tomtenneker
15 views | +0 today
Follow
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by tomtenneker
Scoop.it!

Which DIY Health Tests Are Worth It?

These days, you can check everything from your cholesterol levels to whether you have a UTI right at home. But just how reliable are the results? Read on to see which tests to pick-and which to skip.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by tomtenneker
Scoop.it!

Does the Sound of Noisy Eating Drive You Mad? Here's Why

This article originally appeared on Time.com

If you've ever been tempted to confront someone slurping their soup in a restaurant, or if a person breathing loudly next to you in the movie theater is enough to make your blood boil, then you're not alone: You're one of many people suffering from a genuine brain abnormality called misophonia.

Misophonia, a disorder which means sufferers have a hatred of sounds such as eating, chewing, loud breathing or even repeated pen-clicking, was first named as a condition in 2001.

Over the years, scientists have been skeptical about whether or not it constitutes a genuine medical ailment, but now new research led by a team at the U.K.'s Newcastle University has proven that those with misophonia have a difference in their brain's frontal lobe to non-sufferers.

In an report published in the journal Current Biology, scientists said scans of misophobia sufferers found changes in brain activity when a 'trigger' sound was heard. Brain imaging revealed that people with the condition have an abnormality in their emotional control mechanism which causes their brains to go into overdrive on hearing trigger sounds. The researchers also found that trigger sounds could evoke a heightened physiological response, with increased heart rate and sweating.

For the study, the team used an MRI to measure the brain activity of people with and without misophonia while they were listening to a range of sounds. The sounds were categorized into neutral sounds (rain, a busy café, water boiling), unpleasant sounds (a baby crying, a person screaming) and trigger sounds (the sounds of breathing or eating). When presented with trigger sounds, those with misophonia presented different results to those without the condition.

“I hope this will reassure sufferers,” Tim Griffiths, Professor of Cognitive Neurology at Newcastle University and UCL, said in a press release. “I was part of the skeptical community myself until we saw patients in the clinic and understood how strikingly similar the features are.”

“For many people with misophonia, this will come as welcome news as for the first time we have demonstrated a difference in brain structure and function in sufferers,” Dr Sukhbinder Kumar, from the Institute of Neuroscience at Newcastle University and the Wellcome Centre for NeuroImaging at University College London, added. “This study demonstrates the critical brain changes as further evidence to convince a sceptical medical community that this is a genuine disorder.”

 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by tomtenneker
Scoop.it!

Here's Why the Cancer Death Rate Has Plummeted

This article originally appeared on Time.com.

Death rates from cancer, the second-biggest killer in the United States, have dropped 25% since 1991, according to a new report from the American Cancer Society. That statistic translates into a lot of lives saved; had the cancer death rate remained steady from its peak in 1991, about two million more people would have died from cancer in the years until 2014, the report finds.

The drop is fueled by decreasing death rates from the four largest types of cancer: lung, breast, prostate and colorectal. “It's pretty exciting for us that the cancer death rate continues to decline,” says Rebecca Siegel, strategic director of surveillance information services at the American Cancer Society and lead author of the annual report, which was published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. “We're making a lot of progress.”

The authors credit the drop to reductions in smoking-shown last year to be responsible for about 30% of all cancer deaths-as well as advances in treatment and earlier detection.

The report also finds that cancer incidence is 20% higher in men than in women, and the cancer death rate is 40% higher in men. “There's a different mix of cancers in men and women, and a lot of it has to do with differences in exposure to cancer risk factors,” Siegel says. Though the gender difference isn't fully understood, men are more likely than women to smoke and drink excessively, both risk factors for several kinds of cancers. Hormone and even height differences may also make men more susceptible, though it's not yet clear how.

Racial disparities also affect who dies from cancer, but those differences are shrinking, the report shows. In 1990, black men were almost 50% more likely to die from cancer than white men, but in 2014, that difference dropped to 21%. The gap is also narrowing in women. These drops are largely due to declines in smoking by black youth in the 1970s and early 1980s, Siegel says.

Minorities also have better access to healthcare and insurance, and the proportion of uninsured Blacks and Hispanics halved from 2010 to 2015. Those changes are too recent to make much of a dent in the present data, Siegel says, but they do suggest a way to drive cancer death disparities down even more. “The potential for an acceleration in closing that gap is there with this increased access to healthcare,” Siegel says. “Hopefully it will be sustained.”

While good news overall, the report doesn't guarantee a continuous downward trend of death rates from cancer. Recent evidence shows that death rates from other leading causes of death-like heart disease, closely related to obesity-are on the rise. Obesity, a risk factor for cancer, probably has yet to show its full effect on the death rates of cancer, Siegel says. “We don't know when we're going to see the effects of the tripling of the obesity rate in the past several decades,” she says, adding that excess body weight, unhealthy diet and a lack of physical activity account for about 20% of cancer diagnoses in the U.S. Some statistics hint that obesity may already be taking a toll. Rates of colorectal cancer, which is linked to obesity, are declining overall, Siegel says, but they're rising in people younger than 50.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by tomtenneker
Scoop.it!

Even Optimists Tend to Expect the Worst

Even if you consider yourself to be pretty upbeat, it's easy to get caught up in feelings of dread as you wait to hear about uncertain news. As the moment of truth draws nearer, people often find themselves increasingly convinced that bad results are ahead.

These emotions may feel stressful and unhealthy, but a new study suggests they're totally normal. In fact, this instinct to brace for the worst can actually be protective and serve as a buffer against potentially bad news, say researchers from the University of California Riverside.

In previous studies, it's been recognized that, as individuals wait for their respective results, students become increasingly convinced they've failed an exam, patients become increasingly convinced they have a terrible disease, and voters become increasingly convinced that their candidate will lose an election.

RELATED: Optimism Can Help You Live Longer

Kate Sweeny, Ph.D., a psychology professor at UC Riverside, wanted to see if this was true of optimists and pessimists alike. “Intuition might suggest that some people are more likely to brace than others,” Sweeny said in a press release. “In particular, happy-go-lucky optimists would seem immune to the anxiety and second-guessing that typically arise as the decisive moment draws near.”

So she and her co-author performed nine different experiments in their lab and in real-life settings. Some involved college students anticipating rankings of their attractiveness from peers, for example, while others involved law-school graduates awaiting the results of their bar exams. All participants answered questions beforehand to determine their natural disposition.

The researchers' findings, published in the Journal of Personality, were “counter to intuition,” Sweeny said. “Optimists were not immune to feeling a rise in pessimism at the moment of truth. In fact, not a single study showed a difference between optimists and pessimists in their tendency to brace for the worst.”

RELATED: Happy People Make Their Spouses Happier

There was a difference, unsurprisingly, in overall predictions: Optimists started out with more positive expectations than pessimists. But everyone in the study tended to shift those expectations downward over time.

This may be because not getting one's hopes up can be a natural defense. “If you expect the worst, you can lessen feelings of shock and disappointment if things don't go as you hoped,” Sweeny told RealSimple.com, “and you'll be pleasantly surprised if they do.”

So if you feel down right before a big announcement, Sweeny says you shouldn't necessarily fight those feelings. Rather, she says, we should all try to be more like the optimists in this study, and save our pessimism for these strategic moments.

“It's generally good to be optimistic about the future,” she says. “Optimists are happier and healthier in lots of different ways, and it's true that worrying too much or for too long can lead to anxiety and rumination. But in these final moments before you get big news, optimism can be really treacherous.”

In other words, she says, making sure you've done everything you can to ensure your chances of success-and then putting off your worries until those final moments-may be the best balance you can strike. And if you do feel like the world's about to end while you wait, take heart in knowing that that's normal, too.

This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by tomtenneker
Scoop.it!

Repealing The Affordable Care Act Could Be More Complicated Than It Looks

After six controversial years, the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, may be on the way out, thanks to the GOP sweep of the presidency and both houses of Congress Tuesday.

“There's no question Obamacare is dead,” said insurance industry consultant Robert Laszewski. “The only question is whether it will be cremated or buried.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) confirmed Wednesday that repealing the law is something that's “pretty high on our agenda.”

But promising to make the law go away, as President-elect Donald Trump did repeatedly, and actually figuring out how to do it, are two very different things.

“Washington is much more complicated once you're here than it appears to be from the outside,” said William Pierce, a consultant who served in both the George W. Bush Department of Health and Human Services and on Capitol Hill for Republicans.

For example, a full repeal of the health law would require 60 votes in the Senate to overcome a filibuster. Given the small GOP majority in the Senate, “they would have to convince six or eight Democrats to come with them to repeal. That seems highly unlikely,” Pierce said.

Republicans could-and likely would-be able to use a budget procedure to repeal broad swaths of the law. The “budget reconciliation” process would let Republicans pass a bill with only a majority vote and not allow opponents to use a filibuster to stop movement on the bill.

But that budget process has its own set of byzantine rules, including one that requires that any changes made under reconciliation directly affect the federal budget: in other words, the measure must either cost or save money. That means “they can only repeal parts” of the law, said Pierce.

Republicans have a ready-made plan if they want to use it. The budget bill they passed late last year would have repealed the expansions of Medicaid and subsidies that help low- and middle-income families purchase health insurance on the law's marketplaces, among other things. President Barack Obama vetoed the measure early this year.

