Mind

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4 reasons why your cat may be cranky

<div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>There are many reasons why some cats are cranky; their temperament can be influenced by their upbringing or they are simply born that way. However, even the sweetest, most affectionate cats can suddenly become bad-tempered and behave out of character. According to veterinarian Dr Katrina Warren, the problem can generally be solved, but you’ll need to look for underlying issues.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>1. Pain/medical reasons</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>Changes in a cat’s behaviour can often be explained by a health problem. Pain can cause cats to behave very differently, and it’s easy to mistake a problem as behavioural, when in fact it is medical. Should you observe a significant change in your cat’s behaviour, then a visit to the vet is the best place to start. Watch out for changes in eating, drinking or litter-box habits. Also hiding and avoiding being touched. Be sure to report all changes to your vet. There are many cat health problems that can be readily treated to ease symptoms and pain for your cat.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>2. Living in a multi-cat household</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>It pays to remember that cats don’t like to share or queue. Sharing of ‘resources’ such as litter trays and food bowls can cause stress and anxiety for many cats. It’s always a good idea to provide each cat with their own litter box, food, water bowls and bed as a minimum. One litter box for each cat plus a spare is even better, as are multiple sleeping spots and extra scratching posts. A lack of space to hide from or avoid other cats, competition for territory and lack of individual attention can also add to household friction. If your cat is feeling anxious, offering it an elevated place to sit, such as a climbing tree, can be helpful.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>3. Change in situation</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>Moving to a new house, the arrival of a new baby, new pets and other types of change can seriously impact cat behaviour. Cats are creatures of habit and tend to be territorial, so a change in routine may cause them to react in a number of ways, including withdrawal or aggression. Try to keep your cat’s environment as calm as possible and make sure there are places where they feel safe. Sometimes confining them to a single room with a litter box, bedding and home comforts can help them to settle.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>4. Personality</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>Some cats simply do not like being touched and handled. These are often cats that received limited socialisation with humans when they were kittens. These cats do best in a quiet household without children and need understanding and patience to help build their confidence. </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>Dos and Don’ts</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <ul> <li><strong>DON’T use your hands as toys.</strong><span> </span>Dangling your fingers in front of a cat may be a convenient way to attract their attention and initiate play, but it sends a message to them it is OK to chase your fingers and bite your hands.<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/pets/28-ways-your-pet-trying-say-i-love-you" target="_blank">Stalking behaviour is normal</a><span> </span>as that is how cats hunt their prey but you do not want your hand to be their catch!</li> <li><strong>DO use toys</strong>, such as a bauble you can toss or feathers and string attached to a wand. This keeps your hands safe and is a fun way to offer interactive play.</li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>Did you know?</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>Scratching is a natural behaviour for cats. It is how they remove the outer sheaths of their claws and it is not something we can stop them doing. Provide them with a sturdy scratching post that allows them to stretch out. Teach them how to use it by playing games that encourage them to claw at the post until they get the hang of it.</p> <p><em>Written by <span>Dr Katrina Warren</span>. This article first appeared in </em><span><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/pets/4-reasons-why-your-cat-may-be-cranky"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN87V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></span></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

Mind

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Should you weigh yourself regularly?

<p>For some, jumping on the scales is a daily or weekly ritual; while others haven’t seen a set of scales for years. Some may still be scarred by memories of being weighed in public with results broadcast to all.</p> <p>So, is it helpful to weigh yourself? And if so, how often should you do it?</p> <p>For adults carrying excess weight and who are trying to manage their weight, the answer is yes: weighing yourself regularly can help you lose more weight initially, and keep it off.</p> <p>But for adolescents or those who have experienced disordered eating, it’s best to keep the scales out of sight.</p> <p><strong>What does the research say?</strong></p> <p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26293454">Most studies</a> have investigated the impact of self-weighing along with other weight-loss strategies such as a low-kilojoule diet.</p> <p>These studies show self-weighing is an inexpensive technique that may help with weight loss and maintenance, particularly for men, who often respond well to structured “weigh-ins”.</p> <p>Only one study has investigated the use of self-weighing as the sole weight-loss strategy. This <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26064677">US research study invited 162 adults</a> who were wanting to lose weight to a single educational weight-loss seminar.</p> <p>Half of the people were instructed to weigh themselves daily and got visual feedback on their weight change over two years. The other half were not asked to weigh themselves daily, until the second year.</p> <p>During year one, men in the daily self-weighing group lost more weight than the control group, but women did not. The average number of times people weighed themselves a week was four.</p> <p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26064677">In the second year</a>, men in the daily self-weighing group maintained their weight loss. Those in the control group, who had now started daily weighing, lost weight, while the women stayed the same.</p> <p>Having regular weigh-ins with a health professional can also help. A <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29520919">review of more than 11,000 overweight people</a> attending a weight management program in GP clinics in Israel found those who had regular weigh-ins with the nurse or dietitian were more likely to lose more than 5 per cent of their body weight. This amount of weight loss is <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29114778">associated with a major reduction</a> in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.</p> <p><strong>How often should you weigh yourself?</strong></p> <p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26293454">A review</a> of 24 randomised controlled trials found there was no difference in weight loss between those who weighed themselves daily versus weekly.</p> <p>No matter what other features the weight-loss program includes, the key to better results appears to be regular self-weighing, which means at least weekly.</p> <p>Making yourself “accountable” for weigh-ins either by having a set day to weigh-in or joining a weight loss program can <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28508330">help you lose more weight</a>.</p> <p>Another important point is that <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25397613">not weighing yourself</a> regularly when you are on a weight-loss diet is a risk factor for weight gain.</p> <p><strong>When is self-weighing harmful?</strong></p> <p>Regular weighing is not recommended for adolescents. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26566095">Research suggests</a> it doesn’t help with weight management and can negatively impact on young people’s mental health, especially for girls.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26566095">ten-year study</a> of the relationship between self-weighing, weight status and psychological outcomes of almost 2,000 teens in the US found that self-weighing had no helpful impact on weight or BMI.</p> <p>However, it was associated with weight concerns, poor self-esteem and trying to lose weight though unhealthy methods such as excessive fasting.</p> <p>Over the ten years, more frequent weighing was associated with a decrease in body satisfaction and self-esteem, and an increase in weight concerns and depression in the young women.</p> <p>For young men, with the exception of weight concerns, there were no significant relationships between self-weighing and other variables.</p> <p>An increased frequency of self-weighing throughout the high school years <a href="https://thebutterflyfoundation.org.au/our-services/">may flag</a> the need to investigate an adolescent’s overall well-being and psychological health.</p> <p>Self-weighing can also <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26627092">affect the self-esteem</a> and psychological well-being of adults, especially women. This is of particular concern for those with eating disorders, as <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27188448">weighing frequency can be associated with greater severity of eating disorders</a>.</p> <p>For some people, self-weighing could be the key to losing or keeping weight off, while for others, it may do harm. Consider your life stage, pre-existing health conditions and your mental well-being when deciding whether regular weighing is worth it for you. <!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/92177/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Clare Collins, Professor in Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Newcastle and Rebecca Williams, Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Newcastle</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/health-check-should-you-weigh-yourself-regularly-92177"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>.</em></p>

