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Fun Fact Friday

    • Neurologists claim that every time you resist acting on your anger, you’re actually rewiring your brain to be calmer and more loving.
    • Sleeping on the job is acceptable in Japan, as it’s viewed as exhaustion from working hard.
    • Thinking burns calories.
    • Cuddling triggers the same neurological reaction as taking painkillers.
    • Cotton Candy was invented by a dentist.
    • The brain treats rejection like physical pain, according to scientists.

 

anger
  • Dancing has been proven to build confidence and release stress.
  • 1.6 billion people – a quarter of humanity, live without electricity.
  • A banana is actually a berry and a strawberry isn’t.
  • Age is just a number, maturity is a choice.
  • 11% of the world is left-handed.
  • Regular sex enhances mental performance and increases the production of new neurons in the brain, according to researchers.
    Happy Friday  🙂
    source:       factualfacts.com       https://twitter.com/Fact       @Fact


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Acknowledge Your Anger to Help Prevent Disease

Erin Newman     August 11, 2015

The more we learn about disease, the more we start to realize that there is no separation of body from mind. Treating just the symptoms of a disease does us no good if we are not also changing our mental outlook. For instance, depressed patients with any type of disease, recover more slowly and have worse health outcomes than optimistic patients.

Scientists have also now seen enough cases of “broken heart syndrome,” often brought on by the death of a spouse, that we now have a medical term for it: stress-induced cardiomyopathy. All of this should give us cause for hope, though. It means that we can take charge of our own health, and that we can learn ways to prevent disease in our lives.

It is our mental and physical health, and not our genes, that carries the most weight in determining our health outcomes. To quote Craig Venter, a pioneer in genomic research,

“Everybody talks about the genes that they received from their mother and father, for this trait or the other. But in reality, those genes have very little impact on life outcomes. Our biology is way too complicated for that and deals with hundreds of thousands of independent factors. Genes are absolutely not our fate. They can give us useful information about the increased risk of a disease, but in most cases they will not determine the actual cause of the disease, or the actual incidence of somebody getting it. Most biology will come from the complex interaction of all the proteins and cells working with environmental factors, not driven directly by the genetic code.”

And as one recent study affirms, 90 to 95 percent of cancer is preventable with lifestyle changes, and one of the largest (and as yet least understood) is our mental disposition.

Releasing Anger: The key to prevention?

One study of over 160 women with breast cancer found a significant association between health and the suppression of emotions, most commonly anger. Another study concluded that suppression of anger may have a direct impact on mortality, including deaths from cancer. And yet another study determined that “Emotion-focused coping strategies were significantly associated with survival.”

All of which just means that if we want to live long and healthy lives, we’ve got to learn to express our anger and other emotions.

anger

Ways to tell that you may be suppressing anger or other emotions:

• People tell you that you are always smiling and happy.
• You often feel as if you can’t say no.
• You feel overwhelmed and tense.
• You no longer know what makes you happy, only what makes others happy.
• You worry often about the past or future
• Overeating, drinking, medicating, shopping, or other addictive behaviors

Women, especially, have been taught at an early age that it’s not okay to display anger. “Just who do you think you are, missy?” we might have heard, or later, we might have gotten the distinct message that we don’t want to be seen as a witch with a capital “B.” We may then mask this emotion with a happy face, or by eating, drinking, medications, or other ways to numb the emotion.

What’s behind the anger?

Often, we may not even know that we are angry about something. We might not hear the words that run through our minds about an incident or a person who’s angered us. And, while we may not want to admit it, or may not even recognize it on a conscious level, our anger is usually a mask for other, even less comfortable emotions. Sadness, shame, guilt or regret are often at the heart of our anger at another. These emotions may be even harder to recognize and discover, but when we get down to this level of emotions, then we can really clear them out and make way for love and joy.

Ways of handling anger:

Expressing or handling our anger doesn’t mean venting to others –either at the person that we are angry with or another. We must express the anger in a safe and loving way that allows us to acknowledge the anger and then work through it.