That bill also included, as Vice President-Elect Mike Pence promised in a speech last week in Pennsylvania, “a transition period for those receiving subsidies to ensure that Americans don't face disruption or hardship in their coverage.” The bill passed by the GOP Congress at the end of 2015 set that date at Dec. 31, 2017.

Delaying the repeal date could work in Republicans' favor, said Laszewski. “Then they'll turn to the Democrats and say, 'Work with us to replace it or be responsible for the explosion,'” he said.

But Tim Westmoreland, a former House Democratic staffer who teaches at Georgetown Law School, said that strategy won't work. “I don't think people will see the Democrats as responsible if it all blows up,” he said.

Meanwhile, Republicans have only the broadest outlines of what could replace the law. Trump's campaign website has bullet-point proposals to allow health insurance sales across state lines and to expand health savings accounts-which allow consumers to save money, tax-free, that can be used only for health care expenses. House Republicans last summer offered up a slightly more detailed outline that includes creating “high-risk pools” for people with preexisting health conditions and turning the Medicaid program back to state control through a block-grant program.

Yet even Democrats are convinced that Obama's signature accomplishment is on the chopping block. “A lot of people say, 'Oh, they can't really mean it. They wouldn't really take health insurance away from 20 million people'” who have gained it under the law, John McDonough, a former Democratic Senate staffer, said at a Harvard School of Public Health Symposium last week. “How many times do [Republicans] have to say it before we take them seriously?”

One possibility, according to William Hoagland, a former GOP Senate budget expert now at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington-based think tank, is that Republicans could use the budget process to combine tax reform with health policy changes. “And a reconciliation bill that includes reforms in Obamacare and tax reform starts to become a negotiable package” that could attract both Republicans and potentially some Democrats, who are also interested in remaking tax policy.

But if Congress does pass the GOP's “repeal” before the “replace,” it needs to make sure that insurers will continue to offer coverage during the transition.

“Are [Republicans] going to invite insurers in and listen?” said Rodney Whitlock, a former House and Senate Republican health staffer. If there is no acceptable transition plan, “insurers can say the same thing to the Republicans that they've been saying to Democrats,” said Whitlock, which is that they are leaving the market.

That's something that concerns insurance consultant Laszewski, who says that already there are more sick than healthy people signing up for individual coverage under the law. With probable repeal on the horizon, he said, that's likely to get even worse. “A lot of [healthy] people will say, 'Why sign up now? I'm going to wait until they fix it.'”

And if that happens, he said, there might not be any insurers offering coverage for the transition.

 

This article originally appeared on KHN.org

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by tomtenneker
Scoop.it!

7 Health Truths We Wish We Knew in Our 20s

Your 20s aren't exactly a breeze. Most quarter-lifers are just starting to live on their own, figure out a career path, and look for a life partner, all at the same time. As a result, good-for-you habits don't always feel like a top priority-but some really do matter. That's why we tapped our editors over 30 to share the health truths they wish they'd known in their younger years. Read on if you still think instant ramen is a well-balanced meal…

RELATED: How to Survive a Quarter-Life Crisis and Find Your True Purpose

Make friends with fat

"Fat is not the enemy. It's an essential nutrient, important for so many major functions in the body, and essential for brain health. Eat more fat!" -Beth Lipton, food director 

Listen to your body

"I wish I had known to take better care of my joints and not to ignore the signs something was wrong. I never thought about the importance of mobility exercises, stretching, foam rolling, or recovery, because I could easily go running or do CrossFit classes without feeling much pain or discomfort. It never occurred to me that maybe someday I wouldn't be so invincible. Then, at the ripe old age of 28, everything started to hurt all the time-especially my right hip. To make a long story short, I now have permanent damage to that joint because I had ignored a lot of warning signs that I was injured. These days, I am much more diligent about foam rolling before and after every workout, warming up and cooling down properly, and generally just treating my body in a way that will ensure I'll be able to stay active and fit for the rest of my life." -Christine Mattheis, deputy editor 

Lather up 

"Wear sunscreen every day. Seriously, every day. I apply SPF on my face and neck and whatever's left over, I put on the back of my hands. Also, self tanner is your bff." -Tomoko Takeda, acting beauty director

RELATED: What You Can Do in Your 20s and 30s to Prevent Physical Decline in Your 50s and 60s

Eat right

"One big thing I have learned since my 20s concerns nutrition/diet and basic eating sense. I had very little nutritional literacy in my 20s, very little idea about what made up a balanced, healthy diet, and very little consciousness about how food choices affected energy levels, mindset, and a general sense of well being. I might get a bad night's sleep, then eat a Big Mac or a giant Italian hoagie for lunch the next day, each loaded with refined carbs, and then be mystified about why I would hit a carb crash and slip into a food coma for the next two hours. It wasn't until years later (and in part by starting to work at Health!) that I picked up some basics about nutrition, cooking, creating balanced meals that gave me energy. Now my number one prerogative when I eat lunch is what will keep me feeling as energized and alert as possible, and I know the ingredients to put into the meal that will help me do this." -Michael Gollust, research editor

Strengthen, strengthen, strengthen

"I wish I had done more strength training in my 20s! I was all cardio, all the time, not realizing that you can strengthen your bones up to age 30, but after that it tends to decline. You might say I wished I stashed more in my 'bone bank' when I was younger. It's not impossible to 'save up' after age 30, but it's harder." -Theresa Tamkins, editor-in-chief, Health.com

Just do you

"Stick to what feels right for you, regardless of what a friend or a significant other is doing. At times I gave into eating or drinking in ways that didn't feel right for me because I didn't want to be different from friends, or to go along with what my partner wanted to do. You know, that social eating/drinking pressure. As I got older I realized that wasn't necessary. I can be with a friend and have a water during happy hour if I don't feel like drinking, or say no if my hubby wants to split an order of fries. It's not at all about depriving myself (in fact, looking back I felt like I was depriving myself of feeling good when I gave in); it's about knowing and honoring what feels right for you in that moment. Splurging sometimes is great, even important, but do so on your own terms." -Cynthia Sass, contributing nutrition editor

Love yourself

"This isn't really a health truth, but more a life truth: I wish every woman in her 20s knew how beautiful she was! I look at pictures of myself in my 20s, when I often felt gawky and unsure, and wish I'd realized that I was actually so lovely-not because I think I'm such hot stuff, but because there's this vibrant energy that you have when you're that age that's really wonderful and attractive. Everyone has it! Women in your 20s, own it!" -Jeannie Kim, executive deputy editor

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by tomtenneker
Scoop.it!

20 Habits That Make You Miserable Every Winter

Beat the winter blues by learning the ways you've been sabotaging your mood.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by tomtenneker
Scoop.it!

Many Antibacterial Soaps Are Now Banned: FDA

Certain ingredients that are common in antibacterial hand and body soaps are no longer allowed. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Friday that ingredients including triclosan and triclocarban-which have long raised safety concerns because they have been linked to hormone disruption, bacterial resistance, and even possibly liver cancer-will no longer be allowed.

The agency released its long-awaited final ruling on the issue, and said in a statement that companies can no longer market their antibacterial hand and body washes if they contained these ingredients. That's because “manufacturers did not demonstrate that the ingredients are both safe for long-term daily use and more effective than plain soap and water in preventing illness and the spread of certain infections.”

The FDA says the rule is intended for products that require use with water, and does not include hand sanitizers or wipes. Some companies had preemptively begun removing the ingredients from their soaps due to public pressure and safety concerns.

In 2013, the FDA asked soap manufacturers to provide evidence on the safety and effectiveness of ingredients like triclosan and triclocarban after data suggested that they could increase risks for hormonal problems and bacterial resistance. If companies wanted to continue using these ingredients they had to prove that they worked better at reducing infections than products that didn't contain them. The FDA says companies did not provide adequate safety and effectiveness data for 19 different ingredients.

RELATED: The Case Against Antibacterial Soap Is Getting Stronger

“Consumers may think antibacterial washes are more effective at preventing the spread of germs, but we have no scientific evidence that they are any better than plain soap and water,” Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) said in a statement. “In fact, some data suggests that antibacterial ingredients may do more harm than good over the long-term.”

You can read more about the FDA's decision here.

 

This article originally appeared on Time.com.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by tomtenneker
Scoop.it!

Health Costs of Black Mold

The Difficulties of Having Black Mold

Black mold is one of the more dangerous types of molds that one can have in the home at any given time. As with any other kind of mold or fungus, this type thrives in moist, dark places, as close to the source of moisture as possible. Most of the time, mold can grow and spread unnoticed because of the fact that they prefer dark places with unlimited access to moisture or water. There are several tell-tale signs that you may have a black mold infestation; these include, but are not limited to:

– dark spots or patches on the wall, floor, ceiling or any other part of the house.