Mind

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The simple eye test leaving people gobsmacked

<p>Getting behind the wheel at night can be a challenge even for the most experienced drivers. However, more difficulties await those with vision problems.</p> <p>According to a Twitter user, you can check if you need glasses for driving through this simple test.</p> <p>The account posted two pictures, claiming that they show what driving with astigmatism looks like compared with normal, healthy vision.</p> <p>In the first picture, the lights from the traffic appear with big streaks, while in the second picture the lights only have a slight blur around them.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr">Astigmatism is when the cornea is slightly curved rather than completely round..<br /><br />With astigmatism, light focuses on several points of the retina rather just one point. This is what people with Astigmatisms vs without. <a href="https://t.co/RXWWayFBRJ">pic.twitter.com/RXWWayFBRJ</a></p> — Unusual Facts (@UnusualFacts6) <a href="https://twitter.com/UnusualFacts6/status/1109996250273902592?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 25, 2019</a></blockquote> <p>“This is what people with Astigmatisms vs without [see],” the post read.</p> <p>Astigmatism is a condition where the cornea or lens of the eye is not a smooth curve, resulting in asymmetric blur and distorted view.</p> <p>The post, published in late March, has surprised social media users who previously believed that the streaky image was “normal”.</p> <p>“Wait people can see lights normally? I thought everyone saw those lines,” one responded.</p> <p>“I thought everyone saw the lines, when I was little I would squint to make em longer to entertain myself, thought that was normal,” another commented.</p> <p>“My life and seeing is a lie, I thought everyone saw the lines,” another commenter added.</p> <p>Optometrist Ceri Smith-Jaynes told<span> </span><a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/8775288/how-two-photos-compare-astigmatism/"><em>The</em> <em>Sun Online</em></a> that the picture “is not a bad representation” what the condition might look like. “You do get a bit of streaking with astigmatism,” she said. “But it could also be a number of other things such as cataracts, opaqueness or even when a lash gets in your eye.”</p> <p>According to <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/astigmatism" target="_blank">Health Direct</a>, astigmatism may be present at birth, develop with ageing, or result from eye disease or injury. Symptoms may include headaches, difficulties seeing at night and tiredness.</p> <p>The condition could be corrected by glasses, contact lens or surgery.</p> <p>Do you see the streaky lights when driving at night? Let us know in the comments.</p>

Mind

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The 12-minute trick to reducing anxiety

<p>When you’re in a bad mood, it can be tempting to just take it out on those around you. However, a new study has found that a few acts of kindness will help a lot more in boosting your mood – and 12 minutes is all it takes.</p> <p>Researchers from Iowa State University discovered that getting up and giving well-wishes to others could help lower anxiety and improve happiness.</p> <p>“Walking around and offering kindness to others in the world reduces anxiety and increases happiness and feelings of social connection,” said Douglas Gentile, professor of psychology at Iowa University and co-author of the study, in a statement.</p> <p>“It’s a simple strategy that doesn’t take a lot of time that you can incorporate into your daily activities.”</p> <p>In the study published in <span><a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10902-019-00100-2"><em>Journal of Happiness Studies</em></a></span>, Gentile and two colleagues tested a number of techniques aimed at reducing anxiety and increasing wellbeing.</p> <p>A total of <span><a href="https://www.sciencealert.com/want-to-improve-your-mood-the-way-is-easy-and-it-only-takes-12-minutes">496 student volunteers</a></span> were asked to walk around the building for 12 minutes and try one of the techniques, which included “loving-kindness” (looking at another person and thinking “I wish for this person to be happy”) and “interconnectedness” (looking at another person and thinking about how they might be connected to each other, such as the feelings they might share or how similar the classes they take might be).</p> <p>Those who practiced loving-kindness were found to feel happier, more connected, empathetic and less anxious.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the ones who tried the interconnectedness method did not feel any difference in their happiness and anxiety levels but scored higher on social connection.</p> <p>The techniques were also found to be working for everyone regardless of personality types or gender. Participants who scored highly on a narcissism test had no more difficulty thinking well wishes than the people who had high scores in a mindfulness test.</p> <p>“This simple practice is valuable regardless of your personality type,” said Lanmiao He, one of the report’s co-authors.</p> <p>“Extending loving-kindness to others worked equally well to reduce anxiety, increase happiness, empathy and feelings of social connection.”</p> <p>So, the next time you feel distressed, it can be helpful to just take 12 minutes out of your time and think kind thoughts about others.</p> <p>Have you tried this trick to relieve anxiety? Let us know in the comments.</p>

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This is what a near-death experience really feels like according to science

