Mind

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Easy tricks to improve a bad mood

<p>Having a rough day? It will only take five minutes to cure it, a study has revealed.</p> <p>Researchers from the University of Regina, Canada, have found that our mood can be improved by spending just five minutes in nature.</p> <p>The <span><a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/figure/10.1080/17439760.2018.1557242?scroll=top&amp;needAccess=true">study</a></span>, which was conducted on 123 university students, found that being in an urban park for five minutes inspired more positive emotions than being in a windowless room. While negative emotions were lowered in both situations within a few minutes, spending time out in nature encouraged more significant improvements in the participants’ mood.</p> <p>"There are two important take-homes," one of the study’s co-authors, Katherine D. Arbuthnott, told <span><em><a href="https://www.psypost.org/2019/01/spending-just-5-minutes-in-contact-with-nature-boosts-your-mood-study-finds-52948">PsyPost</a></em></span>.</p> <p>"The first … when you need an emotional boost, the fastest and easiest way is to spend a few minutes with nature. Actually, being outside is the best, but even contemplating a picture of a natural scene will make a difference.</p> <p>"The second is that, since contact with nature is so beneficial to our emotional health, preserving our local natural spaces is an important public health goal."</p> <p>The trick works for the time-poor, as five minutes is all that is needed. The study discovered that increasing the contact time with a natural environment to 15 minutes did not increase the mood benefits markedly.</p> <p>If the weather's not allowing for an enjoyable time outdoors, you can try socialising. According to a 2014 study published in the <span><em><a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2014-42183-008">Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin</a></em></span>, chatting with a friend or family member for five minutes could do wonders to your mood as well.</p> <p>What's your trick to deal with a bad mood? Share your tips in the comments.</p>

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How being nostalgic makes you healthier

<p>The sound of waves crashing on the shore, the smell of freshly baked biscuits, the chorus of your favourite rock song, these are all triggers for us to become nostalgic, to look back sentimentally on something in our past that holds deep personal meaning. But rather than just pleasant daydreaming, being nostalgic can have positive effects on our wellbeing.</p> <p>Studies have shown that people who are nostalgic are more confident, are more likely to maintain healthy relationships, have a greater sense of self-worth and are more optimistic about the future. Being nostalgic can also help counteract loneliness, which is a precursor to poor mental health.</p> <p><strong>So how does nostalgia work?</strong></p> <p>Nostalgia expert Krystine Batcho, professor at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York, said nostalgia works on a psychological level by "helping a person maintain stability during times of change" and "helping them cope during times of adversity."</p> <p>"What nostalgia does is that it reconnects a person to their own history. It gives them a sense that even though so much change is going on around them, something stays the same – and that is very comforting, because change can be stressful," said Batcho.</p> <p>"People who are nostalgic are more likely to have a healthy sense of confidence and self-esteem and they’re also more likely to be interconnected socially," added Batcho, whose research involved developing an inventory test to measure the likelihood an individual will become nostalgic. </p> <p>According to Batcho, nostalgic people have healthy coping mechanisms that make them more willing to seek advice and emotional support from others and they are also more likely to engage in active problem solving – behaviours that have positive implications for those individuals’ health.</p> <p>"What we know from the health literature is that it’s very important to have a social support system in place when an individual is battling diseases that need a lot of treatment," she said. "Having a social support network can even be helpful in a preventative kind of way, because people who are connected socially are more likely to join a health club, a sports team, or monitor their diet or exercise progress because others are doing it with them."</p> <p>So what can we do to indulge in a bit of our own healthy daydreaming about days long gone? Below are the five ways you can use nostalgia to boost your wellbeing.</p> <p><strong>1. Have a nostalgic ritual<br /></strong></p> <p>The longing for a real something or someone from your past falls under the banner of 'personal nostalgia.' It could be for a loved one, a pet, place, school, a song, a possession, or any number of things. This kind of nostalgia is 'bittersweet', Batcho said, because it is a blend of ambivalent emotions – memories that are 'sweet' such as 'I liked my life back then' but also memories that are 'bitter' like 'But my brother was a real pain'.</p> <p>Interestingly, reliving the bitter as well as the sweet memories gives us a powerful tool to deal with hardships because it allows what Batcho calls 'positive reappraisal'. That’s where we see the good and the bad together, in turn helping us to see the positive in our present day hardship.</p> <p>To tap into your sense of personal nostalgia, try creating a ritual around something meaningful in your past and set aside some time to experience that ritual. It could be digging up old photographs on a quiet Sunday afternoon, reading a poem that you once liked, writing about an event from your past, or even reminiscing with a childhood friend over coffee.</p> <p>Batcho advised there is no hard and fast rule to what you should reminisce about or how often you should experience nostalgia, but "it should be used as frequently as is needed."</p> <p><strong>2. Hold a get-together and reminisce<br /></strong></p> <p>Sharing your nostalgic memories with others is a good way to nostalgise, said Tim Wildschut, associate professor within the psychology department at the University of Southampton, UK.</p> <p>Strapped for ideas about what to do? Think about how you can infuse something whimsical or retro into your next get-together with friends or family as a talking point for memories. You might like to set a historical theme with a dress code from a bygone era, or hold a vintage high tea with comfort foods from the past, or even ask everyone to bring a photo of themselves on their 21st birthday. </p> <p><strong>3. Let the music take you back</strong></p> <p>Both Wildschut and Batcho agreed that music is one of the best ways to experience nostalgia. "Listening to music gives the same benefits as writing about memories," Wildschut said.</p> <p>To find out which music will wind your mental clock back, think about the songs from your past that may have held special significance at landmark moments in your life. Was The Beatles' number playing when you had your first kiss? Was your first dance at your wedding an Elvis song? Play them as often as you like. While you’re listening, remind yourself why they mean so much to you and pay attention to lyrics that give you a warm, fuzzy feeling.</p> <p><strong>4. Do something childish - just for fun!</strong></p> <p>Doing things we did when we were kids can also be a useful strategy for dialling back to the past. "It might only be that a person has to go all the way back to the time of their childhood to when they felt safe and secure, and more importantly, really loved for who they were to find examples of problems that were dealt with earlier," said Batcho.</p> <p>Some ideas to bring out your inner child include colouring in, finger painting and swinging on swings in your local park. Chances are, if you feel a tad awkward about the behaviour as an adult, you’re heading down the right path.</p> <p><strong>5. Anticipate a loss (but enjoy the moment)</strong></p> <p>Anticipatory nostalgia is a type of nostalgia currently being investigated by researchers. This is when you feel nostalgic for the loss of something before you have even lost it – consider the example of a parent who might put a child on a bus for the first time and realise that one day their child will be so independent that they won’t need them anymore.</p> <p>Although tinged with some sadness, Batcho said this type may prove to be personally beneficial because it "reminds you to value and treasure being in the present moment, because it's true that nothing lasts forever."</p> <p>To experience this kind of nostalgia, think of the things in your everyday life that you highly value such as the coffee shop down the road that makes your favourite coffee and imagine a time when you will no longer have these things. Afterwards, remind yourself that you still do have them and make a point of enjoying them.</p> <p>What are the things in your life you are most nostalgic about? Join the conversation in the comments below.</p> <p><em>Written by <span>Dominic Bayley</span>. Republished with permission of <span><a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/health/wellbeing/can-being-nostalgic-really-make-you-healthier.aspx">Wyza.com.au</a></span>.</em></p>

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How mindfulness could help you get a good night's sleep

<p>Getting a good night’s sleep can be challenging, especially as we age. About half of all older adults report sleeping difficulties. This can make them more likely to experience physical or mental health conditions, memory problems, and falls, due to poor balance.</p> <p>Older adults also have less deep sleep than younger people and their sleep is more easily interrupted.</p> <p>As we age, our body clock or “<a href="http://psychiatryonline.org/doi/abs/10.1176/foc.7.1.foc98">circadian rhythms</a>” change. We have a less consistent pattern of feeling sleepy and awake. We also feel sleepy earlier in the evenings and wake up earlier in the mornings.</p> <p>Medical conditions commonly experienced in later life, and the medication used to treat, them can also interfere with sleep.</p> <p>Treatments for sleeping difficulties include medication for short-term relief and psychological treatments such as <a href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-what-is-insomnia-and-what-can-you-do-about-it-36365">cognitive behaviour therapy</a> (CBT). CBT helps people to change unhelpful thoughts and behaviours that contribute to poor sleep.</p> <p>While CBT is very effective for clinically diagnosed insomnia, not everyone with milder sleeping difficulties needs such an intensive treatment. For some people, sleep quality can be improved by learning relaxation to reduce physical tension and worry.</p> <p>Another approach that is showing promise for improving sleep is to learn mindfulness.</p> <p><strong>What is mindfulness?</strong></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/meditation-mindfulness-and-mind-emptiness-21291">Mindfulness</a> involves deliberately focusing on what we are experiencing, thinking or feeling in the present moment, without negatively judging our experiences. We can learn mindfulness by becoming more aware of where we are focusing our attention.</p> <p>Mindfulness is the opposite to absentmindedness or being on “auto pilot”, like when you read a book and realise you haven’t paid attention to what was written on the last few pages because you were distracted by planning tomorrow’s activities.</p> <p>Mindfulness also involves deliberately focusing on things we don’t normally pay much attention to. You may have experienced mindfulness when you’ve listened intently to a favourite piece of music and deliberately turned your attention to the sound of just one instrument.</p> <p><strong>How can mindfulness help sleep?</strong></p> <p>The findings of a <a href="http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2110998">recently published research study</a>, led by David Black from the University of Southern California, suggest that practising mindfulness might be particularly helpful for improving sleep quality in adults aged 55 years or older with mild sleeping difficulties.</p> <p>The mindfulness program involved taking part in six two-hour group classes and between five and 20 minutes a day of home practice.</p> <p>The researchers found that adults who completed a structured mindfulness program showed greater improvements in sleep quality than adults who completed a program that taught them good “<a href="http://www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au/fact-sheets-a-z/187-good-sleep-habits.html">sleep hygiene</a>” habits.</p> <p>Counter-intuitively, the way that mindfulness may influence sleep is not directly through relaxation, because mindfulness is about waking the body up and becoming more aware. By learning to become more aware of present-moment experiences, we learn not to react to thoughts and worries that can interfere with sleep.</p> <p>We still don’t know exactly how much and what type of mindfulness practice is needed before a person notices improvements to their sleep. But research suggests that regular practice activates the <a href="http://monash.edu/counselling/docs/what-is-mindfulness.pdf">parts of the brain</a> that help us experience our environment through our senses rather than through thoughts and worries.</p> <p><strong>Tips for practising mindfulness</strong></p> <p>Practise mindfulness regularly, in a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted. It’s best to learn mindfulness outside of the bedroom because to learn the skill, you first need to learn to pay more attention to your present-moment experiences rather than to go to sleep.</p> <p>There are a number of ways to start to practising mindfulness:</p> <ul> <li>Listen to a mindfulness meditation CD, MP4 audio or a mindfulness app</li> <li>Take part in activities that encourage mindfulness, such as yoga, pilates, walking, tai chi or running</li> <li>Undertake daily activities, such as cleaning your teeth or washing the dishes, in a mindful way by focusing on the experience of doing the activity</li> <li>Enjoy the experience of eating in a mindful way by using all of your senses and keeping your attention on the food.</li> </ul> <p>Try not to pressure yourself to get the hang of mindfulness straight away. The goal of mindfulness it to not judge your experiences. If you notice your attention straying you can gently bring your attention to what you are focusing on, such as your breath.</p> <p>Resources:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.relaxwithyoga.com.au/links/meditation-cdpay/">Mindfulness and Yoga Nidra Relaxation</a> CD and MP3 audio for mindfulness and deep relaxation exercises</li> <li><a href="http://mindfulnessforlife.com.au/">Mindfulness for Life</a> book and CD</li> <li><a href="http://www.mindfulnesscds.com/pages/books-by-jon-kabat-zinn">Full Catastrophe Living</a> book</li> <li><a href="http://smilingmind.com.au/">Smiling Mind</a>: a mindfulness app for both Android and iPhones</li> <li><a href="https://www.mentalhealthonline.org.au/pages/useful-resources/participate-in-research">Sleep Well</a>: a mindfulness and relaxation app for Android phones available as part of a research trial by Swinburne University of Technology researchers.</li> </ul> <p><em>Written by <span>Jo Abbott, Research Fellow / Health Psychologist, Swinburne University of Technology and Imogen Rehm, PhD Candidate, Swinburne University of Technology</span>. Republished with permission of <span><a href="https://theconversation.com/good-sleep-gets-harder-as-we-age-but-mindfulness-could-help-37756">The Conversation</a></span>.</em></p>

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Why women are more prone to Alzheimer’s