– a musty, moldy smell

– black, fuzzy growth in areas that may have been waterlogged or flooded recently

– onset of allergy symptoms in you or other members of the household (especially off season)

– leaky faucets, drains, sinks and pipes

Possible Health Problems

There are several health problems from black mold which can severely affect a person. The problems usually start with a simple allergic reaction and can develop into issues that are often misdiagnosed and can be lethal if not found out soon enough like those on the news in Houston. These problems only highlight the importance of regular mold inspection and immediate remediation when the presence of black mold is detected. Some of the bodily functions that are initially affected by inhalation or contact with black mold spores and the toxic chemicals that they produce include respiration, blood circulation, reproduction and mental capacity and function. Aside from these, continuous inhalation and contact with the toxins can lead to depression, mental illnesses, loss of motor functions and even death. A person affected by toxic mold will always be listless, exhausted and experience a variety of aches and pains all over the body. As you can see, the symptoms are very general and can be easily misdiagnosed as something else.

Those who are more susceptible to black mold symptoms are young children and the elderly. This may be because children have immune systems which are not fully developed yet and the elderly may have compromised immune systems due to their advanced age. Both age brackets are more prone to the health problems from black mold but even healthy adults with good immune systems can fall prey to the fungus. Extended and continuous exposure will eventually break down the body's defenses and the person may succumb to the many health issues that are brought by black mold.

Other Issues

Aside from health issues, this type of fungus can also have a deteriorating effect on your property. The effect will not only be physical but it can also lower the value of your property if the infestation is widespread. The material on which the mold grows on will deteriorate through the passing of time and will need to be replaced upon removal of the colony. Leaving the material in the house may lead to regrowth of the fungus if the roots are deep enough or if the clean-up was not as thorough. Experts on mold remediation will usually recommend the removal of the material on which the mold has grown to ensure a lower risk of it returning. Professional remediation and removal companies , like in Houston, have workers who are well trained and experienced in handling the different aspects of mold inspection, testing and remediation.

Another possible issue that you should be aware of regarding black mold is how difficulty it usually is to get insurance coverage once you already have it in your home or if you are already suffering from exposure to it. Many insurance companies are hesitant to insure a person who has been diagnosed with black mold or toxic mold exposure because of the arduous and expensive nature of getting better.

This difficulty is not just focused on health insurance for people but also home or building insurance. Insurance companies that focus on insuring buildings, structures and residences might have extra conditions and clauses for homes that have already been infested with black mold. The problem usually lies in the fact that toxic or black mold can spread so very easily with the right conditions. Some companies might also insist on testing for the presence of mold before approving a policy for a building or structure.

The remediation and removal process can also be an expensive one which is why insurance companies are very cautious when it comes to their coverage. Some may include mold coverage only if it is the direct result of another issue such as flooding or a botched plumbing job. The caution and hesitation is actually quite understandable because the damage brought about by the presence of black mold can include mold inspection, mold remediation and even the renovation of the area where the colony was found. Not to mention the health and medical coverage that may be included in the policy.

To lower the risk of being exposed to black or toxic mold and exposing yourself and other members of the family to serious health hazards, you should always schedule regular visits from a reliable mold inspection and remediation company. Their experts can easily pinpoint problem areas in your building that may be host to molds and other types of fungus. They can also recommend the best way to get rid of the problems in order to prevent further health issues.

more...
K.I.R.M. God is Business " From Day One"'s curator insight, October 10, 8:46 PM

Black mold effects the mental health of the individual(s) who reside in an environment which blck mold is present. Mold also has demonic spirit usage and in most states including the State of North Carolina mold is not government regulated making black mold not required to be permanantly terminated or removed but it is deadly to those in the black mold environment which black mold can be hidden within the walls or spaces of the home like basements or cellars but because of air circulation the mold spores spread easily and are breathed in and most doctors do not test for the level of mold in their patients blood as unlike lead, testing for mold is not required and most times not even considered to be the cause of the health among other problems and therefore misdiagnosis are made and the mold never address. Mold should have required legislation just as does lead and lead poisoning. Both Black Mold and Lead is deadly.

Scooped by tomtenneker
Scoop.it!

People Become Less Selfish After Age 45, Study Says

Altruistic tendencies-like being truly happy for others and feeling good about giving money away-are stronger in the second half of life, according to a new study that used questionnaires, brain scans, and real-life scenarios to determine people's motivations behind certain behaviors.

After age 45, researchers found, people tend to give away more money and score higher on personality tests for altruism. The reward centers in their brains also light up more than those in younger people when they witness money going to charity.

The study, by University of Oregon researchers, aimed to combine insight from psychology, economics, and neuroscience. This multidisciplinary approach, they say, led to converging signs of pure altruism in the brain-and helped rule out less genuine reasons people might do charitable things.

RELATED: Old-Fashioned Niceties That Deserve a Comeback

For example, people give away money for plenty of non-altruistic reasons, the authors wrote, such as showing off to others or basking in the “warm glow” one might feel after doing something good. So the researchers' goal was to find a sweet spot where altruism is done simply for the joy of seeing others benefit, without expecting personal reward or recognition.

To do that, they gave 80 adults $100 each, and asked them to make real-life decisions about giving the money to various charitable organizations or keeping it for themselves. They also performed functional MRI scans on the participants as they watched money being transferred either to their own accounts or to randomly selected charities. Finally, they performed personality tests on each participant.

The researchers found that for some of the participants, their brains' reward centers were activated more by watching money being transferred to their own accounts than to charities. This suggested a “self-interested” response, said lead author Ulrich Mayr, Ph.D.

RELATED: 5 Scientifically-Backed Benefits of Volunteering

But others' reward centers were more active while watching transfers to charities. In general, these people also tended to donate more money when given a choice, and scored higher in “pro-social” traits on their personality tests.

The triangulation of these three findings suggests an underlying “general benevolence,” the authors wrote, rather than altruism for personal gains. And, they found, this trifecta was strongest in people 45 and older.

Besides age, the researchers considered other factors, as well: those who identified as religious were slightly more likely to possess general benevolence, while gender and political leaning did not seem to play a role. Neither did annual income-which indicated that older people weren't more generous simply because they had more money to spend.

RELATED: The Kindness of Strangers

What older people do have, the authors point out, is a greater trove of life experiences. And these experiences, Mayr said in a press release, “may plant the seeds of pure altruism in people, allowing them to grow into the desire to contribute to the public good.”  

The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, replicated the results of a smaller University of Oregon study published in 2007. While these new findings are more robust, the authors wrote, larger studies still are needed to support the group's conclusions-and to have real-life implications for psychologists or policymakers.

"[This research] gives us a deeper look at the people who give to charity and altruistically contribute to society," co-author Sanjay Srivastava, Ph.D., said in the press release. "If as a society we want to strengthen communities and have a world where people look out for each other, we can go back and ask what kinds of policies and social conditions can help people get there."

 

This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by tomtenneker
Scoop.it!

The Reason You’re Burned Out at Work May Surprise You

Workplace burnout has a lot of different causes: long commutes, horrible bosses, unrealistic expectations, the list goes on and on. But a new study suggests that one significant source of job stress isn't necessarily a part of the job itself-it's how mismatched your responsibilities are with your personality.

This may seem obvious. After all, why would anyone take a job that doesn't suit her personality? But according to study author Veronika Brandstätter, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, it happens quite often. The problem is, she says, people can have perceived notions of themselves that don't match up with their true, “unconscious needs.”

“People often choose a job because it fits their 'conscious' motives that are formed by social norms and expectations of others,” Brandstätter says. “For example, an individual with the self-concept of being a person of influence might choose a career as a manager, though the activities associated with a manager's job do not provide the real affective satisfaction.”

So Brandstätter and her colleagues performed a study to see how people's implicit motives affected their overall mental health in various workplace environments. They recruited 97 adults from a Swiss website for people suffering from burnout, asked them questions about their health and job responsibilities, and then gave them a writing exercise to tease out parts of their personality they wouldn't necessarily report themselves.

RELATED: 7 Subtle Signs You're Burned Out

The researchers focused on two important traits: the “power motive” and the “affiliation motive.” People who have a strong power motive have a need to take responsibility for others, maintain discipline, and engage in arguments or negotiation, they wrote. Those with an affiliation motive crave positive personal relationships, and want to feel trust, warmth, and belonging.

The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, found that burnout happened across all types of jobs-those with lots of power, those with no power at all, those that offered plenty of opportunity to interact with others, and those that didn't. In other words, the main predictor of burnout was not one single thing, but the discrepancy between the job and a person's implicit motives. 

The greater the mismatch, the higher the burnout risk. Mismatches pertaining to the power motive-how much oversight and influence a person desired versus how much they actually got-were even linked to an increase in physical symptoms like headache, chest pain, faintness, and shortness of breath.

"We found that the frustration of unconscious affective needs, caused by a lack of opportunities for motive-driven behavior, is detrimental to psychological and physical well-being,” Brandstätter says. “The same is true for goal-striving that doesn't match a well-developed implicit motive for power or affiliation, because then excessive effort is necessary to achieve that goal.”

This is important for employer and employees, says Brandstätter, since workplace burnout can cause both financial and heath burdens. It can lead to absenteeism, employee turnover, and reduced productivity-and it's been linked to chronic conditions such as anxiety, heart disease, immune disorders, insomnia, and depression. The American Institute of Stress estimates that burnout costs companies $300 billion a year.

RELATED: Job Killing You? 8 Types of Work-Related Stress

So how do you avoid this kind of mismatch?