<p>No one knows for sure what happens after death, but researchers have been working to solve the question of what humans experience when they’re dying.</p> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>What do the majority of people see when they’re about to die? What do they feel?</p> <p>Charlotte Martial, PhD, neuropsychologist at the University of Liège and University Hospital of Liège, Belgium, and her team analyzed the written accounts of near-death experiences from 154 people, publishing the results in <a rel="noopener" href="http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fnhum.2017.00311/full" target="_blank" title="" data-original-title=""><em>Frontiers of Neuroscience</em></a>. It’s the first rigorous study of this phenomena, Dr Martial told <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170726102934.htm" target="_blank" title="" data-original-title="">ScienceDaily</a></em>.</p> <p>As it turns out, there are four major events common to these close calls.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>1. Feeling peaceful</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>The sensation of peacefulness might not be something you’d expect of a near-death experience, but the study reported that a whopping 80 percent of participants shared this feeling.</p> <p>A lot of us fear death and expect the worst when it comes to dying, so it’s nice to know that a peaceful feeling is the most common near-death phenomena of all. </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>2. A bright light</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>We’ve all heard this one, though it turns out that bright light at the end of the tunnel isn’t the most common feature of a near-death experience.</p> <p>Still, 69 per cent of the study participants reported this visual. Why exactly this happens is still not fully known.</p> <p>One theory proposes oxygen deprivation is the cause; others suggest that the bright light is the result of some kind of brain activity that is triggered while dying.</p> <p>But that's still a theory that would probably take a miracle to confirm. </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>3. Seeing ghosts</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>A <a rel="noopener" href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/02/real-ghosts-americans-poll_n_2049485.html" target="_blank" title="" data-original-title="">poll</a> conducted by HuffPost and YouGov reveals that 45 per cent of Americans believe in ghosts.</p> <p>Many skeptics and non-believers may still knock the idea that these spirits exist, but Dr. Martial found that 64 percent of the people in their study <a href="https://www.rd.com/culture/scientific-explanation-for-ghosts/" title="" data-original-title="">encountered such apparitions</a> while almost dying.</p> <p>Some report that seeing a people from their past; others say they encounter spirits of some sort.<a rel="noopener" href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/thought-provoking/Encounters-With-the-Other-Side" target="_blank" title="" data-original-title=""></a></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>4. Out-of-body experience</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>An out-of-body experience is when a person feels as though they have been detached from their body and are able to see themselves from a removed perspective.</p> <p>There have been many attempts to try to uncover the reason for out-of-body experiences, ranging from theories related to <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-causes-spooky-out-of-body-experiences/" target="_blank" title="" data-original-title="">inner ear problems</a> and even <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.livescience.com/50683-out-of-body-illusion.html" target="_blank" title="" data-original-title="">tricks of the mind</a>.</p> <p>Either way, Dr Martial and her team found that 35 per cent of people reported leaving their own body; 36 per cent said that returning to their body was the very last thing that happened in their near-death timeline.</p> <p>Dr Martial told <em>ScienceDaily</em> that, “This suggests that near-death experiences seem to be regularly triggered by a sense of detachment from the physical body and end when returning to one’s body.”</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>The most common timeline</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>Part of Dr Martial's goal was to discover whether there was a standard series of events to all near-death experiences.</p> <p>However, only 22 per cent of the participants – 34 people – shared the same timeline.</p> <p>The order of phenomena began with the out-of-body experience, being in a tunnel, seeing a bright light, and then feeling at peace.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>The outliers</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>Besides the four common phenomena, there were a handful of other events the participants reported, such as coming to a border or point of no return (40 per cent), a feeling of harmony (14 per cent), visions of the future (4 per cent), and—yes—seeing their life pass before their eyes (16 per cent).</p> <p>Who knows what the truth is?</p> <p><em>Written by <span>Taylor Markarian</span>. This article first appeared in </em><span><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/conditions/death/what-near-death-experience-really-feels-according-science"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN87V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></span></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

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4 ways to cancel plans politely

<p><span>We all have those moments where we just can’t bring ourselves to leave the house for a social engagement, despite our best efforts. While it might be relieving on our part to cancel plans, it might leave the other person feeling annoyed or betrayed. Bailing out of plans is sometimes necessary or even inevitable, but there are ways to do it that won’t make your loved ones feel completely let down.</span></p> <p><span>Here are some of the best tips to turn down plans last minute responsibly, with courtesy and respect.</span></p> <p><strong><span>1. Give as much notice as possible</span></strong></p> <p><span>Inform your friends or family members as soon as you know you won’t be able to make it, especially if it is a one-on-one meeting. This way, you will give them ample time to make alternative arrangements.</span></p> <p><strong><span>2. Be genuine</span></strong></p> <p><span>A sincere apology requires truth. Granted, some discretion might be needed depending on the person – it may not be the wisest idea to tell a new acquaintance that you would rather stay home and watch the telly. However, for close friends you can say, “Hey, I’m sorry but I’m just not in the mood to meet up today.” By doing this, you won’t have to lie, and the honesty will soften the blow of disappointment.</span></p> <p><strong><span>3. Come up with alternatives</span></strong></p> <p><span>Offer a concrete plan to make up for your absence this time. Initiate the rescheduling and suggest ideas – for example, “I can no longer make this afternoon, but I’m free on Thursday evening for dinner if you’re around.” Apart from alternative arrangements, you can also suggest doing a favour for them as a way of saying sorry. </span></p> <p><strong><span>4. Avoid being a repeat offender</span></strong></p> <p><span>Cancelling one time might be acceptable, but continuously flaking on the same person will signal your disregard for their time and feelings. To avoid this, try not to overcommit yourself, and agree to a plan only if you truly intend to go. Find out what you are comfortable with – perhaps the dinner date should be downgraded to drinks, or the one-on-one hangout should be shifted to a group activity instead. </span></p> <p><span>Do you have tips to cancel plans respectfully? Let us know in the comments below.</span></p>

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How to find a sense of purpose in life

