheat, soybeans and lentils.

Compared to most breads, ezekiel bread is very high in protein, fiber and various nutrients.

Protein content: 20% of calories. 1 slice contains 4 grams, with 80 calories.

15. Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkins contain edible seeds called pumpkin seeds.

They are incredibly high in many nutrients, including iron, magnesium and zinc.

Protein content: 14% of calories. 1 ounce (28 g) contains 5 grams of protein, with 125 calories.

Other High-Protein Seeds

Flax seeds (12% of calories), sunflower seeds (12%) and chia seeds (11%).

16. Turkey Breast

Turkey breast is similar to chicken breast in many ways.

It consists mostly of protein, with very little fat and calories. It also tastes delicious.

Protein content: 70% of calories. One 3 ounce (85 g) serving contains 24 grams, with 146 calories.

17. Fish (All Types)

Fish is incredibly healthy, for various reasons.

It is loaded with various important nutrients, and tends to be very high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Protein content: Highly variable. Salmon is 46% protein, with 19 grams per 3 ounce (85 g) serving, with 175 calories.

18. Shrimp

Shrimp is a type of seafood.

It is low in calories, but loaded with various nutrients, including selenium and vitamin B12.

Like fish, shrimp also contains plenty of omega-3 fatty acids.

Protein content: 90% of calories. A 3 ounce (85 g) serving contains 18 grams, with only 84 calories.

19. Brussels Sprouts

The Brussels sprout is another high-protein vegetable, related to broccoli.

It is very high in fiber, vitamin C and other nutrients.

Protein content: 17% of calories. Half a cup (78 g) contains 2 grams of protein, with 28 calories.

20. Peanuts

Peanuts are incredibly delicious.

They are high in protein, fiber, magnesium and many studies show that they can help you lose weight.

Peanut butter is also high in protein, just make sure not to eat too much as it is quite “more-ish.”

Protein content: 16% of calories. One ounce (28 g) contains 7 grams, with 159 calories.

Take Home Message

The importance of eating enough protein can not be overstated.

It is the simplest, easiest and most delicious way to lose weight and have a better looking body. Period.

By Kris Gunnars, BSc
 


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Coffee vs. Tea: Is One Better for Your Health?

A hot cup of coffee can perk you up in the morning. A soothing cup of tea can help you relax after a stressful day. And the latest research about the health benefits of each might help you feel a little better about them, whichever beverage you drink.

After years of studies that seemed to swing between dire warnings and cheery promises about what our favorite caffeinated beverages do and don’t do, much of the recent science regarding coffee and tea is generally positive.

The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer recently took coffee off its list of suspected carcinogens, and some research suggests it could help keep colon cancer from coming back after treatment. Other studies suggest drinking coffee might stave off Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

Various studies have pointed to tea drinkers having lower odds of skin, breast, and prostate cancers. Researchers are still trying to pinpoint the exact ways that happens. But tea, particularly green tea, is rich in compounds like antioxidants, which can limit cell damage and boost the immune system; and polyphenols, which have been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. It also may help stave off Alzheimer’s disease through a polyphenol known as EGCG, which prevents the formation of plaques that are linked to that brain-damaging illness.

Is one better for you than the other?

Experts say that’s hard to say. That’s because it’s difficult to separate out their different ingredients, their role in your diet, and their effects on different body systems.

“I think people are looking at both coffee and tea and how they affect everything, including cancer and GI disease and cardiovascular diseases,” says Elliott Miller, MD, a critical care medicine specialist at the National Institutes of Health.

Miller and his colleagues recently looked at signs of heart disease in more than 6,800 people from different backgrounds across the country. About 75% drank coffee, while about 40% reported drinking tea. Drinking more than one cup of tea regularly was linked to less buildup of calcium in arteries that supply blood to the heart, a development that can lead to heart disease.

Coffee didn’t have an effect either way on heart disease, but that was significant in itself, Miller says.

“Very often patients will ask their doctors, ‘Hey, doc, I’ve got coronary artery disease, or I’ve got risk factors like high blood pressure or cholesterol. Is it safe for me to drink coffee?’ Because everyone thinks drinking coffee makes your heart excited and is potentially bad,” Miller says. “So finding that it’s neutral, I think, is pretty important.”

