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Health (209 posts)
Everyone has something to be thankful for, even on the most horrible, terrible, no-good, very-bad day. And remembering what we’re thankful for makes us feel a whole lot better.(That's why every week we make a list of things we're grateful for.) But it turns out it can also improve your health—Ocean Robbins’ comprehensive essay on the Huffington Post explores why.
According to Robbins, multiple studies have shown that when people keep gratitude
journals—writing down one thing they are thankful for every day—they
report more satisfaction with their lives, feel more optimism, feel more
connected with others, and are kinder to the people around them. They even
sleep better and feel more refreshed upon waking. One study even suggested that depressed people showed much lower levels of gratitude than non-depressed people. And you must read the whole essay for the
fascinating formula that predicts whether marriages will fail or flourish.
All it takes is a moment to count your blessings, to tell friends and partners what you appreciate about them. Try it. Look in the mirror and think about something you like about yourself, interrupting the mundane mantra of “Man, the mirror needs to be cleaned. Man, do my eyebrows need some attention...” After all, science has proven that this is good for you. And it’s easier than a sit-up, I’ll tell you that much.
Do you think hairdressers should be trained on skin cancer as well as styling?
Health screenings: What to get from ages 19 to 91
The fake bake high
($19 and free shipping with code OPRAH; smartypantsvitamins.com)
Crunch time: 6 new healthy chips to try
Dynamic dietary duos
Bob Greene's better body boot camp
I’ve lost track of how many completely amazing and world-changing ideas for inventions I’ve had over the years. Probably because I’ve never actually made a single one. But isn’t there something appealing about having the cartoon, lightbulb-over-your-head idea, and then going ahead and actually making it happen? Sadly, due to my lack of engineering expertise, the world will probably never know my game-changing Umbrella Stroller That Doesn’t Tip Over design. And my so-ingenious-I-can’t-believe-I’m-revealing-it concept of Pneumatic Pet Tubes (you know, for when you only want to walk them one way and then send them home), still a pipe dream.
But shoes for the visually impaired? Good thing this wasn’t
my idea, but that of Anirudh Sharma, an Information Technology Engineer from Rajasthan
According to this post on Pixelonomics, Sharma’s shoe system (called “Le Chal”)
could replace the white cane and seeing-eye-dog as the best option for the
visually impaired. Mild vibrations alert the walker when it’s time to turn and
what direction; the vibrations grow stronger near the end of a journey. A
built-in sensor lets the walker know of obstacles. Tests have gone well, and
Sharma is planning to start producing and selling the shoes (for more updates, check out his fascinating blog). This design could no doubt change
people’s lives--and it's almost as cool as a Pneumatic Pet Tube.
Low-fat chocolate milk (yes, the real deal -- we're not referring to fudge-flavored drinks) has been shown in studies involving cyclists, soccer players and runners to be just as effective as sports drinks in helping athletes recover. It provides fluids to help you rehydrate and carbohydrates to replace glycogen burned off during intense activity. This affordable treat also has protein that combines with the carbs to reduce muscle damage and hasten recovery, as well as an added bonus of calcium.
This is due to many factors, most notably our tendency to fall back into some old habits like Belgian Waffle Sundays. But dieting, especially on-again-off-again, can have lingering effects on our appetites. We can vow that once we go off the diet, we'll only eat when we're hungry, and we'll stop as soon as we're full. But in a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, a group of Australian researchers measured the levels of hormones (including leptin and ghrelin) that are associated with hunger. They found that diet-induced weight loss not only altered hormone levels, but caused them to remain "perturbed" (i.e., at levels that made the subjects hungrier) for a full year. In other words, in the months after a diet, you can't trust yourself to know when you're hungry or full.
At first read, this makes weight loss seem like even more of a Sisyphean challenge. But it really just reinforces what we've heard a million times before: the only diet that works is one that we can sustain indefinitely. Viewed in that light, this new research can actually help us get smarter about how we try to get healthier.
Here are some long-term strategies for keeping the weight off:
Resisting donuts, fast food, and eating late at night
Becoming aware of mindless munching
How to stop binge eating
Men! What are they thinking? We can't always answer that, but we'll be posting our favorite glimpses into their world in this space every Thursday.
* Movember is back! You don't have to be able to grow facial hair to support the charity event that raises awareness about men's health. (Movember)
* Brilliant people hanging out together: Johnny Cash and Shel Silverstein's duet. (Brainpickings)
* An Autistic teenager is manager of his high school's basketball team: Awesome. But it gets even better. (YouTube)
* "Sometimes I cried after the war, that she was not with me. Fate decided for us, but I would do the same again."—Jerzy Bielecki, who died last week, on the woman he fell in love with and helped to rescue while they were prisoners at Auschwitz. (NYTimes.com)
Since breaking up with the pill, I've made do with the NuvaRing and then condoms, but I've been keeping my eyes open for a better long-term plan. That's one of the reasons I was inspired to weigh the pros and cons of the most popular birth control in the US for this slideshow. There are a few new contraceptive developments that piqued my interest. Any Seinfeld fan who's never really understood Elaine's passion for the Today sponge can now find out what all the hoopla was about, as the sponge is back and available at retailers like Walgreens, CVS and Target. For those looking for something more effective and longer-lasting, IUDs like ParaGard and Mirena have been redesigned, and among health researchers and gynecologists, they're the new "it" contraceptive. However, the device that has me the most excited is a different birth control blast-from-the-past.
But lately the unlikeliest people keep going and achieving athletic highs, I'm pretty sure with the intent of making me feel like a lazy bum. First there was the pregnant woman who gave birth hours after running the Chicago marathon. Then there was the blind kid who pitched a no-hitter, and the deaf motocross champion. But! People! My knees!
Now there's this: the 100-year-old-man who ran the Toronto Marathon. Are you kidding me? Finishing at 8 hours, 11 minutes, he wasn't even the last to finish. According to NPR, the Indian-born British citizen Fauja Singh took up running at age 80 and trains by running about 10 miles a day. The Guinness World Record holder runs to raise money for local charities, including one benefiting poor children. According to his trainer, his secret is a diet that consists mostly of tea, toast, and curry. Um, what's in the tea?
NPR has more, including a smile-inducing video of Singh crossing the finish line. GO FAUJA!!
Decode your exercise excuses
The excuse-busting workout plan
Seriously, grab a hanky. Here is the story of a woman who sacrificed herself so that her child could live. Stacie Crimm, of Ryan, Oklahoma, reportedly " laughed and cried all at once" when she discovered she was going to have a baby at age 41—she'd been told she couldn't become pregnant. A few months later Crimm started complaining to her brother of strange aches and pains. Scans revealed that she had neck and head cancer, but she worried that chemotherapy would damage her unborn child and refused treatment. Soon the tumor reached her brain; Crimm collapsed and was rushed to the hospital, where they delivered her tiny, 2-pound, 1-oz baby girl. Although Crimm was in and out of consciousness, and little Dottie May needed intensive care, a sympathetic nurse at the hospital worked to get the baby to her mother, moving her in a capsule-like ICU, so that Crimm could hold her baby in her arms. She did, just that once. A few days later she died.
In accordance to her mother's wishes, the baby is being raised by Crimm's brother and his wife, who were able to take her home last week. NewsOK has the whole story, including photos of the irresistable Dottie May.
How about that nurse, right? Agi Beo, for making a mother's dying wish come true, here's to you. The word "heroine" doesn't even begin to cut it.
More stories of everyday heros:
The untold story of the 9/11 boatlifts
Small acts of kindness to try today
People who make a difference