<p><span>The idea of life’s purpose is a classic moot point – does life have a purpose? Is it predetermined? And do we need to have one?</span></p> <p><span>Multiple studies have shown that having a sense of purpose is associated with <a href="https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/2014/nov/sense-meaning-and-purpose-life-linked-longer-lifespan">longer lifespan</a> as well as <a href="http://time.com/4903166/purpose-in-life-aging/">better physical health</a>, <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/minding-the-body/201707/how-sense-purpose-in-life-improves-your-health">reduced stress and improved coping abilities</a>. One found that a sense of purpose lowers risk of death, even after the researchers controlled for other factors that could influence longevity such as age, emotional wellbeing and gender.</span></p> <p><span>However, finding the reason to wake up every morning can be an elusive task. Cultivating meaning is indeed not an easy feat when today’s life offers no shortage of stress, pressures and responsibilities.</span></p> <p><span>According to experts, identifying the activities that make you lose track of time is a good starting point. Clinical psychologist Andrea Bonior suggests finding things that get you in “flow”. </span></p> <p><span>“When you are in flow, you are so fully engaged and immersed in an activity that you feel relaxed, but also challenged, interested but not stressed,” Bonior wrote on <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/friendship-20/201803/5-questions-help-you-find-your-sense-purpose"><em>Psychology Today</em></a>. “What types of activities bring you to this place?”</span></p> <p><span>Indeed, a <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/here-there-and-everywhere/201712/4-ways-achieve-meaning-and-purpose-in-your-life">2017 study</a> found that engaging in “personally treasured activities” is also one of the most  effective factors in encouraging meaning and purpose in life.</span></p> <p><span>Finding a community is also popular advice. Surrounding yourself with the people you care for, share dreams and values with or want to help can inspire your desire to step forward in life. “Take a look at the people around you,” said Jeremy Adam Smith, editor of <a href="https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_to_find_your_purpose_in_life"><em>Greater Good</em></a>. </span></p> <p><span>“What do you have in common with them? What are they trying to be? What impact do you see them having on the world? Is that impact a positive one? Can you join with them in making that impact?” If the answers do not satisfy you, it might be time to find a new community, he said.</span></p> <p><span>Some also recommend thinking about what you want out of life, or the things you wish to accomplish. Leadership coach Kristi Hedges advises to <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2017/06/14/look-here-if-youre-missing-a-sense-of-purpose/#6b10008e2b04">consider factors</a> such as, “How’s your work today getting you closer to what you want for yourself? What do you hope is possible for you, without setting limitations? What could you do next with what you’re learning now?” </span></p> <p><span>However, not everyone is in favour of the idea of creating goals and targets. Author Heather Havrilevsky wrote in <a href="https://www.thecut.com/2016/04/ask-polly-why-should-i-keep-going.html">one of her advice columns</a>, “As long as you imagine that the outside world will one day deliver to you the external rewards you need to feel happy, you will always perceive your survival as exhausting and perceive your life as a long slog to nowhere.”</span></p> <p><span>Instead, she advises to focus on the journey, savouring the small but blissful moments we experience on our daily life.</span></p> <p><span>Life coach Max Daniels shares a similar sentiment. “What if there is no pre-defined life purpose? What if you don’t need to spend your precious life searching for one, because there isn’t one to discover?” she wrote in an <a href="https://www.masondixonknitting.com/self-care-discovering-your-life-purpose/">essay</a>.</span></p> <p><span>“How might life be if your only ‘job’ here on earth is simply to show up and participate, just as you desire?”</span></p> <p><span>Do you know the purpose of your life? Share with us in the comments.</span></p>

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Roger Federer's shock admission: “I was an angry person"

<p>Roger Federer has dominated the tennis world since 2003, but he recently reflected on his bad behaviour in an interview with <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.tennisworldusa.org/tennis/news/Roger_Federer/68395/roger-federer-i-was-an-angry-person-on-the-court-as-a-teenager-/" target="_blank">Tennis World USA.</a></p> <p>When the Swiss tennis legend was a teenager, the champion admitted he didn’t have a lot of control over his emotions. </p> <p>Federer explained:</p> <p>"I also had my bad times, I struggled with my temper, I was an angry person on the court and very sad once I lost.”</p> <p>Federer also mentioned that he would ruminate on the mistakes he made whilst he was playing.</p> <p>“I was more always very sad commentating every point I lost and I was like, 'Okay, play today is terrible.'</p> <p>“It took me a long time to get really serious and maybe that's the small regret I have, maybe that I did not realise or react earlier but with all the success I have had, I had a very normal and clear path.”</p> <p>This clear path to tennis success has helped him keep a clear head when it comes to his goals, although the 37-year-old did reflect on how long it took him to break through into the world of tennis.</p> <p>“It took me more time than other players maybe to breakthrough but once I broke through, everything was in place ... I did not become a superstar overnight so I think that helps me today."</p> <p>Federer has just recently won his 101st career title as he won the Miami Open over John Isner on April 1.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/Bvr3WTMg15t/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_medium=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/Bvr3WTMg15t/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_medium=loading" target="_blank">1️⃣0️⃣1️⃣‼️😁💥</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/rogerfederer/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_medium=loading" target="_blank"> Roger Federer</a> (@rogerfederer) on Mar 31, 2019 at 1:02pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Without his tennis idols, Federer might not have had the drive to be where he is today.</p> <p>His two idols were Stefan Edberg when he was growing up and Bjorn Borg later on. This is due to Federer’s coach Peter Lundgren telling stories about Berg.</p> <p>“I heard so many stories from my coach Peter Lundgren and all these great records and what an influential and great person he was for the game of tennis and this is obviously when I started to admire Bjorn as well and everybody who did such amazing things for tennis.”</p> <p>Federer maintains that without these two idols, the world of tennis would be very different today.</p> <p>“I am thankful too because they created the great platform we play in today and I hope I can do something similar for the next generation."</p> <p>With 101 career titles under his belt, Federer is well on the way to inspiring a new generation of tennis stars.</p>

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3 ways to stop overthinking your mistakes

<p>We all have those regrettable moments that keep us awake at night – maybe you tripped in front of new acquaintances, said something you shouldn’t have or incidentally put on your clothes the wrong way. Reflecting on your past experiences can be helpful but replaying negative incidents in your head repeatedly can truly harm your mental health. <span><a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/mood-thought/201307/four-tips-habit-research-reduce-worry-and-rumination">Studies</a></span> have found that rumination is linked to increased negative mood and risk of depression.</p> <p>If you feel like these ruminations start to bother you more than they should, here are three tips to deal with it.</p> <p><strong>1. Detach yourself</strong></p> <p>Everyone is a hero in their own story – that’s why the embarrassing mistakes we make might feel consequential to our image and sense of self. To quash the damaging thoughts, distancing yourself from the mishaps and deflating your ego could help.</p> <p>“Look for any subtle entitlement or self-absorption hidden in your ruminations,” Alice Boyes, author of <em>The Healthy Mind Toolkit</em> and <em>The Anxiety Toolkit</em> wrote in <span><a href="https://hbr.org/2019/02/how-to-stop-obsessing-over-your-mistakes"><em>Harvard Business Review</em></a></span>.</p> <p>“Do you expect things to always go your way? Do you tend to believe people are scrutinising you when, in reality, they’re probably thinking about themselves? Do you spend time comparing yourself to business superstars or celebrities? Entitlement and personalising can indicate that you tend to think the world revolves around you.”</p> <p><strong>2. Reorient your mind</strong></p> <p>Turn your attention somewhere else. This could be as simple as finding a healthy, mentally-absorbing distraction to break the pattern of excessive ruminating. This can be physical activity, such as walking or exercising, or simple tasks such as filling out crosswords or doing chores.</p> <p>Another way to redirect your mind is through meditation, where you train yourself to turn your attention towards the present and away from distracting thoughts, including worries about the future and, importantly, regrets about the past.</p> <p><strong>3. Find a solution</strong></p> <p>Shift your thinking gears to problem solving. “<span>Ask yourself what steps you can take to learn from a mistake or avoid a future problem,” Amy Morin, psychotherapist and author of <em>13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do</em> wrote in <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/what-mentally-strong-people-dont-do/201602/6-tips-stop-overthinking"><em>Psychology Today</em></a>. “Instead of asking <em>why</em> something happened, ask yourself what you can <em>do</em> about it.”</span></p> <p><span>Once you know what to do, you can start taking small steps and making appropriate changes, thereby lifting some burden off your head. </span></p> <p><span>Do you have tips to relieve yourself of intrusive thoughts? Share with us in the comments.</span></p>