<p>A new study has found the reason why women are more prone to developing Alzheimer’s than men.</p> <p>Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia, which currently affects more than 436,000 Australians.</p> <p>Women are more likely to develop and die from Alzheimer’s disease, and according to Alzheimer’s Association, two-thirds out of Americans living with the disease are women. In 2016, Alzheimer’s along with dementia was the leading cause of death for Australian women with 8,447 deaths, almost twice the men’s figure of 4,679 deaths.</p> <p>Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital, US have found that biological differences could explain the heightened risk for women. In a study published in <span><em><a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaneurology/article-abstract/2722842">JAMA Neurology</a></em></span>, PET scans of 300 elderly people showed that women are more likely to develop a protein known to trigger the disease. Female participants in the study were found to have elevated early tau deposition compared to men.</p> <p>While tau proteins are present in all brains, higher amounts of them have been associated with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. </p> <p>“Our findings lend support to a growing body of literature that exposes a biological underpinning for sex differences in Alzheimer’s disease risk,” said the study’s lead author Reisa Sperling, MD.</p> <p>Previous research found that women are more genetically predisposed to Alzheimer’s. A study from <span><a href="http://scopeblog.stanford.edu/2014/04/14/having-a-copy-of-apoe-gene-variant-doubles-alzheimers-risk-for-women-but-not-for-men/">Stanford University</a></span> discovered that women who carry gene ApoE-4 are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s than non-carrying women, while the risk for men with the same gene variant is only slightly elevated compared to male non-carriers. Other studies also suggested that pregnancy history and hormonal activity may also play a part in women’s increased risks. While there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, there are drugs and treatments that may help relieve or reduce the symptoms. </p> <p>For more information and support, contact Alzheimer’s New Zealand on 0800 004 001.</p>

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7 ways to feel like you are on vacation every single day

<p>The aches and pains I have at home disappear, all of my tension drains, and I sleep better and have more energy. If only I could pack that blissed-out feeling into my suitcase as a souvenir.</p> <p>“We feel so great on holiday because we let go of all of life’s stressors—finances, health, relationships, work—and tap into that relaxation response,” says Suzanne Zilkowsky, owner of Vancouver Health Coach, a company that coaches clients on health, fitness and stress management. “We don’t worry about timelines, we probably get more sleep, and we nourish ourselves better. Obviously, our stress is minimized.”</p> <p>It’s a phenomenon that’s backed by research: Studies have found that vacations help relieve work-related stress and provide benefits for rest and recuperation, health, and well-being and personal growth.</p> <p>The trick, of course, is to capture that holiday feeling - bottling it like sand from a distant beach - and bring back the great sleeps, mindful meals, fresh air, exercise and restorative practices that are the hallmarks of time away. Fortunately, it’s not as hard as you might think. Here are seven tips for achieving stress-reduced living, one for each day of the week.</p> <div id="section"><strong>1. Make Sleep a Priority</strong></div> <div class="view view-article-slider view-id-article_slider view-display-id-article_slider_block view-dom-id-54b45de899182b9d1f091aca24d774d9"> <div class="view-content"> <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>Sleep is vital to brain function. Not only does a good night’s slumber improve learning but studies also show that not spending enough time between the sheets can have a negative impact on your daily life.</p> <p>People who are sleep deprived have a harder time controlling their emotions, making decisions, paying attention, and managing stress.</p> <p>“When you’re tired, you tend to cope poorly, eat worse, and have bad habits that reinforce poor sleep,” says Dr. Atul Khullar, medical director of the Northern Alberta Sleep Clinic and senior consultant for MedSleep, a nationwide network of clinics that treats sleep disorders.</p> <p>“If you’re sleeping better on vacation, you should really examine your sleep habits in your own bedroom.”</p> <p>Dr. Khullar says that the most important thing is to not bring any problems to bed, which is what happens if you have your phone, computer, or television in the bedroom. It also helps to remove the clock (or angle it) so you can’t watch it and make sure that the room is dark and cool.</p> <p>Finally, you should aim for at least seven to eight hours of sleep each night. If you’re falling short, start by going to bed 10 to 15 minutes earlier. “Added up over a week, it can make a big difference,” he says.</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. Get Moving</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>Exercise is one of the best and most effective ways to lower stress, and it’s inexpensive and healthy for you. On holiday, you do it without even thinking about it by walking<strong> </strong>around a new city. At home, you should build it into your day. </p> <p>“Even moderate-intensity activity, such as going for a brisk walk, releases ‘happy hormones’ like epinephrine, adrenaline, and serotonin, which improve your mood and increase your energy,” says Zilkowsky. “It also lowers all of the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety.”</p> <p>Start with 15 minutes of daily exercise, which is enough time to increase your heart rate and begin to reap the benefits.</p> <p>Cycle to work, do a mini-yoga session or dust off the treadmill in your basement and walk while you watch TV. “It doesn’t have to be a long marathon run or CrossFit session,” says Zilkowsky.</p> <p>As well, she recommends building regular movement breaks into your workday, where you get up from the computer to get a drink of water or stretch.</p> <p>“It increases productivity and helps you stay focused,” says Zilkowsky. Set a notification reminder to help you remember. Don't let the cold be an excuse to not exercise.</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. Eat Mindfully</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>On vacation, we enjoy long drawn-out restaurant meals with loved ones; in real life, we scarf down processed foods in the car on the way to hockey practice. It’s a fact that stress leads to poor food choices, says Andrea Holwegner, a registered dietitian and owner of Health Stand Nutrition Consulting in Calgary.</p> <p>“We have really good research to support that families that eat together have less anxiety, less depression and a reduced risk of obesity,” she says. “They score higher on tests academically, all because they’re simply eating together.” </p> <p>Holwegner recommends that families eat at least one meal a day together to connect and eat healthy (no technology allowed). If dinner isn’t ideal because of work commitments or kids’ activities, let breakfast be the backup. To make meal planning less onerous, ask the question “What’s for supper?” the day before and take something out of the freezer so you won’t have any excuses.</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. Find a Restorative Practice</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>You know that moment when you lie back on your beach towel, toes in the powdery sand, tropical sun on your face, and literally sigh? That’s called the “ahh feeling,” and it’s important to make time for it daily to unplug<strong>, </strong>calm your mind<strong> </strong>and body and take a break from the world, says Zilkowsky.</p> <p>“There are so many ways you can get that feeling, and it doesn’t mean you have to go to the spa,” she says. It could be quiet time with a good book, breathing exercises or meditation, which is gaining more fans as a method to manage stress.</p> <p>“A restorative practice can be anything that makes you feel better,” says Martin Antony, a professor of psychology at Ryerson University and author of The Anti-Anxiety Workbook.</p> <p>“For some, it may be a hot bath or massage; for others, it’s getting social support.” Carve out space for your “ahh” time and schedule it into your day or week until it becomes a habit.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="view view-article-slider view-id-article_slider view-display-id-article_slider_block view-dom-id-54b45de899182b9d1f091aca24d774d9"> <div class="view-content"> <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>5. Make “No” Your Default Answer</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’s tempting to be a yes person, assigning yourself to school fundraisers and volunteer committees even though you don’t have the time. That’s the beauty of vacations: We only say yes to things we want to do. Ziplining? Heck, yeah! Hula lessons? Not so much.</p> <p>“Most people say yes to everything, and then they start getting<strong> </strong>stressed out<strong> </strong>and have to backtrack,” says Holwegner, who also coaches clients on workplace wellness and stress management.</p> <p>“We see so many overextended people. People have to be very intentional about what their priorities are in life and create boundaries around what’s really meaningful.”</p> <p>If you’re uncomfortable saying no to a request right away, ask for time to think about it. If it’s your boss asking and you really can’t say no, make sure to clarify what items can slide down the priority list to make time for the new project.</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>6. Be a Tourist In Your Own Town</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 what makes a vacation so exciting is the novelty of a new place. You eat at trendy restaurants, sign up for bicycle tours, and try activities like surfing. In short, you do things that bring you joy and let you discover a destination.</p> <p>The good news is, it’s easy to be a tourist in your own town, especially on weekends. Make a point of checking out that hot new jazz bar or signing up for a food or brewery tour. Try a new hike or visit a museum.</p> <p>“Day in and day out, we get up, go to work, come home, and turn on the TV while we’re doing chores,” says Zilkowsky. “We’re in a rut. A lot of that stuff empties our cup. So how do we fill it back up?” In other words, what will make you feel alive, right here, right now? Go and do it. </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>7. Express Gratitude Daily</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>Giving thanks is good for you: It breeds optimism, boosts immunity, and helps people cope with stress. Every day on vacay is a little shout-out—we feel so fortunate and lucky to be spending time with friends, loved ones or even alone. It’s much harder to practice gratitude back at home while living the daily grind, but it’s tremendously important.</p> <p>“Find gratitude in small, everyday moments,” says Lisa Jones, owner of Spark for Life Coaching in Calgary. “Put your head down at the end of the day—even if you’re just grateful for surviving the day! That can really improve your mood, your happiness and your sense of fulfillment.”</p> <p>When we become consciously aware of all we have to be thankful for, whether by writing it down in a journal or just making a mental note of it, it puts the little aggravations into perspective.</p> <p><em>This article first appeared in </em><span><em><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/conditions/mental-health/7-ways-feel-you-are-vacation-every-single-day">Reader’s Digest</a></em></span><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><span><em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN87V">here’s our best subscription offer.</a></em></span></p> </div> </div> </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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“Diet” drinks linked to increased risk of dementia and stroke

<p>We all know that too much sugar in our diet is bad for our health, and that includes sugary soft drinks. But many reach for the artificially sweetened ‘diet’ drinks, thinking that it has to be a better choice than sugary soft drinks.</p> <p>It has now been proven that these ‘diet’ drinks are equally bad for our health, if not worse. This is the latest data from the Framingham Heart study in Massachusetts.</p> <p>“We advise that people don’t drink sugary beverages because we know they are associated with a whole range of adverse health outcomes such as obesity, diabetes,” said Matthew Pase, a visiting postdoctoral fellow at Boston University School of Medicine and an investigator at the Framingham Heart Study. Pase, who authored the study, said the outcomes of consuming diet drinks with artificial sweeteners can be just as bad.</p> <p>“We found that those people who were consuming diet soda on a daily basis were three times as likely to develop both stroke and dementia within the next 10 years as compared to those who did not drink diet soda,” said Pase. About 4,000 Framingham residents aged 30 or older were monitored for this study.</p> <p>It was found that those who drank sugary drinks showed faster brain ageing and poorer memory function. <span><a href="http://stroke.ahajournals.org/content/48/5/1139">The conclusion to this study</a></span> was that "artificially sweetened soft drink consumption was associated with a high risk of stroke and dementia." The artificial sweeteners used in the study were saccharin, acesulfame, aspartame, neotame, and sucralose.</p> <p>Aspartame is considered by some to be the most dangerous substance on the market that is added to foods and drinks. It accounts for more than 75 per cent of the adverse reactions reported to the US FDA, yet the additive is still widely permitted and no warning labelling is required.</p> <p>The range of symptoms and ailments attributed to aspartame in a 1994 Department of Health &amp; Human Services Report  include headaches, migraines, memory loss, dizziness, seizures, numbness, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, tachycardia, insomnia, vision problems, hearing loss, heart palpitations, breathing difficulties, slurred speech, tinnitus, vertigo and joint pain.</p> <p>Aspartame is an excitotoxin, and excessive exposure can cause damage to your brain cells. It is important to be aware when food shopping that you look at the ingredients list on the packaged foods and drinks. Look out for (950) or (951) - these are the number codes for aspartame, so avoid purchasing anything with those numbers.</p> <p>Start cutting back on the artificially sweetened drinks, with a view of eliminating them completely from your diet to protect your heart and brain health.</p> <p><em><a href="https://www.smartbrainhealthcentre.com.au/">Louise Hallinan</a> is the international award-winning author of </em>Smart Brain, Healthy Brain<em>, a natural medicine practitioner and founder of the Smart Brain Health Centre which specialises in the prevention of memory problems and improving brain health.</em></p>

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Can you prevent dementia?