First, think about about what types of situations you truly thrive in: Is it when you're making new friends and forming close bonds with others? If so, you're affiliation-motivated. Or is it when you're making decisions and yielding influence over other people? That shows you're power-motivated. (And yes, it's possible to be both.)

Now, Brandstätter suggests, run through a sort of “fantasy exercise” when considering a potential new job.

“Ask yourself: 'When doing my job, how would I feel? Would I experience intensive positive feelings, such as joy, happiness, and pleasure? Would it be possible for me to experience a feeling of strength and impact?' The anticipated experience gives us a clue whether the job in question might match our motives,” she says.

For someone with a strong affiliation motive, it's important that you anticipate feelings of joy, happiness, and friendly contact with others while doing that job. If you can't picture experiencing that during day-to-day activities, it may not be the right job for you. Likewise, someone with a strong power motive should hope to experience feelings of strength, and have the sense that they're making an impact.

RELATED: Here's How to Stop Work Stress From Turning Into Burnout

That advice is only helpful, though, if you're considering a new job. For those stuck in a current job that doesn't match their motives, Brandstätter recommends talking with your boss and colleagues about ways you might “craft” your position to be more in line with your needs.

For example, an affiliation-motivated employee who has little contact with others might find a way to work more collaboratively with coworkers. And a power-affiliated person who is frustrated by her lack of influence might take a leadership-training course or apply for a supervisory position.

Admittedly, Brandstätter says, there is one situation that's not as easily resolved. “A manager required to take responsibility of a team but who does not enjoy being in a leadership role probably would have to change jobs,” she says. Finding a position that doesn't require these traits could make that person's workday more enjoyable-and maybe even improve their well-being overall.  

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by tomtenneker
Scoop.it!

One Big Interviewing Mistake You Should Try to Avoid

Say you're in the running for your dream job, but it's on the other side of the country. The higher-ups call you for a final interview, and give you a choice: You can video conference in, or fly out to meet with them face-to-face.

You might be tempted to choose the easier option that doesn't involve travel or additional expenses. But it may be wise to make the trip: A new study suggests that in-person interviews tend to leave better impressions on both the hiring company and the candidate.

“We live in a world where we increasingly rely on technology, but this study reminds us that personal interactions should never be underestimated,” study co-author Nikki Blacksmith, a doctoral candidate at the George Washington University's Department of Organizational Sciences and Communication, said in a press release. Blacksmith and her colleagues wanted to see how tools like telephone and video interviewing might affect overall decision making, so they analyzed the findings of 12 studies published between 2000 and 2007.

Their results, published Monday in the journal Personnel Assessment and Decisions, found that overall, technology-mediated interviews resulted in lower ratings-for both parties involved-than face-to-face interviews. Video interviews received the most negative rankings, followed by telephone and computer interviews.

Initially, the researchers assumed that these differences would have lessened over the years, as people became more accustomed to technology in the workplace. But they were surprised to find the opposite: The ratings were actually more negative in the later research. (They do point out, however, that even the most recent study took place seven years ago.)

“Considering the rate at which technology has changed, it is clear that we lack understanding of the modern interview,” the authors wrote.

Senior author Tara Behrend, PhD, director of the Workplaces and Virtual Environments Lab at George Washington University, says the study was not able to determine what, exactly, was wrong with technology-mediated interviews-but does offer a guess.

“On the phone I can't shrug my shoulders, roll my eyes, wink, or nod my head to show that I understand,” she told RealSimple.com. “That means that the interviewer can easily misinterpret something I say.”

On top of that, she says, taking turns is harder in a video or phone setting. “The chance of accidentally interrupting the interviewer would be much higher,” says Behrend. “If you're afraid of interrupting, then you might have a long awkward pause instead. Neither option is going to give the perception that you are a strong communicator.”

It's also difficult to engage in what Behrend calls “impression management”-doing things to make the interviewer like you-when you're not face-to-face with them. You might not be able to make friendly small talk or show that you're attentive by smiling and sitting up straight if you're on the phone or staring into a webcam, she says.

The problem is, many interviewees aren't given a choice as to what kind of meeting they'll have. If a company holds all of its interviews for a certain position the same way, the study authors say, then no one has an unfair advantage. But if some candidates are given in-person interviews and others aren't, results are likely to be skewed. In fact, the study concludes, these findings could potentially open up companies with such hiring practices to lawsuits.

Behrend says that an important next step is finding a way to improve perceptions in video interactions. “There is plenty of popular advice out there about how to do well in a Skype interview,” she says. “For example, making eye contact is very tough online. But, you can configure your computer so that 'eye contact' with the camera happens more naturally.” (You can find our expert tips for acing a video interview-and other smart interview tips-here).

She hopes that by studying tips and techniques like these, researchers can help level the playing field-and give remote interviewers gain back a bit of their lost advantage.

 

This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by tomtenneker
Scoop.it!

5 Ways to Make Yourself a Morning Person

Do you have trouble getting out of bed in the morning? While it might be tough to leave the comforts of sleep, you're not alone-60% of Americans say that they wake up feeling groggy at least a few times per week, according to a Sleep in America poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation. If you're one of those people, watch this video for some ways that you can trick yourself into being a morning person, so you'll wake up with more energy every day.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by tomtenneker
Scoop.it!

6 Weird Things You Never Knew About Kissing

Romantic kissing happens in over 90% of all cultures, and with good reason: “It helps us find a partner and stay with them,” says Laura Berman, PhD, assistant clinical professor of ob-gyn and psychiatry at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago and author of Loving Sex ($25, amazon.com). But it also has a slew of surprising functions, including some major health benefits. Pucker up to these fascinating facts.

It may be the most fun way to build immunity

Just 10 seconds of French kissing can transfer 80 million germs from one person's mouth to the other, according to a Dutch study published this past November in the journal Microbiome. While that may sound gross, there's a big potential benefit. “It's a way to pass around bugs so your body develops immunity to them,” Berman explains. In fact, a 2010 paper in the journal Medical Hypotheses suggested that kissing between partners could help protect their babies from being infected in utero with cytomegalovirus, which can cause birth defects such as infant blindness.

RELATED: Superfoods That Fight Colds

It really is 'in his kiss'

Women rate romantic kissing as more important when they're close to ovulation-in other words, when they're more likely to get pregnant. This makes sense from an evolutionary perspective, researchers say: Kissing offers a way to assess a mate through taste or smell.

[brightcove:5314816953001 default]

It may boost your libido

While both sexes enjoy French kissing with long-term partners, guys "preferred more tongue contact" than women with short-term mates, according to a study published in the journal Evolutionary Psychology in 2007. (The study was done with college students, so you might want to take it with a grain of salt.) “One theory is that their saliva transfers testosterone to the woman, which in turn increases her sexual desire,” explains Berman.

RELATED: 10 Things That Mess With Your Period

It boosts happy hormones

“When you kiss, your brain releases this chemical that leaves you feeling connected and bonded to your mate,” explains Berman. It also releases endorphins, those same feel-good chemicals your body produces when you work out. Another relaxing bonus: kissing lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol, according to a 2009 study done at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania.

RELATED: 13 Ways to Beat Stress in 15 Minutes or Less

It may save your relationship

Both men and women who report frequent kissing in their relationship report more sexual satisfaction, according to a 2011 Kinsey Institute study. Guys who frequently smooched were also three times happier in their relationship than guys with limited snuggling. (Interestingly, frequent kissing didn't predict relationship satisfaction for women.)

It can last for days-literally

The longest kiss award goes to Ekkachai Tiranarat and Laksana Tiranarat, who smooched for 58 hours, 35 minutes and 58 seconds in Pattaya, Thailand, on February 12-14, 2013. They beat out eight other couples who entered the competition. Wonder how much training they had to do to prepare for that one!

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by tomtenneker
Scoop.it!

One Mistake That Can Affect Your Child's Weight

This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com.

Parents who think their children are overweight may trigger a self-fulfilling prophecy, according to a new analysis of two decade-long studies. Kids whose parents considered them chunky at age 4 or 5 tended to put on more pounds in subsequent years, compared to those whose parents thought they were a normal weight.

This seems counterintuitive, acknowledge the researchers, since addressing children's weight issues should theoretically help them get healthier over time. But the research, published in the journal Psychological Science, indicates that the opposite is more likely to happen: These children tend to view their own bodies more negatively. They may even try to lose weight, but end up gaining instead.

In a society that values thinness and stigmatizes obesity, “realizing that one is overweight is likely to be stressful and psychologically scarring,” wrote the authors in their paper.

The new report includes analysis of two studies, involving 2,823 Australian families and 5,886 Irish families. For the Australian study, researchers measured children's height and weight at age 4 or 5, and asked their parents to describe their kids as either normal weight, underweight, or overweight.

The children were interviewed at age 12 or 13, and had their height and weight measured again two years later. The results showed that children labeled overweight by their parents a decade earlier had gained the most weight. Many also reported having negative feelings about their bodies and attempting to slim down. 

The results were the same for boys and girls, and were not related to household income, medical history, or parents' weight. The link between parents' perception and later weight gain also did not depend on how much the child actually weighed at the study's start.