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The morning habits to help start your day off right

<p><span>Starting your day off right is more important than you think.</span></p> <p><span>Many of us might not be a morning person – however, it is still crucial to wake up on the right side of the bed, as it affects you for the rest of the day.</span></p> <p><span>A <a href="https://hbr.org/2016/07/how-your-morning-mood-affects-your-whole-workday">study</a> has found that people who started the day feeling happy and calm “usually stayed that way throughout the day”, while people who began the day in a bad mood would not “really climb out of it, and felt even worse by the end of the day”.</span></p> <p><strong><span>So how can you get into a positive morning mood?</span></strong></p> <p><span>There are some practical ideas. Stretching your body after waking up can help improve circulation and ease tight muscles to reduce stress. </span></p> <p><span>What about after you step out of the house? One of the study’s co-authors, Nancy Rothbard recommended creating “intentional transition” when you are heading from one place to another. This may include taking a different route to the one you are used to, making a coffee stop, listening to “inspiring” music or just taking a deep breath before walking in to prepare yourself. </span></p> <p><span><a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/mind/easy-tricks-to-improve-a-bad-mood/">Other studies</a> have also shown that simple activities like going on a short walk in the park or chatting with a loved one could help boost positive emotions.</span></p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/RUhv-X5UszY" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><span>Watching people laugh also works. A <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com.au/reddit-contagious-laughter-best-website-to-start-day-happy-2019-3">2017 study</a> found that “contagious social laughter” helps release endorphins, which promotes positive feelings and social bonding as well as reduces stress and perception of pain.</span></p> <p><span>What’s your favourite way to start the day? Let us know in the comments below.</span></p>

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How a Ouija board really works

<p><span>Can Ouija boards actually function as spirit portals?</span><br /><br /><span>Well, the existence of ghosts is always up for debate.</span><br /><br /><span>But what researchers have learned is what really happens when you and your friend are having the “you’re pushing the pointer,” “no you are” argument. </span><br /><br /><span>As it turns out, anyone whose hand is on the Ouija board pointer could be making it move without even knowing it.</span><br /><br /><span>According to Dr. Scott G. Eberle of <em>Psychology Today</em>, there are two basic principles that get the Ouija board to work.</span><br /><br /><span>First, the game is influenced by just how much each person playing is willing to suspend their disbelief of the unusual, improbable, or supernatural.</span><br /><br /><span>The more someone leaves themselves open to believing the extraordinary, the more they unconsciously will it to happen.</span><br /><br /><span>Once that is factored in, it all becomes about something called the ideomotor effect: This is a phenomenon in which your body moves according to your unconscious will.</span><br /><br /><span>Usually, when we’re awake the actions we make are intentional — ”I want to pick up this pencil, so I will move my hand.”</span><br /><br /><span>But the brain thinks and communicates with the rest of the body even when we’re not consciously aware of it.</span><br /><br /><span>For example, a stressed or angry person might ball their hand into a fist without even realizing it at first, because their unconscious is sending signals to the body on how to react.</span><br /><br /><span>Similarly, the will to believe in the Ouija board and the wish for something to happen unconsciously influences how a person interacts with the Ouija board pointer.</span><br /><br /><span>A team of researchers at Aarhus University in Denmark observed and tested how people in pairs used the Ouija board and came to the following conclusion: “It appears that participants in the ‘Ouija condition’ generally underestimate their own contribution to the joint interaction.”</span><br /><br /><span>Basically, you’re unaware of how much of an effect you’re having on the game. So when you’re arguing with your friend over who is really pushing the pointer, you might want to try pointing the finger at yourself. </span></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Taylor Markarian</span>. This article first appeared in </em><span><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/thought-provoking/how-ouija-board-really-works"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN87V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></span></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

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The riddle that has the internet in a spin – can you figure it out?

<p>“What walks on four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon, and three legs at night?” inquired the Sphinx. Oedipus, ever the clever Greek tragic figure, was not easily fooled. “Man,” he replied. Then, the Sphinx died, for some reason.<br /><br />The upcoming riddle’s stakes are a bit lower, that’s for sure, but its answer is similarly difficult to dream up.</p> <p><strong>If Teresa’s daughter is my daughter's mother, what am I to Teresa?</strong></p> <p>For clarity’s sake, the relationships mentioned in the above riddle are by blood, and not by the quick and breezy process of Facebook family requests. Fortunately for the riddle-solver, finding the answer will just provide gratification.</p> <p>The pivot point of the riddle sits on the tongue of question-asker, who happens to be… <em>Teresa’s daughter</em>, <a rel="noopener" href="http://twentytwowords.com/heres-the-answer-to-the-viral-riddle-thats-driving-the-internet-nuts/2/" target="_blank" title="" data-original-title="">as confirmed by this diagram from 22 Words.</a></p> <p>Now, if you’re still looking for a challenge to keep your brain churning, just try and find the <a rel="noopener" href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/thought-provoking/spot-the-turtle" target="_blank" title="" data-original-title="">turtle in this photo</a>. It has nothing to do with daughters, but apparently, women can solve it faster than men.</p> <p><em>Written by <span>Sam Benson Smith</span>. This article first appeared in </em><span><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/thought-provoking/riddle-has-internet-spin-can-you-figure-it-out"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN87V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></span></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

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Does your astrological sign influence your personality?