<p>Dementia. It’s fair to say that it’s something we all dread – either because we worry we’ll develop it, or we’re concerned about an ageing parent or family member. But what are the facts and the myths? Are there things you can do to reduce your risk? Experts say yes.</p> <p>The good news is, there’s a relatively low risk of dementia in your 50s, said Professor Graham Stokes, director of dementia care at BUPA and a specialist with over 30 years’ experience in the area.</p> <p>“There are around 7 per cent of people living with dementia under the age of 65,” he explained. “The earliest signs of it include exaggerated forgetfulness, poor concentration, anxiety and withdrawal, errors of judgement and word finding difficulties.</p> <p>“That said, there are a lot of widely believed myths about dementia. These include that it’s the inevitable consequence of living into advanced old age, that it’s the result of ageing and not brain disease – and that dementia only affects old people. Dementia is a condition that is not caused by ageing, however, old age is a risk factor of dementia. Many people can live well into old age without developing dementia.”</p> <p><strong>What can we do to reduce our risk?<br /></strong>One of the biggest mistakes people make is thinking that we can’t do anything about age-related brain damage or degeneration, said Professor Stokes. “For example, the risk that having an unhealthy heart can have a knock-on effect to the brain is not commonly known, nor is the fact that the risks are apparent in middle age,” he explained. “We now know that making positive lifestyle choices can reduce our dementia risk. It’s never too late to start looking after your heart and diet, and increasing exercise as well as quitting smoking.”</p> <p><strong>How can you ‘exercise’ your brain?<br /></strong>It’s true that your brain needs a workout as much as your body does, but there are lots of free ways to give your grey matter a work-out. “It doesn’t have to be brain-training exercises or game playing,” said Professor Stokes. “Instead, living an intellectually stimulating lifestyle – listening to radio and music, using one’s imagination, having conversations and going sightseeing – can be just as useful. It’s also important to remain socially engaged. We should exercise our brains regularly and often; it should be a feature of daily life.”</p> <p>That’s not to say you shouldn’t do crosswords (especially if you love them) or challenge your brain with Sudoku or special exercises.<span> </span><span><em>Keep Your Brain Stronger For Longer</em> by Tonia Vojtkofsky</span><span> </span>is a fantastic, fun book jam-packed with cognitive challenges and all you need is a pen (and your noggin!). The author recommended three hours a week of cognitive exercise.</p> <p>“Research has shown the benefits of keeping cognitive abilities strong,” wrote Vojtkofsky, a specialist in mild cognitive impairment (MCI). “Those who’ve challenged their brains throughout their life have a lower risk of developing dementia, and those who have MCI – a large risk factor for dementia – and exercise their brains can keep their cognitive abilities stronger for longer.”</p> <p><strong>The power of language and a stronger brain<br /></strong>Vojtkofsky included many language exercises in her book too, and for good reason. “Language is an ability that tends to stay relatively strong and while exercising it, we can also aid broader cognitive functions. You know that ‘tip of the tongue’ phenomenon when you can’t think of words as quickly as before? These many language exercises will help you strengthen those neural networks and potentially increase word retrieval speed.”</p> <p>How about languages? Research shows that people who are bilingual generally have better memories and cognitive function – and there are Canadian studies that suggest dementia develops later for people with a second language. Even better, research out of Edinburgh found that learning a language benefits the brain no matter how old you are when you do it – so there’s no time like the present to start looking up a local language course!</p> <p><strong>What can you do if you’re seeing signs of dementia?<br /></strong>First up: don’t worry too much. A little short-term memory loss often isn’t cause for alarm as we get older – in fact, studies show it can be caused by stress, anxiety, depression or even vitamin B deficiency. That said, it’s also important to consult your GP and get checked out.</p> <p>“He or she can exclude treatable conditions and provide reassurance,” said Professor Stokes. “And, if necessary, refer you for a specialist assessment and possibly prescribing anti-dementia medicines that can slow down symptom progression for a year or two.”</p> <p>There’s a greater commitment now to the development of dementia-inclusive communities, protecting the rights of people with dementia and looking at digital innovation to help people with dementia live supported lives in their own homes for longer, he added. “Additionally, a focus on supportive care for people living with dementia, and their families, to enhance communication and meaningful engagement can promote a sense of wellbeing for those affected by it.”<br /><br />Has dementia affected your family? Share your stories below.</p> <p><em>Written by <span>Rachel Smith</span>. Republished with permission of <span><a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/health/wellbeing/can-you-prevent-dementia.aspx">Wyza.com.au</a></span>.</em></p>

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Here's what clutter does to your brain and body

<p>Many of us have started the year determined to be more organised: no more drawers full of plastic containers with missing lids, or lone socks.</p> <p>The decluttering craze is led by Japanese tidying aficionado Marie Kondo, author of a New York Times bestseller and Netflix show “Tidying Up”.</p> <p>Charity groups such as St Vincent de Paul are reporting a <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/marie-kondo-creates-boom-for-op-shoppers-but-bad-news-for-oceans-20190119-p50scu.html">38% increase in donations</a>, year on year, as we get rid of the clothes, books and household items that don’t “spark joy” or have a place in our future.</p> <p>And there is good reason to get on board, whether it’s via the KonMari method, or just having a good clear-out. Clutter can affect our anxiety levels, sleep, and ability to focus.</p> <p>It can also make us less productive, <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2711870">triggering coping and avoidance strategies</a> that make us more likely to snack on junk and watch TV shows (including ones about other people decluttering their lives).</p> <p>My own <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360132318307157">research</a> shows our physical environments significantly influence our cognition, emotions and subsequent behaviours, including our relationships with others.</p> <p><strong>Why clutter is bad for your brain</strong></p> <p>Bursting cupboards and piles of paper stacked around the house may seem harmless enough. But <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21228167">research</a> shows disorganisation and clutter have a cumulative effect on our brains.</p> <p>Our brains like order, and constant visual reminders of disorganisation drain our cognitive resources, reducing our ability to focus.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2016/02/17/1523471113">visual distraction</a> of clutter increases cognitive overload and can reduce our working memory.</p> <p>In 2011, neuroscience researchers using fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) and other physiological measurements <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21228167">found</a> clearing clutter from the home and work environment resulted in a better ability to focus and process information, as well as increased productivity.</p> <p><strong>And your physical and mental health</strong></p> <p>Clutter can make us feel stressed, anxious and depressed. <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0146167209352864">Research</a> from the United States in 2009, for instance, found the levels of the <a href="https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ConditionsAndTreatments/Hormones-cortisol-and-corticosteroids">stress hormone cortisol</a> were higher in mothers whose home environment was cluttered.</p> <p>A chronically cluttered home environment can <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK278995/">lead</a> to a constant low-grade fight or flight response, taxing our resources designed for survival.</p> <p>This response can trigger physical and psychological changes that <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK278995/">affect</a> how we fight bugs and digest food, as well as leaving us at greater risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.</p> <p>Clutter might also have implications for our relationships with those around us. A <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4819543/">2016 US study</a>, for instance, found background clutter resulted in participants being less able to correctly interpret the emotional expressions on the faces of characters in a movie.</p> <p>And surprisingly, it doesn’t go away when we finally get to bed. People who sleep in cluttered rooms are <a href="https://www.stlawu.edu/news/student-faculty-sleep-research-published-presented">more likely</a> to have sleep problems, including difficulty falling asleep and being disturbed during the night.</p> <p><strong>Could clutter really make us fat?</strong></p> <p>Multiple studies have found a link between clutter and poor eating choices.</p> <p>Disorganised and messy environments led participants in one <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2711870">study</a> to eat more snacks, eating twice as many cookies than participants in an organised kitchen environment.</p> <p>Other <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0956797613480186">research</a> has shown that being in a messy room will make you twice as likely to eat a chocolate bar than an apple.</p> <p>Finally, people with <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25440599">extremely cluttered homes</a> are 77% more likely to be overweight.</p> <p>Tidy homes have been found to be a predictor of physical health. Participants whose houses were cleaner were more active and had better physical health, according to another <a href="http://newsinfo.iu.edu/web/page/normal/14627.html">study</a>.</p> <p><strong>Hoarding can cause physical pain</strong></p> <p>Buying more and more things we think we need, and then not getting rid of them, is an actual disorder in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V). According to <a href="https://www.elementsbehavioralhealth.com/mental-health/dsm-v-hoarding-new-mental-disorder-diagnoses/">DSM-V</a>, those with hoarding disorder compulsively acquire possessions on an ongoing basis and experience anxiety and mental anguish when they are thrown away.</p> <p>A Yale <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3506167/">study</a> using fMRI showed that for people who have hoarding tendencies, discarding items can cause actual pain in regions of the brain associated with physical pain. Areas of the brain were activated that are also responsible for the pain you feel when slamming a finger in a door or burning your hand on the stove.</p> <p>People who suspect they have hoarding disorder can take heart: cognitive behavioural therapy has been <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25639467">shown</a> to be an effective treatment.</p> <p><strong>Tidy house, happy life?</strong></p> <p>Participants in Marie Kondo’s Netflix show Tidying Up report that her decluttering method changes their lives for the better. Indeed, her first book was called “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up”.</p> <p><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0272494416300159">Research</a> does indeed show cluttered home environments negatively influence the perception of our homes, and ultimately our satisfaction of life. The study authors note the strong effect is because we define “home” not just as a place to live, but as:</p> <blockquote> <p>the broader constellation of experiences, meanings, and situations that shape and are actively shaped by a person in the creation of his or her lifeworld.</p> </blockquote> <p>But it seems clutter isn’t always bad. One <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0956797613480186">study</a> showed messy desks can make us more creative. The findings suggested neat, ordered environments make us more likely to conform to expectations and play it safe, while messy ones move us to break with the norm and look at things in a new way.</p> <p><em>Written by <span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/libby-sander-143232">Libby Sander</a>, Assistant Professor of Organisational Behaviour, Bond Business School, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/bond-university-863">Bond University</a></span>. Republished with permission of <span><a href="https://theconversation.com/time-for-a-kondo-clean-out-heres-what-clutter-does-to-your-brain-and-body-109947">The Conversation</a></span>.</em><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/libby-sander-143232"></a></span></p>

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“You haven’t upset anyone”: Daughter’s beautiful note to elderly mother with dementia

<p>A daughter’s “words of reassurance” to her mother, who is suffering from dementia, has gone viral on the Internet. The note, posted on social media platform Reddit, has sparked discussions on caring for people with the condition.</p> <p>When an elderly lady kept making anxious phone calls, her daughter decided to leave a message of reminders that she could see anytime.</p> <p>“A simple white board left in her sight line in her sitting room,” the caption on the Reddit post said. “Helped to reduce constant anxious phone calls.”</p> <p>Some of the reminders on the board included “your meals are paid for”, “you don’t owe anyone any money”, and “you haven’t upset anyone”.</p> <p> </p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 336.102px; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/media/7823074/dementia-1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/892c5323cc43440f8cd525b22c56cd21" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>The <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/akbxho/words_of_reassurance_left_for_an_elderly_lady/​">whiteboard note with the message</a>. Credit: u/<a href="https://www.reddit.com/user/Lowcrbnaman" class="_2tbHP6ZydRpjI44J3syuqC s1461iz-1 gWXVVu">Lowcrbnaman</a></em></p> <p>The post has gone viral, with more than 111,000 upvotes on the platform.</p> <p>Family members and caregivers have chimed in with their stories of tending to people with the condition.</p> <p>“I work and train in a hospital, and a lot of my patients have dementia. I constantly have to reassure people who will refuse to take their meals from us because they “don’t have any money” or “have no way to pay you back,” one user wrote.</p> <p>“I think how anxious I would be if somebody was giving me food for seemingly no reason and I knew I didn’t have any way to pay them. I’d be a wreck.”</p> <p>Some vouched for the idea of placing notes and reminders where sufferers can see them.</p> <p>“My grandmother with dementia recently moved in with my mom and she has found that this is a pretty effective method to stop the phone calls,” another user shared.</p> <p>“She constantly worries that the dog hasn't been fed and so many other little things that you can't predict what to write on the board for her. I just wrote that I loved her and put my cellphone number on that and let her call me when she's anxious about something.”</p> <p>According to Alzheimers NZ, there are more than 62,000 people currently living with the condition in New Zealand.</p> <p>Carers and family members seeking help and support can contact <span>Healthline on 0800 611 116.</span></p>

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Prince William chokes up as he reveals “very difficult” moment related to his children

<p>Prince William has opened up about his personal struggle with mental health, referring to one particular experience as one he thought he would never “ever get over”.</p> <p>The Duke of Cambridge revealed that during a certain tumultuous period in his life, it was the help of his colleagues who he reached out to that made him lift his spirits.</p> <p>He says that if he had not shared his problems to those that care about him, he would have “gone down a slippery slope” mentally.</p> <p>While the 36-year-old did not share details, he said it was “very difficult to talk about” because it was “related very closely to my children” – Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.</p> <p>But despite not giving away the nature of the incident, the father-of-three was referencing his time as a search and rescue pilot for the air ambulance, a responsibility he walked away from in 2017 in order to give attention to his royal duties.</p> <p>William has previously touched upon the trauma he witnessed during the intense job, many incidents which involved children.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en-gb"> <p dir="ltr">"I still find it very difficult to talk about it." — The Duke of Cambridge on the importance of talking <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MentalHealth?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#MentalHealth</a>, and his own experience working as an Air Ambulance Pilot <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WEF19?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WEF19</a> <a href="https://t.co/2nimIAqwiQ">pic.twitter.com/2nimIAqwiQ</a></p> — Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) <a href="https://twitter.com/KensingtonRoyal/status/1088145327704735745?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">23 January 2019</a></blockquote> <p>Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the royal said feelings of sadness were “only human”.</p> <p>“Yes, you put a suit of armour on … but one day something comes along closely related to your own personal life and it really takes you over the line.”</p> <p>The Duke was accompanied by Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, a country which has a predominantly high suicide rate.</p> <p>She commended him for his openness towards the issue of mental health, saying his words will help break the stigma surrounding the illness.</p> <p>Ms Ardern said that her government has mental illness in the top list of priorities, as the disorder doesn’t discriminate.</p> <p>“I have lost friends, and I wouldn’t have to look far in my cabinet to find other people who have too,” Ms Ardern added.</p> <p>“One of the sad facts for New Zealand is that everyone knows someone who has taken their own life.”</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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8 ways to test your stress mindset