Journaling: Daily journaling is one of the most powerful ways to get in touch with your subconscious mind (which is where many of these suppressed thoughts and emotions may be lurking). This is not a “here’s what I did today” type of journal, but instead a “ this is what’s bothering me” type of journal. Clearly express everything on your mind, including just how you really and truly feel towards a person, whether that be your spouse, your child, a friend, or a parent. Many people worry that others might read their journal; if this is you, burn or shred the paper after writing. (Believe me, you won’t ever want to go back and read it!) I find (and many recommend) that journaling works best in the morning, when your mind hasn’t had time to fill itself up with thoughts of the day yet.

Loving our anger: Part of suppressing emotions is the idea that we should not be feeling a certain way at all, or that we would like for that feeling or thought to go away and leave us alone. If we can instead acknowledge that the feeling or thought is part of us, and allow it to be seen, then it will no longer have as much power to hurt us. Best yet, once we acknowledge the feeling or emotion, we can then direct love to that place in our bodies where we most feel the emotion. (This also seems to work best in the mornings, too, in a space that you can be quiet and still. But if that doesn’t work, then lunch breaks or evenings can be a good time, also.)

If these methods sound too tough or unrealistic, or just something that you can’t fit into your life, then it may help to speak to a professional who can help you to discover your inner emotions. We owe it to ourselves and to the people who love us to live the most emotionally rich and healthy lives as possible!


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Study Shows Seeing Smiles Can Lower Aggression

By Maia Szalavitz  April 04, 2013      

A happy face can certainly lift spirits, but can it reduce rage?

Studies have documented that the physical act of smiling is a universal, and effective way to lift mood, if briefly. But in the latest research on the power of the smile, researchers led by Marcus Munafo of the University of Bristol in England found that even seeing smiles on the faces of others can have a profound effect on a person’s tendency toward violence or aggression— that is, as long as that person recognizes the smile as one of happiness, and not as a sneer.

Munafo and his colleagues conducted a series of experiments involving normal adults as well as highly aggressive teens who had been referred to a youth program, either by educational authorities or the courts. About 70% of the teens already had a criminal record.

In the first experiment, 40 healthy adults, aged 18-30, looked at computer images of faces that had been morphed to show facial expressions that ranged from happy to angry with increasingly difficult to discern expressions in between. Participants were asked how angry they felt and then had to rate the images as displaying either happiness or anger — there was no option for “ambiguous” or “unable to tell.” From these ratings, the scientists were able to generate a score of their biases toward happiness or anger as reflected by where the volunteers decided that happiness ended and anger began.

Previous research found that aggressive people — including violent offenders — tend to interpret even neutral expressions as hostile: “You looking at me?” can easily turn what would have been a nonevent into a tragic confrontation, so preventing such misinterpretations could have important implications.


Based on their initial scores, half of the healthy participants were then told by the computer that some of the ambiguous faces that they had rated as angry should have been scored as happy. This was intended to bias them toward judging the in-between faces more positively. The other 20 received feedback that simply validated their prior choices, creating a control group.

After this training, both groups were tested again and the group that received the biased feedback shifted its ratings of ambiguous faces toward the happy side. Participants were also asked to rate their level of angry feelings again after completing the second round of testing. Those who were trained to interpret ambiguous faces as happier actually reported feeling less angry afterward compared to the controls.

The researchers next focused on the 46 adolescents from the high risk youth program, ranging in age from 11 to 16. These teens completed the same testing, but both the youth and the staff reported on the teens’ levels of aggressive behavior before the testing started and for two weeks afterward. The teens who had been trained to interpret ambiguous facial expressions more positively were significantly less aggressive two weeks later, as rated by both the staff (who did not know which kids were in the intervention group) and by themselves.

“The results of our experiments strongly suggest that biases in the perception of emotional facial expressions play a causal role in subjective anger and aggressive behavior,” the authors conclude.

That doesn’t mean that smiles alone are the answer to violence among adolescents — previous research in which antisocial youth were trained to better recognize emotions, for example, did not have any effect on their level of aggressive behavior. But this earlier study focused on improving teens’ perception of clear facial signals, not ambiguous ones. Since ambiguous signals are more prone to misinterpretation, it may be that violent behavior in some youth is perpetuated by their constant misintepretation of angry expressions where they don’t exist, that push them to combative responses. The findings suggest that helping young people, particularly those who are prone to violence, to learn to give others the benefit of the doubt when they see what they think is a threatening face could help end the vicious cycle of violence.