<p><span>Astrology has continued to be a staple in popular culture, despite the criticisms and stigma attached to it. </span></p> <p><span>The idea that our fate and personalities are somehow interlinked with star placements and celestial events may indeed sound controversial – some label it as satanic, others simply find it to be fraudulent and baseless. Regardless, many people still take horoscopes seriously, as they believe that the concept is an important part of their self that influences their personality, behaviour and outlook in life.</span></p> <p><span>To see if there is indeed a link between personality and astrological signs, <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com.au/astrological-sign-personality-traits-2019-2"><em>Business Insider</em></a> conducted a survey with 8,800 Americans, who were asked if they identified with the traits commonly associated to their sign.</span></p> <p><span>Along with global survey research company Morning Consult, the website collected and listed characteristics that each star sign is generally linked with:</span></p> <ul> <li><span>Aquarius, born January 20 - February 18, is “progressive, original, independent, if temperamental.”</span></li> <li><span>Pisces, born February 19 - March 20, is “compassionate, artistic, intuitive, if fearful.”</span></li> <li><span>Aries, born March 21 - April 19, is “determined, confident, enthusiastic, if impulsive.”</span></li> <li><span>Taurus, born April 20 - May 20, is “reliable, patient, practical, stable, if stubborn.”</span></li> <li><span>Gemini, born May 21 - June 20, is “gentle, curious, adaptable, if indecisive.”</span></li> <li><span>Cancer, born June 21 - July 22, is “tenacious, highly imaginative, persuasive, if insecure.”</span></li> <li><span>Leo, born July 23 - August 22, is “creative, generous, warm-hearted, humorous, if inflexible.”</span></li> <li><span>Virgo, born August 23 - September 22, is “loyal, analytical, kind, practical, if critical.”</span></li> <li><span>Libra, born September 23 - October 22, is “cooperative, gracious, social, if confrontation averse.”</span></li> <li><span>Scorpio, born October 23 - November 21, is “resourceful, brave, passionate, if jealous.”</span></li> <li><span>Sagittarius, born November 22 - December 21, is “generous, idealistic, great sense of humour, if impatient.”</span></li> <li><span>Capricorn, born December 22 - January 19, is “responsible, disciplined, self-controlled, if forgiving.”</span></li> </ul> <p><span>The respondents were then asked to pick one of these possible 12 sets that described them best.</span></p> <p><span>The results are not great for astrology advocates. Fewer than one in five people, or 19.7 per cent of respondents, identified with their sign’s character traits, even after being given three chances to choose. Believers fared even worse – only 18.5 per cent who consulted astrology to make their life decisions picked the correct sign, even lower than the proportion of people who did not use horoscopes at all.</span></p> <p><span>However, it may not all be bogus. Ben Hayden, assistant professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester wrote in <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/the-decision-tree/201107/science-confirms-astrology"><em>Psychology Today</em></a> that studies have shown some links between birthdays and personality traits. For example, a Japanese study discovered that people born between December and February tend to be less agreeable, while another study found that men born in the summer have lower conscientiousness.</span></p> <p><span>This does not mean that astrology is accurate, but more factors may need to be investigated for us to determine the exact relationship between birth times and character traits.</span></p> <p>Do you believe in astrology? Let us know in the comments below.</p>

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Why being bored is good for you

<p><span>Many of us don’t consider boredom as a pleasant feeling. It’s a state that we usually associate with the tedious and the uninteresting, be it a heavy textbook, a work seminar or a long commute. However, studies have shown that being bored can actually do wonders for your creativity.</span></p> <p><span>In a recent study published in the <em>Academy of Management Discoveries</em>, researchers found that being bored can improve productivity and work performance. The participants who had gone through the “boring” task of sorting beans by colour later performed better on solving a creative task than those who were made to do interesting craft activity.  </span></p> <p>In the creative task – which asked people to come up with excuses for being late – the bored participants generated more and better ideas than the other group, as assessed by objective outsiders.</p> <p><span>The report concluded that boredom motivates individuals to try new things, or “engaging in different, often unusual, ways of doing things that are unlike typical or predictable responses.”</span></p> <p><span>Scientists around the world have agreed that despite the negative image, boredom is useful for humans. </span></p> <p><span>"From an evolutionary point of view, if you stay in one place for too long … you make yourself vulnerable to predators and you miss out on opportunity costs," James Danckert, professor of cognitive neuroscience at the University of Waterloo told the <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2019-01-05/boredom-is-anything-but-boring/10566842"><em>ABC</em></a>.</span></p> <p><span>"Boredom is one signal that says, 'you've been here too long, go do something else'."</span></p> <p><span>With the prevalence of mobile phones and social media, boredom has become easier to evade – stimulation is always just a few clicks away. Peter Enticott, director of the Cognitive Neuroscience Unit at <a href="https://this.deakin.edu.au/self-improvement/what-does-boredom-do-to-your-brain">Deakin’s School of Psychology</a> said that the effects of digital life on boredom and creativity remain to be seen. </span></p> <p><span>“It’s interesting that we seem to be increasingly less tolerant of boredom,” said Enticott. “Think about people constantly on smartphones, whenever the opportunity arises. The longer-term outcome of this will be very interesting, especially with each new generation who grow-up with these devices.”</span></p> <p><span>Do you agree with the claim that boredom is good for you? Let us know in the comments below.</span></p>

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How to learn while you're asleep

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Can we learn while we’re asleep? The premise might sound too good to be true, but a new study has suggested that it’s possible.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Researchers from Switzerland’s University of Bern have found that people can learn a new language while they’re asleep.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The study, published in </span><em><a href="https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(18)31672-5?_returnURL=https%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS0960982218316725%3Fshowall%3Dtrue#secsectitle0010"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Current Biology</span></a> </em><span style="font-weight: 400;">earlier this year, discovered that people in a deep sleep can learn new vocabularies. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The participants in the study were put in a controlled environment and given headphones to listen through when they slept. Their brain activity was recorded when the researchers played words from a made-up language. These fake words were paired up with their German translations – for example, the fake word “tofer” is paired with “Haus” (house) and “guga” is paired with “elefant” (elephant).</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Upon waking up, the participants were given an implicit memory test. Surprisingly, they were able to correctly answer questions on the made-up words, including what they denoted and whether they were the larger or smaller objects compared to the others.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The researchers found that people’s association between the words and their meaning was stronger when the word was played during slow wave sleep, also known as deep sleep, which they described as the best moment for sleep-learning. It is when the body is most relaxed and the brain is performing memory consolidation processes.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"It was particularly interesting that language areas and the hippocampus – which normally regulate language-learning while we're awake – were also activated when learning the vocabulary learnt in deep sleep," said co-author of the study Marc Züs in a press release.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"It seems these structures regulate memory formation independent of whatever state of consciousness we're in – whether unconsciously in sleep, or consciously while we're awake."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This is the latest study to support the idea of sleep-learning. In </span><a href="https://www.wired.co.uk/article/learn-languages-while-you-sleep"><span style="font-weight: 400;">2014</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, a team from the Swiss National Science Foundation discovered that listening to foreign languages during sleep helps reinforce vocabulary learning. In 2012, a </span><a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nn.3193"><span style="font-weight: 400;">study</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> by Israeli researchers found that people could associate sounds with scents that they were exposed to when they were dozing off.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While the researchers said more experiments are needed to support their findings, the study showed promise in continuous learning – even while you’re unconscious.</span></p>

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What counts as mindfulness?