<p><strong><em>Susan Krauss Whitbourne is a professor of Psychology and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She writes the Fulfilment at Any Age blog for Psychology Today.</em></strong></p> <p>You’ve got a hugely pressured day ahead of you, with errands you’ve absolutely got to run along with getting ready for your partner’s upcoming birthday party. All of this has to happen on top of the actual work you need to do at your job. Before leaving the house, you decide to check your email in case your boss has tried to get a hold of you. As you start to log in, the Internet goes down. This is going to delay you by at least half an hour while you try to figure out the cause of the snafu.</p> <p>In the midst of this turmoil, you might ask yourself how you’re feeling. Is it possible that you actually <em>enjoy</em> all of this stress? Might you really thrive on pressure? It’s automatically assumed that the kind of hassles involved in these daily pressures and mishaps are harmful and cause wear and tear on your mind and body. However, for some people, stress is the fuel that keeps them going, and without it, they are miserable.</p> <p>The concept of a “stress mindset” helps to explain these alternative ways of approaching life’s pressures. Tel Aviv University’s Nili Ben-Avi and colleagues (2018) recently investigated the stress mindset, which they define as “the extent to which individuals hold the mindset that stress has enhancing versus debilitating consequences." Since it’s impossible to avoid stress, it would seem more adaptive to take the stress-as-enhancing mindset, unless of course your life is extremely boring and uneventful. It seems safe to assume that most people are in fact under more rather than less pressure, and therefore the stress-as-enhancing mindset would seem to be the better approach if your goal is to be able to overcome the left curves that life can send your way.</p> <p>The Israeli researchers took the unique approach of asking people not to rate their own stress mindset and then observe their levels of negative outcomes, but to use ratings of stress mindset as predictors of outcomes among other individuals. The idea behind the study was that your stress mindset will affect how much strain and unhappiness someone else is experiencing. Consider, for example, whether you think stress is debilitating. You would then think your partner shares your views about stress and would, therefore, be as unhappy as you would be under that same stress level.</p> <p>To measure your own stress mindset, rate yourself from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree) on the following eight stress mindset items:</p> <ol> <li>The effects of stress are negative and should be avoided.</li> <li>Experiencing stress facilitates my learning and growth.</li> <li>Experiencing stress depletes my <span>health </span>and vitality.</li> <li>Experiencing stress enhances my performance and productivity.</li> <li>Experiencing stress inhibits my learning and growth.</li> <li>Experiencing stress improves my health and vitality.</li> <li>Experiencing stress debilitates my performance and productivity.</li> <li>The effects of stress are positive and should be utilized.</li> </ol> <ul> <li><em>A stress-enhancing mindset is indicated by your agreement with items 2, 4, 6, and 8.</em></li> <li><em>If you agree with items 1,3,5, and 7, you hold a stress-debilitating mindset.</em></li> </ul> <p>The average participant in the Ben-Avi et al. study received an average at about the middle of the 7-item scale (3.22 per item), and most people scored just between about 2 and 4. If you have a stress-enhancing mindset, you should, therefore, score at 4 or above per item on the even-numbered items, and 2 or below on the odd-numbered items.  </p> <p>Participants also rated their levels of optimism and their mood. To measure optimism, the Tel Aviv University researchers used a standard optimism scale containing the following items:</p> <ol> <li>In uncertain times, I usually expect the best.</li> <li>I'm always optimistic<strong> </strong>about my future.</li> <li>Overall, I expect more good things to happen to me than bad.</li> </ol> <p>The mood scale simply asked participants to rate their levels of happiness on a straightforward 9-point rating scale.</p> <p>Turning now to the outcome of having a stress-enhancing mindset, the findings clearly support the idea that your life will be better if you can put a positive spin on having a life that’s full of pressure. Although mood wasn’t related to stress mindset, optimism levels did show a positive correlation, with people who have more of a “can-do” spirit enjoying a life full of constant demands.</p> <p>As it turns out, your stress mindset levels also predict the way you judge other people. The Israeli team asked participants to judge the levels of stress experienced by a male employee (“Ben”) described in a scenario as experiencing a great deal of work-related stress, such as being in a managerial position, working long hours, and having to multi-task. Participants did perceive this male employee as being highly stressed, but people who held a stress-as-enhancing mindset saw him as having a lower workload than did people who believed that stress is debilitating. Furthermore, the more participants believed that stress is enhancing, the lower they rated Ben on the burnout scale.</p> <p>Thus, having a stress-as-enhancing mindset affects the amount of stress you perceive other people to have. If you think stress is enhancing, you will project this attitude onto the way you perceive other people. These findings suggest that, unfortunately, if you and your partner have a stress-mindset mismatch, you’ll be less understanding toward your partner.</p> <p>Turning then to the ways that you can use stress to your advantage, look again at those 8 items on the stress mindset scale. If you’ve scored on the “agree” side of those odd-numbered items, maybe it’s time to see where your ideas about stress come from in the first place. Ben-Avi and her collaborators note that the mass media tends to emphasise the harmful and debilitative effects of stress over and beyond any of its benefits. It is true that unabated chronic stress has a negative impact on health and can even shorten your life; however, because stress is also a subjective state, if you could somehow be convinced to turn around your views of stress, you might not be quite so damaged by its presence in your life. People can, the Israeli researchers note, be helped to change their mindset, and in turn, their health and work performance can benefit.</p> <p>To sum up, assuming that all stress is bad can create its own self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead, see stress as the product of your own perceptions, and you may well be on your way to a more positive outlook on life.</p> <p><em>Written by Susan Krauss Whitbourne. Republished with permission of <span><a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/health/wellbeing/8-ways-to-test-your-stress-mindset.aspx">Wyza.com.au</a></span>. </em></p>

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Mind games: How to silence your inner critic

<p>We all have an ‘inner critic’ who second-guesses our choices, and lobs insults about our perceived shortcomings.<br /><br />The good news is the more we recognise this internal enemy, the easier it will be to shut him or her up, so we can be our best selves.<br /><br />To become more aware of your negative thoughts or critical inner voice, follow these steps.</p> <div id="section"></div> <div class="view view-article-slider view-id-article_slider view-display-id-article_slider_block view-dom-id-5df8456ff79250452678b5618a27cad2"> <div class="view-content"> <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>Pay attention next time a bad mood hits</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>Ask yourself what you were thinking about yourself at the time your mood shifted. </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>Recognise situations that set off your negative thinking</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>Such as a phone call from your dad or a friend sharing good news.</p> <p>Become aware that you have turned against yourself.</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>Notice the occasions when your mind takes over</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>Pay attention to when you are thinking people don’t like you and examine the thoughts you imagine they’re having about you.</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>Be alert to any cynical thoughts towards other people</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>They may be valuable clues as to how you attack yourself.</p> <p>Once you become aware of these specific thoughts, consider what prompted them in the first place.</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>Think about what or whom these voices sound like</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>To understand where your negative thoughts come from.</p> <p>People tend to find important connections between their voice and someone significant from their past.</p> <p>Once you have done this, you can begin to identify where your voice started and separate it from your own point of view.</p> <p>The next step is to change your thoughts with the following actions.</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>Challenge your critical inner voice</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 most important step to silencing it is to respond to it from a realistic and compassionate perspective. Say aloud or write down a more congenial, honest response to each of your put downs. </p> <p>Use 'I' statements.</p> <p>“I am a worthy person with many good qualities and have a lot to offer."</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>Connect your voice to your actions</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>Your critical inner voice has plenty of bad advice.</p> <p>"Don't say anything. No-one wants to ear what you have to say."</p> <p>As you learn to recognise your critical inner voice, you can start to catch on when it's starting to influence your behaviour. </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>Change your behaviour</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>Once you see how the critical inner voice influences your behaviour, start to consciously act against it.</p> <p>The process of ‘not listening’ to your inner critic and strengthening your own point of view can be uplifting, but it can also cause anxiety.</p> <p>The more you oppose the voice, the weaker it will become.</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>Reflect on your negative thoughts</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>Determine if there is any truth to them. It's important to recognise that even though there may be a kernel of truth to them.</p> <p>It's important to recognise that even though there may be a kernel of truth in a specific critical voice , nothing can be gained by attacking yourself.</p> <p>This not only fails to change a behaviour you may dislike in yourself, it also makes you feel bad, which increases the likelihood that the behaviour will recur.</p> <p>The best strategy is to take an objective and compassionate look at any negative behaviour or traits you have and work at changing them.</p> <p>To a large extent, you have the power to re-create yourself to become a person you like and admire. </p> <p>There is always anxiety as people grow, but it is worthwhile to struggle through it to come out the other end.</p> <p><em>Written by <span>Dr Robert W. Firestone</span>. This article first appeared in </em><span><em><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/conditions/mental-health/mind-games-how-silence-your-inner-critic">Reader’s Digest</a></em></span><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><span><em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN87V">here’s our best subscription offer.</a></em></span></p> </div> </div> </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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Why is so little being done about road rage?