Researchers say it’s hard to pinpoint exactly how both drinks affect health. Both coffee and tea are “complex beverages” that contain a variety of ingredients. They include caffeine, polyphenols, and antioxidants – compounds researchers are studying for their potential cancer-fighting properties, says Lisa Cimperman, a clinical dietitian at University Hospitals Case Medical Center.

“It’s more of a dynamic interaction than one single compound,” Cimperman says. Some people have tried to isolate one element in tea or coffee that they think is the secret to one effect or another, “and then they realize that it doesn’t have the same effect.”

 © Johnfoto | Dreamstime.com © Johnfoto | Dreamstime.com Title: Coffee mug Description: Coffee mug on white background. Photo taken on: December 21st, 2010 * ID: * 17527982 * Level: * 3 * Views : * 252 * Downloads: * 17 * Model released: * NO * Content filtered: * NO Keywords (Report | Suggest) bean beverage breakfast cafe ceramic coffee cup drink handle hot mug relax

Cimperman said drinking tea has been linked to lower risks of cancer and heart disease, improved weight loss, and a stronger immune system. Meanwhile, studies point to coffee as a potential way to head off not just Parkinson’s but type 2 diabetes, liver disease, and heart problems, Cimperman says.

Another recent study, led by Charles Fuchs, MD, director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Center at Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, found regular coffee drinking may help prevent colon cancer from coming back after treatment.

In his study of nearly 1,000 patients, Fuchs says, there was a “significant and linear” association between drinking coffee and lower risk of colon cancer returning in those who drank four or more cups a day. “The more coffee they drank, the lower risk of recurrence.” But the researchers aren’t clear on which element of the drink contributed to that result, and there didn’t seem to be any effect from drinking tea, he says.

“I think you can have two or more cups a day without any concern, and certainly that may benefit you,” Fuchs says. But what about for those who don’t drink coffee? “If it was somebody who hates the stuff and asks, ‘Should I drink it?’ I’d say no. I’d counsel them about diet and exercise and avoiding obesity as measures I think would have a similar benefit.”

Other researchers are asking questions about what role genetics and lifestyle play into the effects of drinking coffee or tea. For instance, coffee and cigarettes once went together like … well, like coffee and cigarettes, which cause cancer and heart disease.

Some people’s bodies process coffee differently than others, says Martha Gulati, MD, head of cardiology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Phoenix. Meanwhile, a preference for tea over coffee might reflect other healthier behaviors, she says.

“Does someone who drinks tea do yoga or meditation more?” Gulati says. “I’m not necessarily saying they’re associated, but do they exercise more? Are they drinking things like green tea to maintain their weight better than other types of drinks?”

And Robert Eckel, MD, an endocrinologist at the University of Denver, says an overall heart-healthy diet is “probably the most important aspect” of preventing heart disease.

“We’re talking about fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean poultry, fish, legumes, nuts, and avoiding saturated fat. That nutritional message is unchanging,” Eckel says.

There are other variables. The WHO’s ruling on coffee nonetheless cautioned that any kind of extremely hot drinks could raise the risk of esophageal cancer, while Cimperman says dumping a lot of cream and sugar into your drink can blunt any benefits.

“No one beverage or food will make or break your diet,” she says. “The quality of your diet is always the sum of all the parts.”

By Matt Smith      Dec. 23, 2016         WebMD Health News Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD

Sources:
International Agency for Research on Cancer: “Evaluation of drinking coffee, maté, and very hot beverages.”
American Journal of Medicine: “Associations of Coffee, Tea, and Caffeine Intake with Coronary Artery Calcification and Cardiovascular Events.”
Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease: “Caffeine as a protective factor in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.”
News release, American Academy of Neurology.
Journal of Clinical Oncology: “Coffee Intake, Recurrence, and Mortality in Stage III Colon Cancer: Results From CALGB 89803 (Alliance).”
National Cancer Institute: “Tea and cancer prevention.”
Current Pharmaceutical Design: “Reported Effects of Tea on Skin, Prostate, Lung and Breast Cancer in Humans.”
Critical Reviews in Food and Science Nutrition: “Tea and its consumption: benefits and risks.”
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: “Catechin- and caffeine-rich teas for control of body weight in humans.”
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: “Tea and flavonoid intake predict osteoporotic fracture risk in elderly Australian women: a prospective study.”
The Journal of Nutrition: “Coffee and tea consumption are inversely associated with mortality in a multiethnic urban population.”
The Journal of Nutrition: “Effect of increased tea consumption on oxidative DNA damage among smokers: a randomized controlled study.”
The Journal of Nutrition: “Black Tea Consumption Reduces Total and LDL Cholesterol in Mildly Hypercholesterolemic Adults.”
Diabetes Journals: “Coffee, Caffeine, and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes.”
European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology: “Coffee consumption and risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis.”
Circulation: “Long-Term Coffee Consumption and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease.”
Journal of Clinical Oncology: Coffee Intake, Recurrence, and Mortality in Stage III Colon Cancer: Results From CALGB 89803 (Alliance).”
Neurotoxicology:  “Onset and progression factors in Parkinson’s disease: A systematic review.”
Nature: “Effect of green tea consumption on blood pressure: A meta-analysis of 13 randomized controlled trials.”
Elliott Miller, MD, critical care medicine specialist, National Institutes of Health.
Lisa Cimperman, dietitian, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Robert Eckel, MD, former president, American Heart Association; University of Colorado School of Medicine.
Martha Gulati, MD, head of cardiology, University of Arizona College of Medicine, Phoenix.Charles Fuchs, director, Gastrointestinal Cancer Center, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston.


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Take Time Out For Yourself This Christmas

A mental health charity is urging people to give themselves the gift of time and kindness this Christmas. 

The message, from Washington Mind, comes with only days to go until the big day, and the pressure of trying to make it perfect could mean some people are well on the way to reaching their breaking point.

It is so important to give yourself permission to take time out. Jacqui Reeves 

People are being encouraged to take a step back and to try to do something for themselves – in particular those who are already caring for loved ones.

Jacqui Reeves, services manager with Washington Mind, said: “For most of us, Christmas is a time for thinking of others, but we must also remember to think of ourselves.

“The old adage of looking after yourself to be able to look after others is so true.
“It is so important to give yourself permission to take time out from all the gift giving, party preparations and cooking to make sure you take care of yourself.
“This can help not only to prevent some problems getting worse, but may even stop them developing at all.
“You can enjoy the festivities without the unnecessary stress.”

One person who took to self-care to help boost her mental health and wellbeing said: “Being overweight and diabetic – not to mention my fear of touch – meant that going to a spa and taking part in sessions of reflexology, Reiki and back massage, wasn’t easy.”

“But, after enjoying the treatments so much, I now take time out to go regularly.
“It has been helped my mood improve, helped my fear of touch and I have also now got control over my diabetes. I’ve gone on to lose over a stone in weight, which has also improved the way I feel about myself.

Today, people are being asked to be their own best friend. Do something or say something nice about themselves.

self-love

Experts say people often beat ourselves up and talk to ourselves in a way they would not dream of talking to others. Be nice to yourself.

Mind has issued the following advice to help people take care of themselves in the run-up to Christmas and beyond.

Exercise: Physical activity can boost mental wellbeing and change your outlook on life. It can help people with anxiety and depression – even preventing those problems from developing in he first place. The important thing is to choose something you enjoy so you stick at it. If you are physically disabled, contact a local disability group about exercises you can do.

Relax: Christmas can be a very busy period for many people so try to make time to slow done and relax. Give yourself permission to take time out from the hustle and bustle. Planned relaxation calms anxiety and helps your body and mind recover from everyday rush and stress.Music, reading, a long soak in the bath or a walk in the park can help you to relax or taking part in something you enjoy.

Sleep: This is the time of year when it is all too easy not to get enough sleep. We may have more physical and emotional activity than normal during the 12 days of Christmas. Making sure you have enough, sleep can help you cope better with any difficult feelings and experiences.

Laugh: Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress.

Ask for help: You don’t have to do everything yourself, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you have any worries or concerns, talk to someone about them – don’t let them spoil your Christmas.

LISA NIGHTINGALE      Thursday 22 December 2016 
For more information on self-care, visit www.wellbeinginfo/self-care