<p>An episode of ABC’s Catalyst, “<a href="https://iview.abc.net.au/show/catalyst">The Mindfulness Experiment</a>”, offered a unique glimpse into what happens to people during <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mindfulness-based_stress_reduction">Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction</a>, an eight-week structured training program in mindfulness meditation.</p> <p>The program followed 15 ordinary Australians who were seeking to deal with conditions including chronic pain, stress and anxiety. At the end of the experiment, many of the participants had shown improvement.</p> <p>But if you’re considering dipping a toe into practising mindfulness, or taking the full plunge, there are several things you should consider first.</p> <p><strong>Clarifying misconceptions</strong></p> <p><strong>Mindfulness is not relaxation</strong></p> <p>The origins of mindfulness can be found in Eastern traditions. <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1745691617709589?journalCode=ppsa">One definition</a> suggests it’s a way of orienting attention and awareness to the present, reminding oneself to stay present when the mind wanders, and carefully discerning those behaviours that are helpful from those that are not.</p> <p>Contrary to popular belief, mindfulness is not a way to relax or manage emotions. During practice, you will most likely experience unrest, have unpleasant thoughts and feelings, and learn unexpected and unsettling things about yourself.</p> <p>While relaxation can and does occur, it’s not always as expected and it’s not really the <a href="https://blogs.psychcentral.com/mindfulness/2011/03/want-to-relax-mindfulness-may-not-be-for-you/">goal</a>.</p> <p><strong>Mindfulness is not a quick fix</strong></p> <p>Problems that have developed over weeks, months, or years cannot be fixed overnight. Behaviour change is <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-motivated-brain/201803/why-is-behavior-change-so-hard">hard</a>. The patterns we most want to change (such as addictive behaviours, dysfunctional relationships, anxious thinking) require the investment of serious time and effort.</p> <p>Instructor Timothea Goddard championed the practice of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction in Australia and facilitated the Catalyst participants’ mindfulness journey. She acknowledges doing up to an hour of practice a day can seem demanding. But if the challenges a person is dealing with are significant, this may be what’s required.</p> <p>She adds that just like physical fitness, courses offering sustained daily practice may be more likely to offer greater transformation experiences.</p> <p>While we have <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19309694">little data</a> on the frequency or length of practice necessary, <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2015-45474-001">decades of research in psychotherapy</a> and <a href="https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/diabetes/maintaining_weight_loss_85,p07862">behaviour change</a> suggest there is no such thing as a quick fix.</p> <p><strong>Mindfulness is not an escape</strong></p> <p>You may imagine mindfulness to be like a beach holiday where you leave all the stress, pressure, and deadlines behind. It’s not.</p> <p>Mindfulness practice creates awareness around the issues that most need our attention. Often we’re drawn to emotional and physical pain we’ve been avoiding.</p> <p>One participant in The Mindfulness Experiment, Sam, found this difficult. “I want to forget about the areas that are painful, not concentrate on them,” she said.</p> <p>Mindfulness provides a <a href="https://www.mindful.org/suffering-is-optional/">method</a>, not to escape, but to explore pain or hardship with acceptance, curiosity, and emotional balance.</p> <p><strong>Mindfulness is not a panacea</strong></p> <p>Despite suggestions it will fix everything, there are many circumstances and conditions for which mindfulness is simply <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1745691617709589?journalCode=ppsa">not effective or appropriate</a>.</p> <p>If your main reason for seeking out mindfulness is for mental illness or another medical condition, speak first to a medical professional. Meditation is not meant as a <a href="https://www.lionsroar.com/what-meditation-cant-cure/">replacement</a> for traditional medicine.</p> <p><strong>Questions to ask before you start</strong></p> <p><strong>Is mindfulness for you?</strong></p> <p>An individual session with a skilled instructor can help you work out whether mindfulness is going to be right for you generally, and which approach specifically might help you.</p> <p>Mindfulness is not one size fits all. Personal attention before and during practice can make a huge difference, especially in a group. We know from <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2003-02805-000">psychotherapy research</a> individual adjustments must be made.</p> <p><strong>Who created the program?</strong></p> <p>Perhaps this seems like a strange question; few therapy clients or surgery patients know who created the method being used and they often get better. But unlike therapy or medical procedures, meditation is not overseen by any regulatory agency.</p> <p>Consider what you want to get from the program and whether there is evidence the program and instructor can help you to achieve those goals.</p> <p>This advice is especially important when considering apps. Few have been <a href="https://www.mindful.org/trouble-mindfulness-apps/">examined scientifically</a>.</p> <p><strong>Does the instructor have a personal practice?</strong></p> <p>Those who do not have a regular mindfulness practice themselves may struggle to <a href="https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9780387094830">teach others</a> to cultivate a practice effectively.</p> <p>Programs that train people to provide structured meditation programs (such as Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy) <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28031068">require</a> professional training, supervision, and extensive personal practice. While we don’t know if personal practice is necessary, it seems likely it is helpful in guiding others.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/110698/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Nicholas T. Van Dam, Senior Lecturer in Psychological Sciences, University of Melbourne</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/we-dont-yet-fully-understand-what-mindfulness-is-but-this-is-what-its-not-110698"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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How to cope when you feel depleted