<p>Our car is heading into the city when a woman dashes across the intersection while the pedestrian light is red. The driver directly behind us leans on his horn. “That wasn’t a honk to say ‘I’m here,’” says former police driving instructor Richard Gladman. “That was a rebuke.”<br /><br />A driver’s impulse to honk at an errant pedestrian is to assert they are ‘right’, explains Gladman. It is an example of the type of low-level frustration that can – and does – escalate into full-blown road rage. And it’s happening every day on our overburdened roads and highways.<br /><br />Road rage is increasingly common, with more than 70 per cent of drivers in Australia and 20 per cent in New Zealand having experienced road rage in the past year. According to a survey by the NRMA (National Roads and Motorists’ Association), almost one in five drivers admitted to committing road rage, and 22 per cent of these incidents happened with children under the age of 15 in the car.<br /><br />The most common form of abuse for the ‘average person’? Leaning on the horn came in top at 75 per cent, followed by abusive ‘hand gestures’ at 44 per cent and mouthing abuse at 31 per cent. Disturbingly, after ­being a victim of road rage, more than 40 per cent of respondents reported ­losing confidence while driving.</p> <div class="view view-article-slider view-id-article_slider view-display-id-article_slider_block view-dom-id-f408992283afb58f40291d039bd69404"> <div class="view-content"> <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>Most annoying behaviour on the roads</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>Last November, New Zealand AA asked its members to rank the most annoying behaviour on the roads – and running a red light topped the list. Other road-rage-inducing behaviour included drivers in the slow lane speeding up at the overtaking lane, tailgating, driving while using phones, not indicating, driving slowly and lane weaving. But our list of irritations didn’t just appear in recent years.</p> <p>Driver anger has a long history. British magazine<span> </span><em>The Oldie</em><span> </span>unearthed a case of ‘carriage rage’ dating back to 1817. It was an early indication that we humans can have trouble handling frustrations on our way from point A to point B. But the current term was coined in the late 1980s when news anchors in the US reported a grisly spate of freeway shootings.</p> <p>Today, with an ever-increasing number of cars on the road, more and more motorists find themselves trapped in traffic and at the mercy of another’s anger – or their own.</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 worst offenders</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 2017 Australian study of almost 3000 drivers by the Monash University Accident Research Centre revealed the majority of people admitted to some form of aggressive driving. The worst offenders were male drivers aged between 22 and 39. More than a third of these admitted to extreme road rage and said they had driven after another driver at least once while angry.</p> <p>While several studies have shown male drivers are more likely to ­commit road violence, women tend to feel angrier behind the wheel.</p> <p>Most shockingly, 96 per cent of drivers who had been involved in a car crash reported they had experienced aggressive behaviour on the roads. Perhaps not surprisingly, the study also found overly aggressive drivers were much more likely to make bad choices, such as driving and holding a mobile phone, speeding and also drink-driving.</p> <p>Even when it doesn’t lead to violence, road rage has become more than just a strange quirk of driving behaviour, say advocates for road safety. It is a symptom of a self-­focused worldview, and because people feel anonymous in their cars, they feel they can be rude or worse – and not be held to account for their behaviour.</p> <p>Louis Bez, 34, says he often sees drivers shouting when trapped in traffic in the clogged-up city streets where he lives. The atmosphere sours, and words or gestures are exchanged. There was a moment when he realised he was doing just the same. “It’s in the privacy of my car, but still I swear out loud,” he ­admits. The protection of his car gives Bez the license he needs to vent when he wouldn’t do it otherwise.</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>Can it be prevented?</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>Dr Bridie Scott-Parker studies road rage and leads the Adolescent Risk Research Unit at the University of the Sunshine Coast. “As roads become busier and we experience more congestion, it’s only natural we have an increase in driver anger and driver aggression,” she says. “However, this is something we can – in many ­instances – prevent.”</p> <p>Merging lanes, in particular, can evoke strong anger in drivers. Going online to the local licensing authority to check the road rules will help you avoid making mistakes and attracting road rage from other drivers.</p> <p>“By travelling inside a vehicle we are affectively inside an insulated bubble,” says Dr Scott-Parker. “This isolation means we sometimes engage in behaviour that we wouldn’t normally engage in, say if we were in a queue in a supermarket standing right next to this person.” The feeling of being safe and protected by the shell of your vehicle can be a dangerous illusion.</p> <p>Road rage occurs when we feel that someone is getting in the way, with drivers generally placing the blame on others, not themselves. “Most venting is negative, and that’s the problem,” says Stan Steindl, adjunct associate professor in psychology at The University of Queensland. When a driver feels insulted or threatened, the brain’s fight-or-flight threat response system is triggered. “One aspect of the fight-or-flight response is anger.”</p> <p>The impulsiveness behind explosive road rage is usually prompted by an event that the offenders – often well-adjusted people with family, job, friends – view as a personal ­attack, says traffic psychologist Ludo Kluppels.</p> <p>Dr Scott-Parker adds it is important to remember good car karma. She says, “I’ve heard drivers of all ages say that if they let someone in and get a little ‘thank-you’ wave, that feeling of warmth, positivity and community engagement stays with them for the rest of the day.”</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>Who is capable of road rage?</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>Unfortunately, it seems most of us are capable of road rage if pushed enough on the right day. David Simpson, 49, is normally a quiet, well-behaved dad, but his inner-Hulk explodes when he gets behind the wheel of a car. Last year, as he was driving his 13-year-old son to a Saturday morning soccer game, he approached a busy intersection in an inner-city Sydney suburb.</p> <p>A late model European sedan was double-parked outside the local shops and was blocking traffic. A real estate agent was taking liberties with parking restrictions. With his son in the front passenger seat, David began shouting abuse and profanities at the man who had dared to slow down their journey. His son still talks about the incident – and the profanities.</p> <p>One evening in 2015 a motorcyclist threatened Martin Kracheel and his friend as they were driving to play pool. When they drew too close to the motorbike in front, the rider slowed down and gestured to them to pull over. The biker walked over to their car, swearing and demanding they get out. “He wanted to punch us,” says the 33 year old. “It was tense.” Martin knew they had to do something to diffuse the situation – and quickly.</p> <p>“We apologised, and he accepted the apology,” Martin says. It was a near miss. Drivers who get out of the car to make threats – and worse –  are at the extreme end of the spectrum.</p> <p>When anger is unleashed, it paves the way to a ‘tragic list’ of possible ugly outcomes we all need to be aware of, says traffic psychologist and educator Leon James.</p> <p>Dave Crawford, 42, is a mild-mannered single dad – though not always. One morning two years ago, he was driving along a highway with his seven-year-old son in the car. They were heading out for a day of trailbike riding and were towing a trailer carrying two bikes. “There were no other cars on the road and we were moving at around 100km/h, when we passed a pack of cyclists,” he says. Without warning, the leader of the pack pulled out into Crawford’s lane to let the pack pass. Crawford had to brake hard, swerve and drive defensively to avoid hitting the man.</p> <p>He managed to avoid hitting the cyclists but his car and trailer ended up facing the wrong way on the highway. Despite everyone being safe, Crawford was livid.</p> <p>“I experienced a mix of rage and terror,” he says. “I checked my son was safe, then got out and marched through the pack of now stationary cyclists and found the reckless rider, an older man. “I heard someone apologise but I was seeing red,” he says. “I abused him until I felt better.”</p> <p>Kirstie Robb, 38, was on the other side of the road-rage experience when she was driving her three kids home from school and the car in front of her stopped suddenly. The teaching assistant slammed on the brake, flinging her arm out to protect her 16-year-old son sitting next to her in the front seat.</p> <p>Shaken, she pulled over to the side of the road when the other car did, and got out to see what the problem was. She could hear the other driver swearing at her angrily in his car and accusing her of not keeping a safe distance. The man, still sitting in his car, sliced his hand towards her face threateningly and continued to yell at her.</p> <p>She told him to calm down, before offering him some unfriendly advice of her own. “Then before I could do anything he picked up an aerosol can and sprayed me in the face with red paint,” says Kristie. “When I opened my eyes, all I could see was red. I couldn’t breathe for a few seconds. I could hear my children screaming.”</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>Why is so little being done about it?</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>There remains an astonishing lack of research and government attention to road rage, which is surprising given the magnitude of the problem. “Road rage has only been studied in the United States, Australia and Belgium,” says Kluppels.</p> <p>In Australia, road rage is officially an unacknowledged killer. In NSW a motorist received a 25-year jail sentence in 2010 after murdering a pedestrian with their car.</p> <p>Despite incidents like this, most countries, including Australia and New Zealand, do not have a dedicated offence called ‘road rage’: official statistics aren’t collected and – worst of all – little is being done to prevent it.</p> <p>However, in Singapore, road rage is a criminal offence and ranges from verbal exchanges between drivers to driver assaults as a result of a traffic dispute.</p> <p>Aloysuis Fong, founder of the website<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="http://roads.sg/" target="_blank" title="" data-original-title="">ROADS.sg</a>, created an interactive platform so anyone on the road can upload a witness report or video to shame bad driver behaviour and encourage everyone to be safer on the roads, including cutting back on road rage.</p> <p>“Laws here are strict with regards to road rage,” says Fong. “If you get out of your car in an aggressive manner, curse, give a rude gesture or kick the car you can be held accountable to the police. Once a physical fight happens then you’ll be charged.”</p> <p>Technology is potentially helping to catch offenders as car-cam owners are able to submit videos to ROADS.sg for the traffic police to investigate. It has already shown a 32.5 per cent increase in red-light running violations by the Singapore Police, so erring on the side of caution on the road is key.</p> <p>“Police advise drivers to stay calm, not to make eye or verbal contact,” he says. “Keep in your lane and stay in your car. If the road rage continues then park the car in a safe zone and call the police for help.”</p> <p>In 1990, Belgium – which had one of the worst road-safety records in Europe at the time – introduced anti-road-rage billboards for a public education campaigns to combat the problem.</p> <p>Eight years later, judges still found themselves faced with an unprecedented wave of road-rage cases, including as-sault and battery. In Antwerp this made up eight per cent of the total assaults in the city. Since then, new programs – including seeing a psychologist who talks offenders through their actions and offers alternative ways to deal with frustration – are thought to have helped reduce Belgium’s road traffic deaths. Between 1990 to 2014, for example, road traffic deaths were reduced by a whopping 72 per cent. Although it is difficult to say exactly how much of this improvement is due to a decline in road rage, it is believed to have helped.</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>Back seat road ragers</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>Driver aggression is being reinforced by popular culture: Portrayals of aggressive driving are shown in a fun context, such as car chases in the movies and in children’s video games. And the young learn it from their parents. “The back seat of the car is road rage nursery,” says Leon James.</p> <p>“Children start their first driving instruction in the car with parents who drive aggressively and talk badly about other drivers.”</p> <p>James says that the key to countries’ dealing with road rage is the introduction of graduated licences, with several licensing phases: learner’s permit, intermediate or provisional license, and then full licence. It would increase the number of supervised hours a pupil spends behind the wheel before being ‘signed off’ as a qualified driver. The outcome? Learning respect and obedience for the rules and, more importantly, being introduced to the concept of ‘lifelong learning’ in driving.</p> <p>Since 2009, it has been mandatory that Swedes working towards getting a driver’s license attend a risk awareness course and at least three hours of tuition with a government-approved instructor. Even earlier, since 2006, the Swedish driving test syllabus included topics such as impulse control and understanding motives. Once qualified, drivers are on probation for two years.</p> <p>Karin Michaelsson, investigator for driver licensing, says the Swedish Transport Agency shifted its focus from driving skills and car mechanics to “who you are as a person and how you behave in traffic, because who you are will impact how you drive”.</p> <p>Every driver must be responsible for starving the ‘cycle of conflict’, he says. Road rage starts with one driver and escalates from there.</p> <p>Kirstie Robb suffered no lasting physical damage from the spray paint attack, but she and her family were traumatised. Her youngest son had nightmares, while her eldest felt guilty at being unable to protect his mother. “It was a very upsetting experience – and an unnecessary one,” says Kirstie.</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>Golden rules for managing road rage</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>Rule 1:<span> </span><strong>Never get out of your car</strong><span> </span>and do not engage in a conversation or respond to rude hand gestures.</li> <li>Rule 2:<span> </span><strong>Do not make eye contact.</strong><span> </span>Maintain your attention on the road in front of you, even if you are stopped at traffic lights, and lock all your doors and close your windows.</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>Common driving behaviour that incites road rage</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"> <ol> <li>People who slam on the brakes unnecessarily</li> <li>People who merge without indicating</li> <li>Drivers who don’t keep a constant speed</li> <li>People who drive under the speed limit</li> <li>Those who don’t allow others to merge</li> <li>Drivers who cut other drivers off</li> <li>People who text and drive</li> <li>Drivers who use the right-hand lane incorrectly<span> </span><em>(Source: NRMA)</em></li> </ol> <p><em>Written by <span>Eleanor Rose and Kathy Buchanan</span>. This article first appeared in </em><span><em><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/road-rage">Reader’s Digest</a></em></span><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><span><em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN87V">here’s our best subscription offer.</a></em></span></p> </div> </div> </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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51 everyday habits that reduce your risk of dementia