Data collected from the Irish families, when children were 9 and again at 13, showed similar patterns. Research suggests that these trends are not culture-specific, say the authors; they expect that associations are similar in the United States, as well. 

Because the researchers simply followed these families over time, they can't say for sure that parents' perception actually caused their children's weight gain. But the findings support the idea that viewing children as overweight “could have unintended negative consequences,” they wrote. They also reference a 2014 study that found children who were labeled as “fat” by a family member had an increased risk of later becoming obese.

Children's own perceptions of their bodies accounted for part of their weight gain, but not all of it. So the researchers assume something else is going on, as well: Parents who see their kids' weight as excessive may be more likely to comfort them with food, for example, or pressure them to be thinner-a risk factor for disordered eating that could lead to yo-yo weight fluctuations.

The study findings echo a report issued in August by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which advised parents not to discuss weight, dieting, or calorie-counting with their teenagers, and to encourage an overall healthy lifestyle instead.

“Younger children don't have the brain capacity to understand all the grey areas when it comes to gaining or losing weight,” Leslie Connor, PhD, a counseling psychologist in Wilmington, Delaware, told Health at the time. “We now know that when you focus on the numbers, you're virtually pushing a child in the same direction as teasing or bullying would,” she added. 

So what should parents do if they're worried about their kids' weight? Focus on the positive, says co-author Angelina R. Sutin, PhD, assistant professor of psychology at Florida State University. For young children, provide healthy food and opportunities for regular exercise. "It is more productive to teach children the skills necessary to be healthy than to make comments about weight without offering concrete support to make change," says Sutin.

Given that the new study results were not tied to children's actual weight, they suggest that parents may be hyper-focused on the issue, Connor told RealSimple.com. “We can appreciate a parent's concern regarding children and the long term implications of being overweight,” she says. “However, our cultural sensitivity to appearance may also be playing a role in parents' inaccurate assessment.” 

As kids get older, don't bring up dieting. “Most adults who have dieted have experienced the ups and downs of weight loss and weight gain,” Connor says. “In the hands of children, who have less experience with dieting nor the understanding how the body works, it is easier for food restrictions to get extreme.”

Instead, engage them in conversations about making healthy choices, and help them build up their self-esteem. It's also important, says Connor, to set a good example by practicing healthy behaviors around food and exercise yourself. 

The new research provides more good insight for health care providers and parents, Connor says, about what to do and what not to do. “Avoid being hyper-concerned such that you create a problem when there isn't one, focus less on providing a label for the problem, consider other ways of supporting a healthy lifestyle, and remember the profound effect that parents' labels have on children,” she says. “You are their primary and powerful mirrors.”

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by tomtenneker
Scoop.it!

28 New Year's Resolutions to Look and Feel Better

Simple goals to eat healthy foods, make time for workouts, and feel healthier than you did the year before.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by tomtenneker
Scoop.it!

20 Nutrition and Fitness Experts Reveal Their New Year's Resolutions

Eat better, join a gym, drink more water, get eight hours of sleep every night...many of the most popular New Year's resolutions are focused on living a healthier, more balanced life. But what do those people who are already extremely healthy (in fact, it's their job to be) want to improve upon? We polled 20 wellness influencers, from nutritionists to celebrity trainers to healthy start-up founders, to find out what their self-improvement goals are for the upcoming year. From being more mindful to carving out time for themselves to working out a little less (if only we all had that problem), here are their resolutions for 2017.

RELATED: 21 New Year's Resolutions You'll Actually Keep

Embrace mindfulness and live in the now

"Be even more mindful with the words I use, making sure they are influential in a positive, hopeful, and inspiring way; not just for the clients I train, but for everyone I interact with, including myself." 
-Tanya Becker, co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Physique57

"Furthering my meditation practice. I find that mindfulness not only allows me to react more calmly in stressful situations, but it also helps me feel happier overall and more in the moment, whether I'm eating, being active, or spending time with my hubby and pets."
-Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, Health's contributing nutrition editor

"I resolve to listen closer, breathe deeper, and be more present. I hope to think less and risk more. And while focusing on all these things, I hope to empower others to do the same. I'm very excited for 2017!"
-Olivia Young, founder of box + flow

"My New Year's resolution is to commit-to be more instinctual and trust my gut. To work harder, and to live in the now."
-Derek DeGrazio, celebrity trainer and managing partner at Barry's Bootcamp Miami

"Journal every day. Each day can be a roller coaster of emotions and thoughts. Writing them down is a form of therapy that helps us unwind and re-evaluate situations. It's an incredible release!"
-Karena and Katrina, founders of Tone It Up

"Slow down and live in the moment more. I'm going to work on spending less time on my phone. In 2017 I'm going to be grateful for the little things and celebrate them when they happen, instead of waiting or even forgetting them."
-Elizabeth Stein, founder and CEO of Purely Elizabeth

RELATED: 13 New Year's Resolutions You Shouldn't Make

Pay it forward

"My New Year's resolution is to advocate on more result-oriented ways and less social ways to educate and support people's lives. This is an important year in health and I feel a strong commitment to providing people tools that help them invest in their health and their futures. I feel that the trends in fitness will be taking a backseat to people wanting life-long solutions that pay it forward in a really meaningful way."
-Tracy Anderson, Health contributing fitness editor, celebrity fitness trainer, and founder of the Tracy Anderson Method

"To do a random act of kindness every day. [It] forces you to think about how you can be more compassionate all day, so you can realize the perfect moment to act on it."
-Danielle DuBoise, co-founder of SAKARA LIFE

Carve out more personal time

"I want to make sure to spend more quality time with my closest friends and call my mom and sister more often. I'm going to work on improving my cooking skills. Professionally, I'm going to hire an assistant. And physically, I'm going to take more rest days. I'm on my feet working six out of seven days a week. I'd like to change that to five days a week." 
-Lacey Stone, celebrity trainer and founder of Lacey Stone Fitness

"Put more 'me' time on the calendar. It can be difficult to manage the work/life balance when you own a business because you're emotionally invested. This year, I'm going to make more of an effort to put the computer away and take time for myself."
-Tracy Carlinsky, founder of Brooklyn Bodyburn

"I am so busy and pulled in so many directions-single parent to twin girls, business owner-I don't take enough time to decompress. I know doing so will make me more grounded, balanced, and ultimately more productive."
-David Kirsch, celebrity fitness and wellness expert

RELATED: 28 New Year's Resolutions to Look and Feel Better

Schedule in restorative workouts

"Take it down a notch! As a fitness pro, I often push myself as hard as possible in every. single. workout, choosing the most advanced poses or sequences. Movement is my 'drug of choice' and I'm working on sometimes allowing that movement to be peaceful or restorative rather than only the most intense."
-Amy Jordan, founder and CEO of WundaBar Pilates

"Being an athlete-specifically a boxer and a runner-my body is always tight, and I often don't take much time to stretch and recover, as I'm in a go-go-go mentality. I want to try out new yoga classes a few times a week and get into my own stretching routine so I can feel better doing what I love."
-Ashley Guarrasi, founding trainer of Rumble Boxing

Stress less

"Learn to only focus on controlling the things I can control. Too often we stress about things we really can't control, and it just makes us put unnecessary worry and pressure on ourselves."
-Skylar Diggins, Dallas Wings guard 

Fuel up the right way

"Be more mindful of how I'm fueling my body. Being 38 years old, it's getting harder to bounce back from eating badly consecutive days in a row. My goal is to incorporate a more Paleo-based way of eating, with lots of chicken and fish!"
-Alonzo Wilson, founder of Tone House

"Most resolutions focus on things to cut out. Here's what I plan to add more of in 2017: more colorful veggies on half of my plate, more outdoor workouts, and more books (for fun!)."
-Erika Horowitz MS, RDN

"I like to set my New Year's resolution to be realistic and achievable, so my nutrition plan is based on the 80/20 rule: stick to the Ketogenic diet six days a week, and one day a week splurge with my cheat food of choice (rhymes with "rasta")."
-Ross Franklin, CEO and founder of PureGreen Cold Pressed Juice

RELATED: 57 Ways to Lose Weight Forever, According to Science

Take a risk and try new things

"Trying new sports and workout classes. I want to break out of my comfort zone a bit more! I've never been rock climbing or snow skiing, so I'd like to try those. I would also like to make more of an effort to prioritize recovery. I work out hard and throw around some pretty heavy weights. Somewhere along the line I've started to skimp on stretching, foam rolling, and resting. Not okay!"
-Melody Scharff, instructor at the Fhitting Room

"I'm going to find a better balance between my strength training, mobility, and Jiu Jitsu. I tend to hyper focus on one type of training and my body needs the variety to perform and feel optimal. I'm committed to sitting down before the new year and re-structuring my schedule to reach my goals. If you don't plan, it won't happen!"
-Ashley Borden, celebrity fitness trainer

"Although I work out (and I'm lucky to LOVE working out), my exercise was all over the place in 2016 and I want to take it up a notch in 2017. This includes getting in a few races, planning a few hiking trips, and being consistent with four intense workouts a week."
-Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN, and founder of Nutritious Life and the Nutrition School

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by tomtenneker
Scoop.it!