<p><span>Powering through different tasks and commitments can be quite draining. When this happens, there’s an unlikely source of inspiration that you can turn to: Your phone battery.</span></p> <p><span>According to happiness expert Gretchen Rubin, going into “<a href="https://gretchenrubin.com/podcast-episode/183-low-power-mode">low power mode</a>” can help us conserve energy and get important things done while also maintaining balance in our lives. </span></p> <p><span>“Energy is precious,” Rubin told <a href="https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/feeling-overwhelmed-how-to-low-power-mode-your-life-to-find-calm_uk_5bc4a9a9e4b01a01d68cf9a9?fbclid=IwAR3UxHsjx249WSxaefLxVmV_NA3tARyqebcLmQMGo9GDp3yu5akxfkx4-Ts&amp;guccounter=1&amp;guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly9sLmZhY2Vib29rLmNvbS8&amp;guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAJAWDdpJPXcHADhiEZJ-jfWlJPiNFAbJLti3O2BUplYoOJHHsy1NmI5Sb9j_fbunn5rUDVoSs9JxJGmklHouiehjXRfYlyf0nn9vl_v9xFX7s7OAerwckkwMlKgnkbN24ccCzJn13dWA3tdXhRJlPa43UXnUcnsGifKowwULEZyI"><em>HuffPost UK</em></a>. “Whenever we can conserve it, we can use it in another area of our lives—an area that’s more valuable to us.”</span></p> <p><span>While on low power mode, Rubin recommended performing only critical functions and delaying others until you are fully “recharged”. </span></p> <p><span>These critical functions might vary depending on the person’s needs. Think about what activities you can eliminate or reduce from your day-to-day life to give you headspace. For example, if you are caring for a sick partner or preparing to move to a new place, you might want to postpone that dinner party plan or return phone calls at a designated hour on the day instead of immediately.</span></p> <p><span>The focus on these critical functions is not only to reduce intensity and pressure, but also to help you identify priorities and distractions.</span></p> <p><span>To get the most out of your low power mode, announce it to the people around you. “Tell people that you’re in LPM so that they know what to expect from you,” advised Rubin. Once you are back on full power, you can let your friends and family members know that you are ready to return to your regular engagements and plans.</span></p> <p><span>Have you tried this “low power mode” strategy? Share with us in the comments. </span></p>

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Duchess Kate’s brother opens up about the “angst of loneliness” in emotional post

<p>The Duchess of Cambridge’s brother has always been candid about his struggle with depression, and now, the 31-year-old has given an insight into how he deals with the illness.</p> <p>James Middleton has previously described depression as an “illness, a cancer of the mind”.</p> <p>Now, taking to Instagram, the youngest of the Middleton clan has opened up about his life.</p> <p>“I’ve been in that angst of loneliness, where you’re really alone in the universe,” he wrote to his 127,000 followers.</p> <p>“Luckily for me I had my dogs.”</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/BuonSDcA_nf/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_medium=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BuonSDcA_nf/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_medium=loading" target="_blank">I've been in that angst of loneliness, where you're really alone in the universe. Luckily for me I had my dogs 🐾🐾</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/jmidy/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_medium=loading" target="_blank"> James Middleton</a> (@jmidy) on Mar 5, 2019 at 9:13am PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Earlier in the year, the entrepreneur penned <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/mind/duchess-kates-brother-speaks-out-about-secret-battle" target="_blank">an open letter</a> for the <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6583137/With-devastating-honesty-courage-JAMES-MIDDLETON-reveals-private-battle-depression.html" target="_blank"><em>Daily Mail</em></a>, as he revealed his fight against depression.</p> <p>“It is tricky to describe the condition,” he wrote, “It is not merely sadness. It is an illness, a cancer of the mind.”</p> <p>It was a rapid decline, as Middleton found his mental health suffering over the course of 2017, with each day being consumed by the illness.</p> <p>“It’s not a feeling but an absence of feelings. You exist without purpose or direction,” he explained.</p> <p>Middleton also suffers from Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), and when combined with depression, it became increasingly difficult for him to get through day-to-day life.</p> <p>After taking as much as he could handle, he escaped from his routine and drove to England’s Lake District with his dogs in December of 2017.</p> <p>In the hopes to leave his dark days behind, he came to the conclusion that he needs help, and that was when his slow but meaningful recovery began.</p> <p>“I knew if I accepted help there would be hope. It was a tiny spark of light in the darkness.”</p> <p>Middleton, who runs his own marshmallow business called Boomf, has suffered from a few knock-backs as his company has experienced a loss of over $5 million in three years.</p> <p>He is now working as a guide for Pippa Middleton’s husband James Matthews at the Glen Affric Lodge near Loch Ness – a hotel in the Scottish Highlands.</p> <p><em>If you are troubled by this article, experiencing a personal crisis or thinking about suicide, you can call the Depression Helpline at 0800 111 757 or visit depression.org.nz.</em></p>

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Maths hack goes viral and blows people’s minds: "You've changed my life"

<p>A UK copywriter has shared an arithmetic trick that makes calculating a lot easier.</p> <p>Ben Stephens took to Twitter to share his “fascinating little life hack” for doing percentage calculations.</p> <p>He showed that by flipping numbers and multiplying them as per usual will result in the sum you are looking for.</p> <p>“So, for example, if you needed to work out 4 per cent of 75 in your head, just flip it and and do 75 per cent of 4, which is easier,” Stephens wrote.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en-gb"> <p dir="ltr">Fascinating little life hack, for doing percentages:<br /><br />x% of y = y% of x<br /><br />So, for example, if you needed to work out 4% of 75 in your head, just flip it and and do 75% of 4, which is easier.</p> — Ben Stephens (@stephens_ben) <a href="https://twitter.com/stephens_ben/status/1102167046115262466?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">3 March 2019</a></blockquote> <p>People on the Internet have been amazed by the simple maths hack, with Stephens’ post accumulating more than 4,000 retweets and 11,000 likes at the time of writing.</p> <p>“You’ve changed my life,” a man simply replied.</p> <p>Another man commented that he was “furious” for not knowing this sooner. “I'm 30 and have avoided knowing this until some hero on Twitter tweeted it.”</p> <p>One wrote, “How could maths teachers let us live without this!”</p> <p>The tweet also inspired some teachers who had not been aware of the switching technique. </p> <p>“I teach Maths at primary level and had never realised this,” one wrote. “50 per cent blown away/50 per cent going DOH!”</p> <p>A woman chimed in, “I used to teach maths for reporters as a part of journalism school and wish I’d had this explanation in my back pocket. I had other tricks for mathsphobes but this is far more elegant.”</p> <p>Some complained that the trick is a simple mathematics rule rather than some little-known hack.</p> <p>“Do you really think people don’t understand such a simple concept enough to know this? Good grief,” one wrote.</p> <p>“Those of us who studied basic arithmetic at school are scratching our heads as to why this is a revelation,” another added. “Next you’ll be telling us that x+y = y+x and that xy = yx.”</p> <p>Stephens defended his post, saying it was meant as a way to pique people’s interest in numbers. He admitted that he also just learned about the ‘switcheroo’ fact.</p> <p>“I almost think stuff like this would be lost on a kid at school,” he wrote. “It has way more impact a couple of decades later when you see it and you're like OMG IT WAS SITTING RIGHT THERE THE WHOLE TIME.”</p> <p>Did you know this maths trick? Let us know in the comments.</p>

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