<p>Think ahead for your head.</p> <div id="section"></div> <div class="view view-article-slider view-id-article_slider view-display-id-article_slider_block view-dom-id-511aedb2ee514c7c96010496b05e6267"> <div class="view-content"> <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. More and more research shows that lifestyle matters</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 major report released by the <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.thelancet.com/commissions/dementia2017" target="_blank" title="" data-original-title="">Lancet International Commission on Dementia Prevention and Care</a> in 2017 concluded that up to 35 percent of dementia cases can be delayed or even avoided altogether.</p> <p>“The main message is that there are modifiable risk factors that can reduce your risk,” says Maria C. Carrillo, PhD, the chief science officer for the <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.alz.org/help-support/brain_health" target="_blank" title="" data-original-title="">Alzheimer’s Association</a>.</p> <p>While you can’t change the genes you inherited, there are many probable risk factors that you do have some say over.</p> <p>Living with or supporting someone with dementia is not easy. Laughter and love will get you through.</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. Keep learning throughout your life</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>Researchers say that when they look at brains during autopsies, they often see signs of damage (either plaque associated with Alzheimer’s disease or trouble with blood supply) even when the patient did not suffer from dementia.</p> <p>Because of that, they theorize that these people have “cognitive reserve”—meaning their brains have enough extra capacity to stay sharp despite physical damage.</p> <p>The Lancet Commission report emphasizes the association between lack of formal schooling and dementia, which suggests that what happens to us early in life can build this reserve: People with higher socioeconomic status during early childhood are less likely to develop dementia, and people who go to school at least through the secondary level are also better off.</p> <p>“This points to the fact that brain health and, really, overall health is a lifelong commitment—it’s even something we should be thinking about with prenatal care,” Carrillo says.</p> <p>But, she adds, that doesn’t mean you can’t continue protecting your cognitive health once you’ve grown up.</p> <p>“There’s not anything you can do about your childhood education, but there is something you can do about making sure that you’re staying mentally active, that you challenge your brain, that you find ways to stay socially active.”</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. Treat hearing loss</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>Although there isn’t proof that hearing loss <em>causes</em> cognitive decline, studies show that those who suffer from it (and there are lots of us—it’s a problem in more than 30 percent of people over age 55) will have higher rates of dementia eventually, according to the Lancet Commission report.</p> <p>“We know that it’s important for people who are experiencing hearing loss to get that checked out and corrected whenever possible because it can contribute to cognitive decline as you age,” Carrillo says.</p> <p>Plus, as baby boomers hit retirement age, hearing aids are improving rapidly—they’re smaller and work better than your grandfather’s did, according to a recent <em><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/hearing-aids-are-finally-entering-the-21st-century/" target="_blank" title="" data-original-title="">Scientific American</a></em> article.</p> <p>Do visitors casually mention that your TV is blaring? Do you keep asking people to repeat themselves?<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/conditions/hearing/improve-your-hearing" target="_blank" title="" data-original-title="">You’re not alone</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. Don’t skimp on sleep</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>Sleeping less than five hours a night—or more than ten—seems to raise your risk of dementia and an early death, according to a 2018 <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180606082309.htm" target="_blank" title="" data-original-title="">report</a> in the <em>Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.</em></p> <p>If you snore a lot or don’t feel rested after a full night’s sleep, you should get tested for sleep apnea, an airway condition in which you stop breathing briefly throughout the night.</p> <p>Treatment can make a big difference in the quality of your sleep.</p> <p>If you suffer from insomnia that lasts longer than a few days or weeks at a time, a sleep specialist might be able to help you figure out how to overcome it. If you just don’t get to bed early enough for a full night’s sleep before your early-morning workout, rethink your priorities for the sake of your brain health. </p> <p>Few things are as coveted as good sleep: studies show that it adds years to your life and, over time,<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/conditions/sleep/how-sleep-better-every-night" target="_blank" title="" data-original-title="">increases happiness as much as winning the lottery</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>5. Keep your blood pressure in check</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’s old news that cardiovascular health is really important for brain health, but preliminary results of a study announced in the summer of 2018 give extra weight to the importance of managing hypertension.</p> <p>Subjects whose blood pressure was kept low—below the systolic (top) number of 120 mmHG—were 15 percent less likely to be diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, which is defined as difficulty with problems solving and memory.</p> <p>“It’s the most definitive study seen to date that maintaining blood pressure at less than 120 for systolic is a positive thing, not only for your heart but also for brain health,” Carrillo says.</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>6. Maintain a healthy weight</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 2017 <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/11/171130133812.htm" target="_blank" title="" data-original-title="">study</a> published in the journal <em>Alzheimer’s &amp; Dementia</em> analyzed medical records of more than one million adults and determined that those with a larger body mass index in middle age were more likely to develop dementia decades later. Maintaining a healthy weight—especially starting in midlife—will help protect the brain. </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>7. Quit smoking</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>Obviously, smoking is incredibly unhealthy, but did you know that it also raises your risk of dementia?</p> <p>Several <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4357455/" target="_blank" title="" data-original-title="">studies</a> over the past three decades have linked cigarette use and mental decline.</p> <p>But there’s good news: When you quit smoking, your risk of dementia from all causes drops to the same level of people who never smoked.</p> <p>“The association with cognitive impairment may be due to the link between smoking and cardiovascular pathology,” the Lancet Commission report states.</p> <p>“But cigarette smoke also contains neurotoxins which heighten the risk.”</p> <p>When you quit smoking and no longer inhale the 4,800 toxic substances found in cigarettes, you experience enormous positive changes in your<span> </span>health, fitness, and risks of heart disease and cancer.</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>8. Treat depression</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 relationship between depression and dementia is a <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/01/does-depression-contribute-to-dementia/" target="_blank" title="" data-original-title="">tricky one</a> - depression can be a symptom of dementia, as well.</p> <p>But studies suggest that there’s a link between the number of episodes of depression a person suffers and his or her dementia risk, the Lancet Commission finds, so you should always seek treatment no matter how old you are.</p> <p>Even if depression only appears after a person is showing signs of dementia, the mood disorder should still be treated, according to the <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.alz.org/help-support/caregiving/stages-behaviors/depression" target="_blank" title="" data-original-title="">Alzheimer’s Association</a>; it will improve the patient’s quality of life. </p> <p>Evidence is growing that essential oils can help fight a variety of ailments -<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/tips/scents-to-boost-your-immune-system" target="_blank" title="" data-original-title="">including depression</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>9. Keep moving</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>Carrillo goes to the gym every day at 5 a.m.</p> <p>“We don’t know what the heck is in store for us,” she says.</p> <p>“The healthier your body and brain can be, the more you may be able to withstand or delay the symptoms of cognitive decline that could lead to mild cognitive impairment, and that could lead to a type of dementia, including Alzheimer’s.”</p> <p>The Lancet Commission reports that high levels of exercise appear to be more protective than lower levels, but any amount is 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>10. Socialise</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>Carrillo’s early-morning gym friends call themselves the “breakfast club.”</p> <p>Aside from motivating one another to exercise, they’re also boosting their brain health by simply being together.</p> <p>Isolation, like depression, often becomes a problem as older adults begin feeling the effects of cognitive decline; however, loneliness also appears to be a <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="http://healthland.time.com/2011/05/02/friends-with-benefits-being-highly-social-cuts-dementia-risk-by-70/" target="_blank" title="" data-original-title="">precursor to dementia</a>.</p> <p>The Lancet Commission findings suggest that social isolation is a risk factor for high blood pressure, depression, and coronary heart disease as well, and all are bad for your brain.</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>11. Control your blood sugar</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>Diabetes can damage your blood vessels, according to the <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alzheimers-disease/in-depth/diabetes-and-alzheimers/art-20046987" target="_blank" title="" data-original-title="">Mayo Clinic</a>, increasing your risk for vascular dementia, triggered by reduced blood flow to the brain.</p> <p>Researchers think there may be more to the connection between diabetes and dementia—the Lancet Commission report indicates that insulin resistance interferes with the brain’s ability to clear amyloid proteins, which clump together to form the plaques that can lead to dementia.</p> <p>It’s important to keep eating healthy food and exercising to avoid getting diabetes in midlife.</p> <p>If you’ve already been diagnosed with diabetes, work closely with your doctors to control your blood sugar and manage the disease.</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>12. Eat a Mediterranean-style diet</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>If the goal is to control your weight, blood pressure, and blood sugar and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease to protect your mind, then the Mediterranean diet is one of the best eating plans you can follow. It’s shown in studies to be one of the easiest healthy-eating diets for subjects to follow, according to the <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/mediterranean-diet/art-20047801" target="_blank" title="" data-original-title="">Mayo Clinic</a>.</p> <p>It includes lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, olive oil, fish, and even wine.</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>13. Wear a helmet</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>Here’s the good news: Your brain can recover from common types of trauma like a concussion, according to the Lancet Commission report.</p> <p>However, repeated mild injuries (such as those experienced by some athletes and soldiers) can lead to <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://concussionfoundation.org/CTE-resources/what-is-CTE" target="_blank" title="" data-original-title="">chronic traumatic encephalopathy</a>—a degenerative brain disease.</p> <p>The benefits of <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/health/ct-latest-bike-helmet-injury-20180628-story.html" target="_blank" title="" data-original-title="">head protection</a> are huge when you’re riding a motorcycle, biking, skateboarding, or skiing; the only downside is a flattened hairstyle.</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>14. Try new things every day</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>While you’re eating lots of vegetables and keeping an eye on your blood pressure, don’t forget that an important part of protecting your cognitive health is enjoying life and taxing your brain in pleasurable ways.</p> <p>Mixing up routines, taking on new challenges, and stepping outside your comfort zone provide stimulation that might help your brain maintain its resilience and build your cognitive reserves. </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>15. Know your risk factors</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>Did you know that eating grilled meat could increase your risk of being struck down by dementia?</p> <p>Or that getting on the treadmill can help keep your brain sharp?</p> <p>The dozens of choices you make over the course of an average day—ordering the curry vs. the samosas, reading the newspaper vs. watching the news—really can determine whether you’ll develop dementia years from now, as well as how quickly the disease will progress.</p> <p>There are no drugs or procedures that can cure or even effectively treat dementia.</p> <p>But you have the power to combat some of its major risk factors, including diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stress, social isolation, and sleeplessness, according to Bowman.</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>16. Enjoy coffee in the morning</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>Caffeine consumed too late in the day may disturb your sleep and ultimately harm your brain.</p> <p>But coffee consumed in the morning and perhaps the early afternoon, depending on your personal caffeine sensitivity, may reduce risk.</p> <p>Coffee contains a chemical called eicosanoyl-5-hydroxytryptamide (EHT), which, in studies done on rats, has been shown to protect against Alzheimer’s disease.</p> <p>The caffeine itself may also be protective: Mice developed fewer <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.brightfocus.org/alzheimers/infographic/amyloid-plaques-and-neurofibrillary-tangles" target="_blank" title="" data-original-title="">tau tangles</a> in their brains when their drinking water was infused with caffeine.</p> <p>In humans, Johns Hopkins researchers have shown that 200 milligrams of caffeine—the amount in one strong cup of coffee—can help us consolidate memories and more easily memorize new information.</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>17. Play for a cause</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>Foldit is a multiplayer game designed by computer scientists at the University of Washington, and it enables nonscientists to work with others to solve challenging prediction problems concerning protein folding.</p> <p>One day this game may help us understand how tau proteins misfold in the brain. Another game, Nanocrafter, allows you to build everything from computer circuits to nanoscale machines using pieces of DNA.</p> <p>Other interactive games—ranging from bridge to Chinese checkers to Pictionary to charades—cause us to exercise social smarts along with intellectual ones.</p> <p>In addition to using our brains to strategize and, at times, to do math, such games force us to contemplate what other players are likely to do and likely to think.</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>18. Talk to strangers</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>When we’re seated next to a stranger on a bus, plane, or train, most of us clam up and keep to ourselves.</p> <p>Yet research from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business has found that many of us overestimate the difficulty of connecting with strangers and underestimate the rewards of doing so.</p> <p>Before engaging in the study, participants predicted that engaging with strangers would reduce their well-being.</p> <p>But when they went ahead and struck up a conversation with the person seated next to them, the opposite happened.</p> <p>They felt better than when they sat in solitude.</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>19. Form a dog-walking group</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>Our pets really are part of our social network.</p> <p>They sleep in our beds, are pictured in our family portraits, and often earn a great deal of space in our holiday letters.</p> <p>They also, in many cases, listen attentively to our problems.</p> <p>Some surveys show that our pets are better listeners than our spouses.</p> <p>Walk your pets together with your neighbors and you will feel less lonely, which helps ward off Alzheimer’s.</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>20. Choose the brightest of the bunch</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 pigments that lend bright colours to many fruits and vegetables are especially powerful sources of antioxidants.</p> <p>Higher vegetable consumption was associated with slower rate of cognitive decline in 3,718 people ages 65 years and older who participated in the Chicago Health and Aging Project.</p> <p>All of the study participants scored lower on cognitive tests at the end of the study than they did at the beginning, but those who consumed more than four daily servings of vegetables experienced a 40 percent slower decline in their abilities than people who consumed less than one daily serving.</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>21. Get a massage</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>One research review out of the University of Miami and Duke University concluded that massage helped to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol while boosting levels of brain chemicals thought to be associated with positive emotions.</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>22. Soak potatoes before cooking</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>Potatoes contain an amino acid called asparagine, which, when exposed to high heat, changes into acrylamide, a neurotoxin.</p> <p>Acrylamide binds to the ends of our axons, making it tougher for brain cells to communicate with one another.</p> <p>Water protects asparagine, so soaking potatoes for 15 to 30 minutes before cooking them can stop it from transforming into acrylamide.</p> <p>Drain the potatoes and blot them dry before cooking. </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>23. Check out a “laughter club”</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’s no joke. Laughter clubs exist. They’re run by “certified laughter leaders”—often psychologists, therapists, and psychiatrists—who are trained in the healing benefits of laughter.</p> <p>These workshops can help you connect with others as you get in a good laugh.</p> <p>Look at <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.worldlaughtertour.com/" target="_blank" title="" data-original-title="">World Laughter Tour</a> to find out if there’s a club near you.</p> <p>A good belly laugh produces a chemical reaction that elevates your mood; reduces pain, stress, and blood pressure; and boosts immunity.</p> <p>Humour therapy may be as effective as some prescription drugs at reducing agitation in people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.</p> <p>Nursing home patients who were entertained by clowns for two hours once a week were significantly less aggressive and agitated.</p> <p>Even two weeks after the nursing home stopped bringing in the clowns, the patients remained less agitated.</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>24. Nap strategically</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>Researchers at the Laboratory of Human Chronobiology at Weill Cornell Medical College in White Plains, New York, studied how 22 men and women reacted to varying napping regimens, finding that naps of all lengths enhanced cognitive performance during the day. </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>25. Brew yourself some tea</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>Black and green tea are rich sources of antioxidants called catechins that may fend off oxidative damage throughout the body, including the brain.</p> <p>Green tea is also a rich source of epigallocatechin-3-gallate, which has been shown to reduce beta-amyloid plaque and tau tangles in mice.</p> <p>Tea has also been shown to drop blood pressure and cholesterol levels.</p> <p>But commercially available bottled teas have been shown to contain few, if any, of these protective substances.</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>26. Train in short bursts of vigorous activity</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>Rather than exercise in one long 30-minute session, consider breaking up your exercise into shorter seven- to ten-minute bursts, repeated several times a day.</p> <p>This kind of training may be ideal for people who have diabetes, a risk factor for Alzheimer’s, especially if you do these bursts about a half hour before each meal.</p> <p>Study participants with insulin resistance (a precursor to diabetes) were instructed to do six minutes of vigorous exercise (such as walking uphill on a treadmill or vigorous calisthenics) interspersed with six minutes of recovery exercise (such as slow walking) about a half hour before breakfast, lunch, and dinner.</p> <p>Other study participants just walked for 30 minutes before dinner.</p> <p>Those who did the six-minute vigorous intervals experienced better post-meal blood sugar levels than study participants who did the once-daily, moderate session.</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>27. Become a regular</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>That way you’ll get to know the teller at the bank, the checkout person at the grocery store, and the clerk at the post office.</p> <p>Whenever possible, actually walk into such establishments and conduct business in person instead of using the drive-through.</p> <p>In addition to providing you with a moment of face-to-face interaction, this gives you a short burst of movement, which is also good for your brain.</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>28. Air-pop your popcorn</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>Microwave popcorn contains many different potential health hazards.</p> <p>For one, most bags of microwave popcorn are lined with perfluorooctanoic acid, a chemical thought to raise risk for cancer (though the jury is still out). Many microwave varieties with a “buttery taste” contain partially hydrogenated soybean oil, or trans fat.</p> <p>Research has linked a high consumption of trans fats to Alzheimer’s and heart disease, and the evidence is so strong that the FDA is considering banning the fat. In some brands of popcorn, the buttery flavoring also comes from diacetyl, a chemical that has been linked to lung disease.</p> <p>Instead, make your own popcorn. Place popcorn kernels inside a plain brown paper lunch bag.</p> <p>Fold the top down a few times. Then microwave for two to three minutes, until the popping starts to abate. Voilà. Microwave popcorn without the trans fats and chemicals. </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>29. Dance the night away</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>If brain-fitness awards were given to types of fitness pursuits, dance would earn the first-place trophy year after year after year.</p> <p>That’s because it combines several brain-health prescriptions into one.</p> <p>If you dance with a group or a partner, you are exercising social smarts.</p> <p>If you are learning new steps, you’re also boosting your intellectual fitness.</p> <p>Dance, by nature, is fun, which helps to reduce stress.</p> <p>Ballroom dancers have performed higher on tests of cognition than did nondancers, and competitive ballroom dancers have scored higher on many different measures of cognitive performance, including reaction time.</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>30. Take up a craft</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>In a <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.aan.com/PressRoom/Home/PressRelease/1363" target="_blank" title="" data-original-title="">study</a> of 256 octogenarians by researchers at the Mayo Clinic, crafting activities—such as woodworking, pottery, ceramics, and quilting—reduced the likelihood of mild cognitive impairment by 55 percent.</p> <p>In a smaller study done in Germany, 60- and 70-year-olds who took art classes improved their scores on tests of psychological resilience over 14 weeks, indicating that their ability to cope with stress had grown.</p> <p>Also, fMRI (functional MRI) scans revealed that their brains had sprouted new connections in areas that tend to lose connections with increasing age. </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>31. Sprinkle on cinnamon</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>Just a quarter teaspoon of the spice twice a day has been shown to reduce fasting blood sugar up to 29 percent in people with type 2 diabetes.</p> <p>This is important because type 2 diabetes can raise your risk of dementia. The spice has also been found to reduce blood cholesterol and inflammation, both of which can further reduce your risk.</p> <p>Cinnamon can help you add some sweetness to foods without using sugar.</p> <p>Sprinkle it on oatmeal, fruit, pancakes, and coffee, and experiment by adding it to other main-course dishes like chili.</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>32. Imagine waterfalls</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>Research tells us that counting sheep doesn’t help us nod off any more quickly than lying in bed and letting our minds wander, but here’s a tactic that does seem to help: visualizing a relaxing scene, such as a waterfall.</p> <p>When Allison Harvey and Suzanna Payne of England’s Oxford University asked 50 insomniacs to try different distraction techniques on different nights, it was the waterfall visualizations that came out on top.</p> <p>Study participants who pictured waterfalls nodded off 20 minutes faster than others who counted sheep or did nothing in particular.</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>33. Go bowling</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>In one study, nursing home patients with dementia participated in daily, two-hour-long therapy sessions that included bowling or croquet, as well as gardening, brain games, and crafts.</p> <p>Patients who participated in these sessions were still able to perform the tasks of daily living, such as eating or using the bathroom, unassisted, after 12 months.</p> <p>Residents who did not participate in the sessions lost ground in their ability to perform these tasks without help.</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>34. Grow a garden</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 physical act of pulling weeds and raking leaves raises the heart rate and strengthens muscles in your hands, arms, shoulders, back, and legs.</p> <p>Being outdoors and surrounded by beautiful flowers can relax the mind.</p> <p>Finally, gardening requires intellectual smarts to plant the right seeds in the right places at the right time of year, to prune plants when they need it, and to combat pests and other obstacles. </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>35. Sign up your dog or cat for agility training</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>If you own a dog or cat, agility training offers an intellectually stimulating form of exercise for both of you.</p> <p>It involves leading your pet through a series of obstacles, ranging from catwalks to hurdles to tunnels.</p> <p>It provides exercise for both of you and causes you to think quickly as you shout commands and use your body language to communicate with your pet.</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>36. Snack on kiwifruit</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>One study found an improvement in sleep when study participants consumed two kiwis an hour before bed.</p> <p>Though it’s unclear why this fruit might help, one theory holds that it is high in serotonin.</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>37. Stand every half hour</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>When researchers asked overweight and obese office workers to use a standing workstation for 30 minutes out of every hour, the workers’ post-meal blood sugar response improved, thus reducing their risk for developing Alzheimer’s.</p> <p>Set a timer to buzz every half hour. Get up and stretch, do some light calisthenics, or go for a short walk for a minute or two before sitting back down.</p> <p>Stand when talking on the phone, while waiting for the bus or a plane, and while chatting at get-togethers.</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>38. Throw dinner parties</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>Deciding whom to invite, what to serve, and who is sitting next to whom forces your brain to contemplate complex social decisions.</p> <p>Is Sally likely to get along with George? Do any of your guests have food allergies?</p> <p>Cooking the dishes and ensuring that they’re all ready around the same time the guests arrive requires a great deal of strategic planning, which is a high-level intellectual skill.</p> <p>With each recipe, you follow step-by-step instructions.</p> <p>If you are doubling portions, then there’s also some math involved, and there’s plenty of measuring and estimating, too. </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>39. Learn to meditate</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>Researchers from National University of Singapore found that people who performed Vajrayana meditation - a Tibetan style that involves connecting with and visualising enlightened beings - experienced improved attention and performed better on cognitive tasks just after their meditation sessions, possibly because the meditation boosted blood flow to their brains.</p> <p>Try it now. Sit comfortably with your eyes closed. Focus on your breath. Notice how it feels as it comes in your nose and goes back out again. Don’t try to control it or change it. Just allow it to come in and out naturally.</p> <p>If you notice other sensations, such as an ache in your back or an urgent thought about something on your to-do list, just keep returning to the breath.</p> <p>Allow distractions to pass through your mind like clouds pass through a sky. Every time you notice yourself following your thinking, just redirect your mind where you want it to go.</p> <p>Every time you return to the breath, you are training your concentration and bringing yourself to the present moment.</p> <p>In addition to following the breath, you can try bringing your awareness to a word (such as one or peace) or a location in your body (such as your heart).</p> <p>You can also concentrate on an idea or belief, such as a feeling of gratitude, compassion, or love.</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>40. Eat fruit for dessert</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>Fruit is naturally sweet. Sprinkle a little cinnamon on top of berries for a simple, low-calorie brain booster.</p> <p>Or puree berries, watermelon, and other fruits, and freeze them. </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>41. Relax with yoga nidra</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>Sometimes called “yogic sleep,” yoga nidra is a guided visualization that deeply relaxes the body.</p> <p>In one study, college students who practiced yoga nidra for eight weeks experienced less stress, worry, and depression.</p> <p>Other research shows that yoga nidra may also help to keep blood sugar in check.</p> <p>This is an important finding because diabetes is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.</p> <p>Find a class, or listen to a number of free sessions on the Internet. </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>42. Try alternate nostril breathing</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 helps you to take deeper breaths and doubles as a breathing meditation.</p> <p>Use your thumb or index finger to close off the right nostril. Inhale long and slowly through the left.</p> <p>Then switch so that your finger closes the left nostril and breathe out through the right.</p> <p>Then inhale through the right and continue to switch back and forth.</p> <p>Not only will this and other deep-breathing exercises reduce your stress and tension, but they also offer a side benefit of strengthening your attention.</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>43. Hold someone’s hand</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>By stimulating the vagus nerve, a warm touch can calm tension and trigger a release in oxytocin.</p> <p>In one study, University of Wisconsin psychologist Richard Davidson, PhD, and Jim Coan, PhD, of the University of Virginia, told 16 married women that they were about to be shocked with electricity.</p> <p>In some situations, as the women anticipated the shock, they were holding the hand of their partners or of a stranger. In other situations, the women were alone.</p> <p>All the while the researchers studied what was happening in the women’s brains, using fMRI scanners.</p> <p>The fMRIs showed that, when the women held their partner’s hand, they remained more relaxed than when they held the hand of a stranger.</p> <p>When they anticipated the shock while alone, their stress response was highest.</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>44. Shower at night</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>Our body temperature fluctuates throughout the day and the night, varying from one or two degrees below 98.6˚F to one or two degrees above.</p> <p>It generally starts to fall during the evening, reaching its lowest point during sleep, and this fall in temperature is one of the mechanisms that cause us to feel sleepy.</p> <p>You can enhance the sleepiness induced by the body-cooling effect by taking a warm shower or bath in the evening.</p> <p>The shower warms you by a degree or two. But then the warming effect wears off. As your body cools back down, sleepiness sets in.</p> <p>In one small study, women who took a long, warm bath in the midafternoon to early evening felt sleepier at bedtime and slept more deeply, too.</p> <p>Shower or bathe at least 90 minutes before bed to experience the best of the cooling effect.</p> <p>In addition to helping induce grogginess, this can be a great way to unwind and relax away stress. </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>45. Pray</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>Prayer and a variety of other religious rituals may allow you to let go of worries that may be preying on your mind, and gathering with a community of like-minded people helps you to feel less alone.</p> <p>In a study by Israeli and American researchers and funded by the National Institutes of Health, Islamic women who prayed daily had a reduced risk of mild cognitive impairment compared with women who did not pray.</p> <p>A different study by researchers at Arizona State University and the University of Utah found that people who considered themselves to be deeply religious or spiritual, prayed regularly, and attended religious services had lower cortisol responses and lower blood pressure than people who were less religious.</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>46. Grow rosemary</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>This herb contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds that may protect brain health.</p> <p>In one small study, 28 seniors who drank a tomato drink spiked with 750 milligrams of dried rosemary - somewhat more of the spice than you might typically ingest through normal culinary flavoring - performed better on a memory test given six hours later than seniors who did not ingest the spice.</p> <p>Although such small studies are never definitive, they do point the way toward larger studies.</p> <p>Even just smelling the herb may offer some benefit. Study participants who sat inside a cubicle that was infused with the scent of rosemary were able to solve a series of math problems more quickly than when they weren’t surrounded by the scent.</p> <p>It’s thought that rosemary may boost brain function by preventing the breakdown of a key neurotransmitter in the brain.</p> <p>Keep a potted rosemary plant in your kitchen, and use the herb to flavor everything from soups to roasted vegetables.</p> <p>Puree some with olive oil to create a pesto.</p> <p>You can also use the rosemary branch to skewer shrimp for grilling. </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>47. Single-task</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>Though many of us may believe we’re quite good at multitasking, we’re probably only fooling ourselves.</p> <p>Switching back and forth between tasks - such as checking email repeatedly as you complete a work project - actually wastes time and makes you less efficient and productive.</p> <p>Every time you take a break from what you are doing, you have to start the task at hand over mentally.</p> <p>This mental restart can take anywhere from a few seconds to many minutes.</p> <p>More than just ruining our efficiency, multitasking can cause us undue stress.</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>48. Volunteer</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>People who spent time helping others—by driving them to doctor’s appointments, running errands for them, providing child care and other tasks - were able to navigate and survive highly stressful life events over five years better than people who didn’t.</p> <p>Other research has found that people who volunteer their time have a greater sense of purpose and improved well-being.</p> <p>They also tend to have less trouble sleeping, less anxiety, and less loneliness. It may be that, by helping others, we get a boost in oxytocin or other brain chemicals, which seem to protect us from stress-induced health problems.</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>49. Learn to play an instrument</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>Learning and playing an instrument forces you to sharpen many different cognitive processes, including attention, memory, motor skills, auditory skills, and visual skills.</p> <p>It’s no wonder studies have found that playing a musical instrument delays the onset of cognitive decline.</p> <p>When researchers from Emory University tested the cognitive health of 70 older adults, they found that study participants with at least ten years of musical experience performed better on tests of nonverbal memory, naming, and many other cognitive processes than older adults with less training or no training at all.</p> <p>In addition to helping keep your brain sharp, music lessons may also allow you to maintain fine motor skills, especially if you learn an instrument that requires complex finger motions.</p> <p>When researchers offered piano lessons to older adults, the study participants were able to improve cognitive abilities - including attention, concentration, and planning - over just six months, compared with study participants who didn’t take lessons.</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>50. Trade in farmed salmon for wild</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>In a study of 815 people, people who consumed salmon and other fish at least once a week reduced their Alzheimer’s disease risk by 60 percent compared with people who rarely or never ate fish, but farmed salmon has tested eight times higher for PCBs—an industrial pollutant, carcinogen, and neurotoxin—than wild salmon. </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>51. Breathe lavender while you sleep</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>Research shows that the scent of lavender serves as a mild sedative that can slow heart rate, drop blood pressure, and relax the body.</p> <p>In one study, people who sniffed lavender before bed slept more deeply and felt more refreshed in the morning.</p> <p>Sprinkle a few drops of pure lavender essential oil on a tissue to tuck under your pillow.</p> <p><span>Find more simple tips by grabbing a copy of </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/1621453480/?tag=reader0b-20" target="_blank" title="" data-original-title=""><em>Outsmarting Alzheimer’s: What You Can Do to Reduce Your Risk</em></a><span> by Kenneth S. Kosik, MD, and Alisa Bowman.</span></p> <p><em>Written by Krista Carothers. This article first appeared in </em><span><em><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/drama/51-everyday-habits-reduce-your-risk-dementia">Reader’s Digest</a></em></span><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><span><em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN87V">here’s our best subscription offer.</a></em></span></p> </div> </div> </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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Gardening for a healthy mind and body