This New Patch Can Monitor Patient's Vital Signs With High Accuracy

Hospital patients could have their vital signs tracked without cumbersome wires and complex monitors once a new startup's wearable monitoring patch hits the market.

VitalConnect is building a lightweight, disposable patch that can be affixed to a patient's chest and wirelessly sends vital signs including heart rate, ECG read out and rate of breathing to a mobile app. The patch has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and provides clinical grade accuracy in monitoring, the company said.

“It is very small, comfortable and fully disposable,” Dr. Nersi Nazari, VitalConnect's CEO, said on Wednesday during a demonstration at the Fortune Brainstorm Health conference. One patch can be worn for four to five days and can survive getting wet in the shower, he noted.

The patch, which could also be worn by patients at home, has the ability to detect if the wearer has fallen down. If a fall is detected, the patch can wirelessly notify a doctor or other party.

VitalConnect is also developing a cloud-based service to analyze the health data collected by the patches. The software ultimately could help physicians decide how to treat a patient or decide when the patient is ready to be discharged from the hospital, Nazari said.

For more about medical wearables, see: Can a Wearable Fitness Device Predict Your Heart Attack?

“The data is sliced and diced and analyzed to the condition that the doctor is looking at,” Nazari explained. “We do not want to bombard doctors with so much data that it's just not useful.”

VitalConnect, founded in 2011, is seeking to combine expertise in bioengineering and data analytics. Nazari previously worked on semiconductor chip design at Marvell Semiconductor. Joseph Roberson, the company's chief medical officer, was formerly chief of otology-neurotology-skull base surgery at Stanford University.

 

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by tomtenneker
Scoop.it!

How to Survive a Quarter-Life Crisis and Find Your True Purpose

During my quarter-life crisis, I felt paralyzed to make a change. I felt like I was at the intersection of hopeless, stuck, and FOMO (or fear of missing out).

I said to myself, “I hate my job and I want to do something else, but I don't know where to start. I'm interested in so many things, but none of them seem perfect. All my friends on Facebook are so happy and successful. My friend is a Forbes 30 Under 30. My buddy is traveling around Thailand. My friend just got engaged. I'm tired of being single. I'm a failure.”

Everything feels impossible during a quarter-life crisis, even small decisions like which shampoo to buy, or which show to watch on Netflix. 

But the five simple steps below helped me get through that period of intense confusion-and eventually, find my true purpose. I hope these tips will be helpful as you discover yours.

Stop the comparisons

Social media has made it all but impossible to avoid comparing yourself to others. We see only the coolest parts of our friends' lives, like when they get a new job, fall in love, or travel somewhere beautiful. We think, “Wow, I really need to get my act together.”  All of us are figuring it out, even our friends whose Instagram grass looks really green. All of us are on different paths, with no right or wrong answer. Comparing yourself to others is a waste of time. Stop worrying about what other people think and start figuring out what you want.

RELATED: Elizabeth Gilbert Shares Her Secrets to Living a More Creative Life

Pursue what's meaningful to you

If you want to turn your quarter-life crisis into a breakthrough, you have to stop focusing on everyone else's noise, and start asking yourself why you're here. What do you care most about? What do you want to do for the world? What are you really good at? What types of people do you want to surround yourself with? How much money do you need to live your desired lifestyle? I call this finding alignment between who you are and how you're spending your days.

Turn your doubt into action

When I was stuck in my old job, fear of the unknown often kept me up all night. This doubt never really goes away, but I've learned that we can turn our doubts into research, into positive energy that takes us closer to our next lily pad. If you write your doubts and fears on paper, you can begin to take tangible action steps toward figuring out what's next in your life. This might mean reading a book that interests you, signing up for a class, launching a crowdfunding campaign for a creative project, starting a blog, attending a cool conference or event, traveling somewhere you always wanted to go, having coffee with a mentor, or pursuing an apprenticeship or volunteer opportunity that excites you.

Find a community of people who believe in the beauty of your dreams

Surviving a quarter-life crisis is the result of both hard work and finding the right people to support your journey. You can't do it alone. Building a community of believers is the difference between your breakthrough being a dream and a dream come true. So, start finding people who make you better. People who inspire you; who are creative, who are living for others, who hold you accountable. Depending on where you live, believers might be easy or incredibly difficult to find. Attend conferences, ask your network for ideas, and use social media to find local meet-up groups based on your interests.

RELATED: 8 Promises Every Woman Should Make to Herself

Practice weekly self-care rituals

When I was stuck in my quarter-life crisis, overworked and stressed, I definitely wasn't taking care myself-and I got shingles! I didn't give myself time to eat well, see friends, meditate, write in my journal, or exercise. If you don't take care of your body, it's nearly impossible to reach your goals or help anyone else reach theirs. Finding your purpose doesn't translate to applying to as many to jobs online as you possibly can. Finding your purpose means spending time doing the things you love, with the people you love most. It also means learning how to be kind to yourself. So, what are three things you can do to be kind to yourself this week? Think about ways you can treat yourself, take care of yourself, and create yourself.

If you're lucky, practicing self-love might even bring you closer to the purpose you've been searching for.

Adapted from The Quarter-Life Breakthrough: Invent Your Own Path, Find Meaningful Work, and Build a Life That Matters by Adam Smiley Poswolsky, available from TarcherPerigee/Penguin Random House. Subscribe for more career resources at smileyposwolsky.com.

 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by tomtenneker
Scoop.it!

How You Feel About Facebook Likes Says Something About Your Personality

Do you feel a rush every time a Facebook photo or status update gets a new "like" (and a little depressed when your posts are ignored)? The way you answer that question may reveal a part of your personality: people with a true sense of purpose are less likely to be emotionally affected by social media likes than those without, according to a new Cornell University study.

“Purposeful people noticed the positive feedback, but did not rely on it to feel good about themselves,” says Anthony Burrow, PhD, co-author of the study and assistant professor of human development at Cornell University.

Writing in the Journal of Experimental and Social Psychology, Burrow and his co-author define a sense of purpose as a “self-organizing life aim that organizes and stimulates goals, manages behaviors, and provides a sense of meaning.” People with a strong sense of purpose tend to agree with statements such as “To me, all the things I do are worthwhile” and “I have lots of reasons for living.”

To see how people's online lives might be affected by their senses of purpose, the researchers conducted two experiments. They hypothesized that those with stronger senses of purpose would get less of a self-esteem rush from virtual likes, “because they are already guided by a sense of connection with, and service to, others.”

RELATED: Is Facebook Messing With Your Self-Esteem? Ask Yourself These 3 Questions

In the first study, they asked 250 active Facebook users from around the United States how many likes they typically got on photos they posted. People who usually got more thumbs-ups also tended to have higher self-esteem-but only among those who had low levels of purpose, based on a six-question test to measure “life engagement.”

For those who had higher levels of purpose, on the other hand, self-esteem remained the same, on average, regardless of how many likes they got.

In the second study, 100 Cornell University students were asked to post selfies to a mock social media site, and were then told that their photo had received either a high, low, or average number of likes. Again, getting a high number of likes was associated with higher self-esteem only among those with less purpose. For those who scored higher in purposefulness, number of likes had no effect on self-esteem.

This makes sense, says Burrow: Purposeful people have the ability to see themselves in the future, he explains, and act in ways that help them achieve their long-term goals. Therefore, they're more immune to feelings of-or dependence on-immediate gratification.

RELATED: These Personality Traits Are Linked to a Healthier Sex Life

The findings highlight the protective effects that having a purpose can have on a person's mental health, he adds. While it's nice to receive compliments, online or otherwise, it shouldn't be your main source of pride.

“Otherwise, on days when you receive few likes, you'll feel worse,” he says. “Your self-esteem would be contingent on what other people say and think.”

Instead, he says, it's healthier to find confidence in more permanent aspects of your self-worth. “You want to show up with rigidity: 'I know who I am and I feel good about that.'”

Previous studies have been done on purposefulness and its role on health and self-esteem, but most have looked at it as a buffer against negative or stressful events. Research has suggested it may protect against heart disease and dementia, and may even help people live longer and take better care of themselves as they age.

But this is the first study to show that having a sense of purpose can also blunt the emotional impact of positive events, as well. This is an important part of the discussion, says Burrow, since staying even-keeled-through bad situations and good ones-may be more valuable to health and wellbeing, long-term. It may even help keep us from getting an inflated sense of confidence or reading too much into small victories.

“If a student takes a test, gets a great score, you don't want him to get a big head and back off-you want him to keep working and do better,” he says. “Just like you want to acknowledge the bad things but not quit, you also want to be able to acknowledge the good things but not get carried away with celebrating.”

RELATED: The Mental Tricks Laurie Hernandez Uses to Summon Crazy Confidence

So how do you find your sense of purpose, if you don't feel like your life is particularly worthwhile? There's no solid research on what works best, but Burrow says that shifting your focus to the future-and really thinking about what you want that future to look like-is a good starting point.

It may also help, he says, to zero in on a hobby you've spent a lot of time on, a role model you'd like to emulate, or a moment in your life that's had a big impact on you, positive or negative.

“In research where people are asked to nominate the source of their purpose, they tend to name one of these three things,” he says.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by tomtenneker
Scoop.it!