Maia Szalavitz @maiasz
Maia Szalavitz is a neuroscience journalist for TIME.com and co-author of Born for Love: Why Empathy Is Essential — and Endangered.

source: Time


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4 Ways to Enjoy (Not Just Endure) Holiday Family Gatherings

The holidays mean lots of time spent with family, which can mean lots of opportunities for stress. Whether your brother-in-law insists on talking about politics, your mother probes into your love life, or your Great Aunt Jean picks her teeth at the table, each family gathering is rife with opportunities to lose your cool.

“The irony about spending time with the people you know and love the best is that they also know how to push your buttons the most,” says Kate Hanley, author of The Anywhere, Anytime Chill Guide. You can either clench your jaw and muddle through until it’s time to go home again, or you can try a few mindfulness techniques that can help you stay open-hearted to the people you love, Hanley says. “The only way you can change another person’s behavior is to change the way you react to them—and taking even a few seconds to take a deep breath can help you react more thoughtfully to whatever’s stressing you out.”

Here are four simple remedies—drawn from meditation, yoga, and acupressure—Hanley suggests trying at every family gathering you’ll be attending this holiday season. “Although no one thing can magically transform your family relationships, these tips can help you be more relaxed, less stressed, and less likely to get snippy with the people you love.”

Stand by your mantra.

Before you head to the family gathering, decide which family quirks you’re dreading the most. Then resolve to repeat a calming mantra whenever your stress trigger happens. “Your mantra can be any word or short phrase that’s meaningful to you,” Hanley says. “It could be something formal, like ‘Om’ or ‘Amen,’ or something simple such ‘peace’ or ‘bless his heart.'” Whatever mantra you choose, taking a few moments to repeat it before you react to whatever is pushing your buttons gives you a chance to collect your thoughts—making you less likely to over-react.

How to Stay Healthy at Christmas

Accentuate the positive.

Before you leave for the family gathering (or before you begin getting ready, if you’re hosting), take a few moments to name the parts of the day you’re looking forward to—such as eating Mom’s apple pie, seeing your favorite cousin, or playing with your niece. Then if anything happens to spike your stress levels, make it a point to focus on the things you like. “Changing your focus from something upsetting to something enjoyable can snap you out of a downward spiral in mood,” Hanley says.

Practice the art of letting go.

We all wish we could “get more Zen” around our families, but we can all use a little help because the emotions associated with family are deep-seated and highly charged. There is an acupressure point known as Letting Go that facilitates the release of troublesome emotions, deepens breathing, and promotes relaxation. “Spending a few minutes applying gentle pressure to your Letting Go points can provide a noticeable shift in your mood,” Hanley says. “You can do it in your car before you go inside or even in the bathroom if you need help during the festivities.” To find the Letting Go points, feel the tips of your collarbones on either side of the notch of your throat. Walk your fingers out to where the collarbones end—the Letting Go points are located three finger widths below that end point. With your arms crossed in front of your torso, press two or three fingertips in to the points on either side of your chest and breathe naturally as you do. “You don’t need to go for the burn—think steady but gentle pressure,” Hanley advises. After a minute or two, remove your fingertips slowly and take a couple of breaths before you head back in to the festivities.

Remember your heart.

Whenever you need help staying calm, take a moment to lay one hand over your heart. “This simple gesture shifts your focus away from your swirling thoughts and on to your body—where your deepest wisdom resides—and your heart in particular, which helps you react with love instead of frustration,” Hanley says. “If anyone in your family catches you doing it and looks at you funny, just tell them you have heartburn.”

Kate Hanley is a professional writer who specializes in exploring the mind-body connection.

source: life.gaiam.com


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4 Ways to Enjoy (Not Just Endure) Holiday Family Gatherings

The holidays mean lots of time spent with family, which can mean lots of opportunities for stress. Whether your brother-in-law insists on talking about politics, your mother probes into your love life, or your Great Aunt Jean picks her teeth at the table, each family gathering is rife with opportunities to lose your cool.