<p>“The pleasure you get from gardening far outweighs any difficulties as you get older,” says seasoned gardener and horticulturalist,<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s4705027.htm" target="_blank"><span>Jane Edmanson</span></a>.</p> <p>She’s calling for Over60 readers to get gardening to benefit their mental and physical health. When older people garden, it helps promote their overall health and quality of life, including physical strength, fitness and flexibility, cognitive ability, and socialisation, according to a study in the journal,<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01924788.2013.784942" target="_blank"><span><em>Activities Adaptations and Ageing</em></span></a>. In short, it’s therapy and recreation.</p> <p><strong class="bigger-text">Gardening for the third age</strong></p> <p>Edmanson, 67, says, “My garden connects me to nature and the seasons … to the bees, butterflies, and birds. But you don’t have to do anything practical such as weeding or digging — just being in the garden and being aware of the senses is beneficial. If I had a few days without going into a garden, my life wouldn’t be complete.”</p> <p>Gardening is part of her exercise routine, which includes bushwalking, swimming, and pilates. She’s been involved in horticulture for more than 40 years, has owned and managed a retail nursery, and written or co-authored five gardening books.<br /><br />“I like getting my hands dirty, touching the soil. My worm farm is the thing I love as it makes me feel part of the earth, of this whole world. It’s all about appreciating nature and trying to do your little bit in cultivating your own patch.</p> <p>“If you’re older, you do have to be aware gardening’s not an easy thing to do. Your knees and back can get creaky, and sometimes you’re lifting 16kg of potting mix, or big pots, but most of the things to do with gardening are really rewarding,” she says.</p> <p><strong class="bigger-text">Know the risks</strong><br />Reduce your risk of injury by stretching beforehand to warm up, even if it’s going for a short walk. To be kinder to your knees, take a cushion to kneel on in the garden, or invest in a kneeling aid with handles to ease yourself out of the kneeling position. Consider raised garden beds, vertical planting along walls — or trellises or adaptive tools if you have mobility issues.</p> <p>Edmanson knows active gardeners in their late 80s and 90s, who might no longer mow their own lawn, but still have a green thumb.</p> <p>“A lady I know, Jean, is 97. She has a lovely garden with plenty of veggies. Recently, she had a fall — tripped over something near the hose. It was pretty bad, but now she’s better after some time in hospital and back in the garden.”</p> <p>Edmanson says it’s hard to say if you can rely on gardening to keep fit as some people spend hours and others just a few minutes. They may be doing different tasks, using different muscles, and have different energy levels.</p> <p><strong class="bigger-text">Herbs for starters</strong></p> <p>For the novice late-entrant to gardening, Edmanson suggests starting with herbs as they’re some of the easiest plants to grow. Try growing easy herbs such as parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, sorrel, and mint.</p> <p>“I tell everyone to grow lemon verbena because it’s fragrant, looks lovely, and it’s useful as a tea or in cooking. I have lots of herbs in my garden, and their fragrance and taste in my cooking takes me to another part of the world.”</p> <p><strong class="bigger-text">Know your limits</strong></p> <p>Don’t feel limited if you live in a flat with only a balcony for your garden. An<span> </span><span><a rel="noopener" href="http://www.tai.org.au/content/grow-your-own" target="_blank">Australian Institute study</a></span><span> </span>found most non-gardeners said a lack of suitable space and time was stopping them from growing their own food.</p> <p>“This barrier is more perceived than real,” said the report, which mentioned alternatives such as community gardens, and shared spaces in retirement villages and nursing homes, for example. It also found gardeners aged 65+ reported health benefits from regular movement.</p> <p>Even indoor plants are beneficial, says Edmanson. “They’re good for your soul. They add a bit of greenery and you’re touching something real — living — and you have to be responsible for it.”</p> <p>“Whether you’re a gung-ho gardener or take things at a slower place, take the time to sit, listen, and watch to see how the world’s going in your garden,” she says.</p> <p>Do you garden? Why do you enjoy it? Let us know in the comments.</p> <p><em>Written by Margaret Paton. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/health/wellbeing/gardening-for-a-healthy-mind-and-body.aspx">Wyza.com.au.</a></em></p>