8 Things to Know Before You Get Lasik

You've worn glasses or contacts forever, and frankly, you're tired of the hassle. You want to see clearly from the second you wake up in the morning till the moment you drift to sleep at night. But if you're considering Lasik, you probably have some questions like, "Will I be laid up for days?" "Will it hurt?" And: "What are the odds it'll work?" Before you go under the laser, here are a few things you should know. 

How is Lasik done?

After your eye surgeon applies numbing drops, she makes an incision in the cornea and lifts a thin flap. Then a laser reshapes the corneal tissue underneath, and the flap is replaced. "The patient can see very quickly," says Wilmington, Delaware-based ophthalmologist Robert Abel, Jr., MD, author of The Eye Care Revolution. "You get off the table and think, 'Wow.'" 

Who can get the procedure?

Lasik is used to treat the common vision problems nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. To find out if you're a good candidate for the surgery, see an ophthalmologist for an eye exam. “You need to make sure your cornea is uniform, you don't have severe dry eye or other eye conditions, and your prescription is stable,” explains Dr. Abel.

Lasik can also be used to fix presbyopia-that maddening effect of aging that makes it harder to focus close-up-but you need to have one eye corrected for near vision and the other for distance. This technique, called Monovision Lasik, affects depth perception and sharpness, so you may still require glasses for visually demanding activities like driving at night, or reading fine print for long periods of time. (The FDA recommends doing a trial with monovision contact lenses first.)

Also know that as you get older, your vision may continue to get worse, so you may need another Lasik procedure or glasses down the road, says Dr. Abel.

What's the success rate?

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, 90% of Lasik patients end up with vision somewhere between 20/20 and 20/40. 

There's chance you will still need to use corrective lenses sometimes: A 2013 survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center found that more than 50% of people who get Lasik or other laser vision-correction surgery wear glasses or contacts at least occasionally. Still, 80% of the survey respondents reported feeling "completely" or "very satisfied" with their procedure.

According to the FDA, results are usually not as good in people who have very large refractive errors. Make sure you discuss your expectations with your ophthalmologist to see if they're realistic.

RELATED: The Surprising Effect of Pregnancy and Nursing on Eyesight

What are the risks?

While the thought of a laser boring into your eye may seem, well, terrifying, the procedure is overwhelmingly safe, Dr. Abel says, noting that the risk of problems is about 1%.

That said, it's important to weigh the risks against the benefits, as the potential complications can be debilitating. The FDA has a list on its site, including severe dry eye syndrome, and a loss in vision that cannot be fixed with eyewear or surgery. Some patients develop symptoms like glare, halos, and double vision that make it especially tough to see at night or in fog. 

There are also temporary effects to consider. According to the Consumer Reports survey, many respondents experienced side effects-including dry eyes, halos, and blurry vision-that lasted six months or longer.

One thing you don't have to worry about: Flinching or blinking during the procedure. A device will keep your eyelids open, while a suction ring prevents your eye from moving.

How long will I be out of commission?

You will need someone to drive you home after the procedure, but you can go back to work the very next day. 

How much will this cost?

According to Lasik.com, the cost can range from $299 per eye to more than $4,000 per eye. Geography, technology, and the surgical experience of the doctor all factor into the price. Insurance companies don't typically cover the surgery, but you can use tax-free funds from your FSA, HSA, or HRA account to pay for it.

RELATED: 5 Foods for Healthy Eyes

Is Lasik the only option?

Epi-LASIK is a similar laser procedure, but it's done without making a surgical incision, says Dr. Abel. “The risk of complications is even lower than traditional Lasik, and that's why a lot of people are opting to get Epi-Lasik." The catch: The recovery takes longer. You'll need to wait 4 days before you can drive, he says, and 11 days to see really well.

How can I find a good doctor?

With nearly every daily deal site offering discounts on laser eye surgery, it can be tempting to choose the cheapest doc. But it's important you see someone with a wealth of experience, says Dr. Abel. After all, these are your eyes we're talking about. Dr. Abel suggests calling your local university hospital and asking an administrative assistant or nurse where they refer their Lasik patients. “You want to go to someone with good follow-up care and an extended warranty or guarantee of at least three years in case you need a correction later in life,” says Dr. Abel.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by tomtenneker
Scoop.it!

Health Costs of Black Mold

The Difficulties of Having Black Mold

Black mold is one of the more dangerous types of molds that one can have in the home at any given time. As with any other kind of mold or fungus, this type thrives in moist, dark places, as close to the source of moisture as possible. Most of the time, mold can grow and spread unnoticed because of the fact that they prefer dark places with unlimited access to moisture or water. There are several tell-tale signs that you may have a black mold infestation; these include, but are not limited to:

– dark spots or patches on the wall, floor, ceiling or any other part of the house.

– a musty, moldy smell

– black, fuzzy growth in areas that may have been waterlogged or flooded recently

– onset of allergy symptoms in you or other members of the household (especially off season)

– leaky faucets, drains, sinks and pipes

Possible Health Problems

There are several health problems from black mold which can severely affect a person. The problems usually start with a simple allergic reaction and can develop into issues that are often misdiagnosed and can be lethal if not found out soon enough like those on the news in Houston. These problems only highlight the importance of regular mold inspection and immediate remediation when the presence of black mold is detected. Some of the bodily functions that are initially affected by inhalation or contact with black mold spores and the toxic chemicals that they produce include respiration, blood circulation, reproduction and mental capacity and function. Aside from these, continuous inhalation and contact with the toxins can lead to depression, mental illnesses, loss of motor functions and even death. A person affected by toxic mold will always be listless, exhausted and experience a variety of aches and pains all over the body. As you can see, the symptoms are very general and can be easily misdiagnosed as something else.

Those who are more susceptible to black mold symptoms are young children and the elderly. This may be because children have immune systems which are not fully developed yet and the elderly may have compromised immune systems due to their advanced age. Both age brackets are more prone to the health problems from black mold but even healthy adults with good immune systems can fall prey to the fungus. Extended and continuous exposure will eventually break down the body's defenses and the person may succumb to the many health issues that are brought by black mold.

Other Issues

Aside from health issues, this type of fungus can also have a deteriorating effect on your property. The effect will not only be physical but it can also lower the value of your property if the infestation is widespread. The material on which the mold grows on will deteriorate through the passing of time and will need to be replaced upon removal of the colony. Leaving the material in the house may lead to regrowth of the fungus if the roots are deep enough or if the clean-up was not as thorough. Experts on mold remediation will usually recommend the removal of the material on which the mold has grown to ensure a lower risk of it returning. Professional remediation and removal companies , like in Houston, have workers who are well trained and experienced in handling the different aspects of mold inspection, testing and remediation.

Another possible issue that you should be aware of regarding black mold is how difficulty it usually is to get insurance coverage once you already have it in your home or if you are already suffering from exposure to it. Many insurance companies are hesitant to insure a person who has been diagnosed with black mold or toxic mold exposure because of the arduous and expensive nature of getting better.

This difficulty is not just focused on health insurance for people but also home or building insurance. Insurance companies that focus on insuring buildings, structures and residences might have extra conditions and clauses for homes that have already been infested with black mold. The problem usually lies in the fact that toxic or black mold can spread so very easily with the right conditions. Some companies might also insist on testing for the presence of mold before approving a policy for a building or structure.

The remediation and removal process can also be an expensive one which is why insurance companies are very cautious when it comes to their coverage. Some may include mold coverage only if it is the direct result of another issue such as flooding or a botched plumbing job. The caution and hesitation is actually quite understandable because the damage brought about by the presence of black mold can include mold inspection, mold remediation and even the renovation of the area where the colony was found. Not to mention the health and medical coverage that may be included in the policy.

To lower the risk of being exposed to black or toxic mold and exposing yourself and other members of the family to serious health hazards, you should always schedule regular visits from a reliable mold inspection and remediation company. Their experts can easily pinpoint problem areas in your building that may be host to molds and other types of fungus. They can also recommend the best way to get rid of the problems in order to prevent further health issues.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by tomtenneker
Scoop.it!

The Reason You’re Burned Out at Work May Surprise You

Workplace burnout has a lot of different causes: long commutes, horrible bosses, unrealistic expectations, the list goes on and on. But a new study suggests that one significant source of job stress isn't necessarily a part of the job itself-it's how mismatched your responsibilities are with your personality.

This may seem obvious. After all, why would anyone take a job that doesn't suit her personality? But according to study author Veronika Brandstätter, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, it happens quite often. The problem is, she says, people can have perceived notions of themselves that don't match up with their true, “unconscious needs.”

“People often choose a job because it fits their 'conscious' motives that are formed by social norms and expectations of others,” Brandstätter says. “For example, an individual with the self-concept of being a person of influence might choose a career as a manager, though the activities associated with a manager's job do not provide the real affective satisfaction.”

So Brandstätter and her colleagues performed a study to see how people's implicit motives affected their overall mental health in various workplace environments. They recruited 97 adults from a Swiss website for people suffering from burnout, asked them questions about their health and job responsibilities, and then gave them a writing exercise to tease out parts of their personality they wouldn't necessarily report themselves.