“The irony about spending time with the people you know and love the best is that they also know how to push your buttons the most,” says Kate Hanley, author of The Anywhere, Anytime Chill Guide. You can either clench your jaw and muddle through until it’s time to go home again, or you can try a few mindfulness techniques that can help you stay open-hearted to the people you love, Hanley says. “The only way you can change another person’s behavior is to change the way you react to them—and taking even a few seconds to take a deep breath can help you react more thoughtfully to whatever’s stressing you out.”

Here are four simple remedies—drawn from meditation, yoga, and acupressure—Hanley suggests trying at every family gathering you’ll be attending this holiday season. “Although no one thing can magically transform your family relationships, these tips can help you be more relaxed, less stressed, and less likely to get snippy with the people you love.”

Stand by your mantra.

Before you head to the family gathering, decide which family quirks you’re dreading the most. Then resolve to repeat a calming mantra whenever your stress trigger happens. “Your mantra can be any word or short phrase that’s meaningful to you,” Hanley says. “It could be something formal, like ‘Om’ or ‘Amen,’ or something simple such ‘peace’ or ‘bless his heart.'” Whatever mantra you choose, taking a few moments to repeat it before you react to whatever is pushing your buttons gives you a chance to collect your thoughts—making you less likely to over-react.


Accentuate the positive.

Before you leave for the family gathering (or before you begin getting ready, if you’re hosting), take a few moments to name the parts of the day you’re looking forward to—such as eating Mom’s apple pie, seeing your favorite cousin, or playing with your niece. Then if anything happens to spike your stress levels, make it a point to focus on the things you like. “Changing your focus from something upsetting to something enjoyable can snap you out of a downward spiral in mood,” Hanley says.

Practice the art of letting go.

We all wish we could “get more Zen” around our families, but we can all use a little help because the emotions associated with family are deep-seated and highly charged. There is an acupressure point known as Letting Go that facilitates the release of troublesome emotions, deepens breathing, and promotes relaxation. “Spending a few minutes applying gentle pressure to your Letting Go points can provide a noticeable shift in your mood,” Hanley says. “You can do it in your car before you go inside or even in the bathroom if you need help during the festivities.” To find the Letting Go points, feel the tips of your collarbones on either side of the notch of your throat. Walk your fingers out to where the collarbones end—the Letting Go points are located three finger widths below that end point. With your arms crossed in front of your torso, press two or three fingertips in to the points on either side of your chest and breathe naturally as you do. “You don’t need to go for the burn—think steady but gentle pressure,” Hanley advises. After a minute or two, remove your fingertips slowly and take a couple of breaths before you head back in to the festivities.

Remember your heart.

Whenever you need help staying calm, take a moment to lay one hand over your heart. “This simple gesture shifts your focus away from your swirling thoughts and on to your body—where your deepest wisdom resides—and your heart in particular, which helps you react with love instead of frustration,” Hanley says. “If anyone in your family catches you doing it and looks at you funny, just tell them you have heartburn.” 

Kate Hanley is a professional writer who specializes in exploring the mind-body connection.


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These 3 Flowers Ought to Kick Your Insomnia

Blackout curtains still not doing the trick? We uncovered studies that show how certain plants can deepen sleep and stop tossing and turning.

For light sleepers: Jasmine
Place one of these varieties on your nightstand and experience a deeper REM cycle: Jasminum polyanthum (a vinelike plant with tiny flowers; see right)
or Grand Duke of Tuscany, a variety of Jasminum sambac (a more shrublike strain) that grows fragrant, roselike blossoms.



For stressed sleepers: Lavender
This plant’s flowery aroma slows heart rate and lowers blood pressure. In one study, scientists sprinkled lavender oil or an unscented placebo on the bedsheets of 12 female insomniacs and found that the women with lavender-scented sheets slept better and woke up feeling refreshed.

For fitful sleepers: Gardenia
This sweet-scented bud soothes uneasy sleepers. Ayurvedic doctors even prescribe it to manage anger and impatience.


Sources: apartmenttherapy.com, freewebs.com    Readers Digest