RELATED: 7 Subtle Signs You're Burned Out

The researchers focused on two important traits: the “power motive” and the “affiliation motive.” People who have a strong power motive have a need to take responsibility for others, maintain discipline, and engage in arguments or negotiation, they wrote. Those with an affiliation motive crave positive personal relationships, and want to feel trust, warmth, and belonging.

The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, found that burnout happened across all types of jobs-those with lots of power, those with no power at all, those that offered plenty of opportunity to interact with others, and those that didn't. In other words, the main predictor of burnout was not one single thing, but the discrepancy between the job and a person's implicit motives. 

The greater the mismatch, the higher the burnout risk. Mismatches pertaining to the power motive-how much oversight and influence a person desired versus how much they actually got-were even linked to an increase in physical symptoms like headache, chest pain, faintness, and shortness of breath.

"We found that the frustration of unconscious affective needs, caused by a lack of opportunities for motive-driven behavior, is detrimental to psychological and physical well-being,” Brandstätter says. “The same is true for goal-striving that doesn't match a well-developed implicit motive for power or affiliation, because then excessive effort is necessary to achieve that goal.”

This is important for employer and employees, says Brandstätter, since workplace burnout can cause both financial and heath burdens. It can lead to absenteeism, employee turnover, and reduced productivity-and it's been linked to chronic conditions such as anxiety, heart disease, immune disorders, insomnia, and depression. The American Institute of Stress estimates that burnout costs companies $300 billion a year.

RELATED: Job Killing You? 8 Types of Work-Related Stress

So how do you avoid this kind of mismatch?

First, think about about what types of situations you truly thrive in: Is it when you're making new friends and forming close bonds with others? If so, you're affiliation-motivated. Or is it when you're making decisions and yielding influence over other people? That shows you're power-motivated. (And yes, it's possible to be both.)

Now, Brandstätter suggests, run through a sort of “fantasy exercise” when considering a potential new job.

“Ask yourself: 'When doing my job, how would I feel? Would I experience intensive positive feelings, such as joy, happiness, and pleasure? Would it be possible for me to experience a feeling of strength and impact?' The anticipated experience gives us a clue whether the job in question might match our motives,” she says.

For someone with a strong affiliation motive, it's important that you anticipate feelings of joy, happiness, and friendly contact with others while doing that job. If you can't picture experiencing that during day-to-day activities, it may not be the right job for you. Likewise, someone with a strong power motive should hope to experience feelings of strength, and have the sense that they're making an impact.

RELATED: Here's How to Stop Work Stress From Turning Into Burnout

That advice is only helpful, though, if you're considering a new job. For those stuck in a current job that doesn't match their motives, Brandstätter recommends talking with your boss and colleagues about ways you might “craft” your position to be more in line with your needs.

For example, an affiliation-motivated employee who has little contact with others might find a way to work more collaboratively with coworkers. And a power-affiliated person who is frustrated by her lack of influence might take a leadership-training course or apply for a supervisory position.

Admittedly, Brandstätter says, there is one situation that's not as easily resolved. “A manager required to take responsibility of a team but who does not enjoy being in a leadership role probably would have to change jobs,” she says. Finding a position that doesn't require these traits could make that person's workday more enjoyable-and maybe even improve their well-being overall.  

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by tomtenneker
Scoop.it!

This Is What Happens in Your Brain When Youâre Hypnotized

THURSDAY, July 28, 2016 (HealthDay News) - Skeptics view hypnosis as a little-understood parlor trick, but a new study reveals real changes occur in the brain when a person enters an hypnotic state.

Some parts of the brain relax during the trance while others become more active, said study senior author Dr. David Spiegel, associate chair of psychiatry at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

"I hope this study will demonstrate that hypnosis is a real neurobiological phenomenon that deserves attention," Spiegel said. "We haven't been using our brains as well as we can. It's like an app on your iPhone you haven't used before, and it gets your iPhone to do all these cool things you didn't know it could do."

Hypnosis was the first Western form of psychotherapy, but little is known about how it actually works, the authors say.

Hoping to learn more, Spiegel and his colleagues selected 57 people for this study out of a pool of 545 potential participants. Thirty-six of the 57 displayed a high level of hypnotic susceptibility, while the other 21 did not appear to be very hypnotizable.

Using MRI, researchers measured the subjects' brain activity by detecting changes in blood flow. Each was scanned while resting, when recalling a memory, and when exposed to a message intended to induce a hypnotic trance.

People highly susceptible to hypnosis experienced three distinct brain changes while hypnotized that weren't present when they were out of the trance, the study reports. These changes weren't detected in the brains of those with low hypnotic capability.

People in a trance experienced a decrease in activity in an area called the dorsal anterior cingulate, part of what's called the brain's salience network. "It helps us compare context and decide what is worth worrying about and what isn't," Spiegel said.

Hypnotized people also experienced an increase in connections between the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and the insula. The prefrontal cortex helps us plan and carry out tasks, while the insula helps the mind connect with the body.

"In hypnosis, we know you can alter things like gastric acid secretion, heart rate, blood pressure and skin conductance," Spiegel said. "Your brain is very good at controlling what's going on in your body, and the insula is one of the pathways that does that."

Finally, people in hypnosis also have reduced connections between the task-oriented dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and the brain's default mode network, a region most active when a person is daydreaming rather than focusing on the outside world.

This decrease in connectivity likely represents a disconnect between someone's actions and their awareness of their actions, Spiegel said. Such a disassociation allows the hypnotic subject to engage in activities suggested by a hypnotist without becoming self-conscious of the activity.

Taken together, these brain changes match well-known outward effects caused by hypnosis, Spiegel said.

A hypnotized person is intensely focused but not worried about what they're doing. They are not worried about evaluating instructions, but are simply following those instructions, and they have a more direct connection between their minds and the physical function of their bodies, he noted.

"This is the first time that we've shown what's going on in the brain when a person is hypnotized," Spiegel said. "This is a natural and normal brain function. It's a technique that has evolved to enable us to do the routine things routinely, and deeply engage in the things that matter to us."

Based on this knowledge, doctors might be able to enhance hypnotic response in ways that better help treat medical conditions, he said. Already, hypnosis has been proven to help people quit smoking or cope with pain and stress, the authors noted.

This study provides "important evidence" that could help convince skeptical patients of hypnosis' potential benefits, said Guy Montgomery, who specializes in integrative behavioral medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

Dr. Alan Manevitz, a clinical psychiatrist with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, agreed.

"Hypnosis has been around for a long time, but people have looked upon it as quackery," Manevitz said. "This demonstrates it's a legitimate neurobiological phenomenon, by revealing the brain activity that underlies the hypnotic state."

However, Montgomery added that it will take further research to make this specific knowledge directly useful in daily medicine.

"How would I use this information to enhance procedures for patients?" he said. "I don't really know."

The study appears July 28 in the journal Cerebral Cortex.

More information

For more on hypnosis, visit the U.S. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by tomtenneker
Scoop.it!

The Weird Way Harry Potter Could Affect Your Political Views

Come November, your fiction preferences might have a real-life impact on your choices at the polls. People who have read Harry Potter novels tend to have a lower opinion of Donald Trump, according to a new study-and the more books they've read in the series, the less favorably they view the Republican presidential nominee.

These findings held true regardless of a person's political party, gender, age, level of education, or religious beliefs, says study author Diana Mutz, professor of political science and communication at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication.

The massive popularity of the series, by British author J.K. Rowling, made such research possible; more than 450 million copies of the books have been sold worldwide, and Mutz found that both Republicans and Democrats were equally likely to have read them.

To gauge people's opinions of the controversial businessman-turned-politician, Mutz surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,142 Americans. (In addition to Trump and Harry Potter, she also asked them about hot-button election issues such as waterboarding, the death penalty, and the treatment of Muslims and gay people.)

She found that each book people had read in the fantasy series lowered their evaluations of Trump by about two to three points on a 100-point sale. “This may seem small,” Mutz acknowledged in a press release, “but for someone who has read all seven books, the total impact could lower their estimation of Trump by 18 points out of 100.”

To a lesser extent, Harry Potter readership was also associated with a more positive attitude toward Muslim and gay people, and a more negative one toward questions about the use of torture and killing terrorists.

Mutz believes that the books' message of tolerance and respect for each others' differences may play a key role in influencing readers' political views.

For example, she writes, Harry Potter advocates for oppressed house-elves and opposes the evil Lord Voldemort's quest for “blood purity” among wizards. Trump, on the other hand, has called for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States, and made comments about minorities, including women, Mexicans, and disabled people.

The protagonists in Rowling's books are also reluctant to use violence to settle disputes, she writes, while Trump has supported waterboarding and bombing terrorists' families.

Finally, Mutz writes, “it may simply be too difficult for Harry Potter readers to ignore the similarities between Trump and the power-hungry Voldemort.”

The study will appear in a special election edition of the journal PS: Political Science and Politics. Mutz concludes-with obvious bias of her own-that she's not sure if Harry Potter can “defeat Donald Trump” in this year's election, but that her research raises hope that the values the book preaches could prevail.

“If half-bloods, werewolves and others should be treated with respect and fairness as the Potter stories teach,” she writes, “so too should all human beings.”

 

This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com.

more...
No comment yet.