Mind

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Get headaches? 5 things to eat or avoid

<p>Last week I had a headache. Two hours in a traffic jam, hot day, no water, plans thrown into chaos. That day I was one of the five million Australians affected by headache or migraine. Over a year one person in two will experience a headache.</p> <p>Mine was a “tension-type” headache, the most common category. Migraines are less common but about one person in eight will experience one in any given year.</p> <p>Headaches are really common, so here are five things the research evidence indicates are worth trying to help manage or avoid them.</p> <p><strong>1. Water</strong><br />A study was conducted in people who got at least two moderately intense or more than five mild headaches a month. The participants received a stress management and sleep quality intervention with or without increasing their water intake by an extra 1.5 litres a day.</p> <p>The water intervention group got a significant improvement in migraine-specific quality of life scores over the three months, with 47% reporting their headaches were much improved, compared to 25% of the control group.</p> <p>However, it did not reduce the number or duration of headaches. Drinking more water is worth a try. Take a water bottle everywhere you go and refill it regularly to remind you to drink more water.</p> <p><strong>2. Caffeine</strong><br />Caffeine can have opposing effects. It can help relieve some headaches due to analgesic effects but also contribute to them, due to caffeine withdrawal. A review of caffeine withdrawal studies confirmed that getting a headache was the number one symptom of withdrawal, followed by fatigue, reduced energy and alertness, drowsiness, depressed mood, difficulty concentrating, fuzzy head and others.</p> <p>When people were experimentally put though controlled caffeine withdrawal, 50% got a headache, with withdrawal symptoms occurring within 12-24 hours, peaking between 20-51 hours and lasting from two to nine days. Caffeine withdrawal can happen from a usual daily dose as low as 100 mg/day. One cup of brewed coffee contains 100-150mg caffeine, instant coffee has 50-100 mg depending on how strong you make it and a cup of tea can vary from 10-90mg. It appears that maintaining usual caffeine consumption may subconsciously relate to avoidance of withdrawal symptoms.</p> <p>Caffeine can lessen or worsen headaches.</p> <p>Caffeine can dampen down pain. in a systematic review that included five headache studies with 1,503 participants with migraine or tension-type headache, 33% of participants achieved pain relief of at least 50% of the maximum possible after receiving 100 mg or more caffeine plus analgesic pain medication (ibuprofen or paracetamol) compared to 25% for the analgesic group alone.</p> <p>A study in over 50,000 Norwegians, who have high caffeine intakes (more than 400 milligrams a day), examined the relationship with headaches. Those with the highest caffeine intakes (more than 540mg/day) were 10% more likely to get headaches, including migraine.</p> <p>But when headache frequency was examined, high caffeine consumers were more likely to experience non-migraine headaches infrequently (less than seven per month) compared to those considered low caffeine consumers (less than 240mg a day). This was attributed to potential “reverse causation” where high caffeine consumers use caffeine to damp down headache pain. They found those with the lowest caffeine intakes (125mg a day) were more likely to report more than 14 headaches per month, which may have been due to greater sensitivity and avoidance of caffeine.</p> <p>Hypnic headaches are a rare type that occurs in association with sleep. They typically last 15-180 minutes and are more common in the elderly. Hypnic headaches are treated by giving caffeine in roughly the amount found in a cup of strong coffee.</p> <p><strong>3. Fasting</strong><br />Some people get a headache after fasting for about 16 hours, which equates to not eating between 6pm and 10am the next day. A study in Denmark found one person in 25 has been affected by a fasting headache. These headaches are most likely to occur when fasting for a blood test or medical procedure or if you are following a “fasting” weight loss diet or a very low energy meal replacement diet.</p> <p>Fasting headaches are likely to be confounded by caffeine withdrawal. Check the test procedure instructions to see what fluids, such as tea, coffee and water are allowed and drink within those recommendations.</p> <p>In a study 34 people with new-onset migraine who kept a headache diary for about a month, those who ate a night-time snack were 40% less likely to experience a headache compared to those who didn’t snack. For susceptible individuals this may prevent fasting headaches. Try a slice or wholegrain toast with a topping like cheese and tomato or avocado and tuna, with a cuppa.</p> <p><strong>4. Alcohol</strong><br />Headache is the classic feature of alcohol induced hangovers. The amount of alcohol needed to trigger a hangover varies widely between individuals, from one drink to many. A number of factors mash up to produce a throbbing post alcohol headache. Increased urination and vomiting both increase risk of dehydration which leads to changes in blood and oxygen flowing to the brain.</p> <p>Congeners, a group of chemicals produced in small amounts during fermentation, give alcoholic drinks their taste, smell and colour. Metabolites of alcohol breakdown in the liver can cross the blood-brain barrier contributing to hangover.</p> <p>Alcohol can trigger tension-type headaches, cluster headaches and migraine. People with migraines have been shown to have lower alcohol intakes  compared to others. The wise advice is to drink responsibly, boost your water intake and don’t drink on an empty stomach. If you are sensitive to alcohol, avoidance is your best option.</p> <p><strong>5. Boost your intake of folate-rich foods</strong><br />More folate in your diet helps migraines.</p> <p>Some migraineurs are diet-sensitive. Triggers include cheese, chocolate, alcohol or other specific foods. A recent study found women with low dietary folate intakes had more frequent migraines. However a daily folic acid (1mg) supplement made no difference.</p> <p>Boost your intake of foods rich in folate such as green leafy vegetables, legumes, seeds, chicken, eggs and citrus fruits. Use our Healthy Eating Quiz to check your nutrition, diet quality and variety. Keep a headache diary to identify triggers and then discuss it with your GP.</p> <p><em>Written by Clare Collins. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/get-headaches-heres-five-things-to-eat-or-avoid-76611">The Conversation</a>.</em></p>

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10 favourite facts you’ve always believed that are actually false

<p>Here, the world’s most contagious myths and misconceptions – debunked.</p> <p><strong>1. Napoleon was short</strong></p> <p>A tall tale. At five six, he was actually slightly above average height for a Frenchman of the time.</p> <p>Just as his military genius has been studied throughout the years, we've also been fascinated with the life – and quirks – of the first emperor of France.</p> <p><strong>2. Don’t eat and swim</strong></p> <p>This doesn’t increase the risk of cramps; alcohol is the biggest risk increaser. But a full stomach will make you short of breath.</p> <p><strong>3. Salty water boils quicker</strong></p> <p>Adding a sprinkle of salt to water makes no difference. </p> <p>It can actually make boiling take longer.</p> <p>It is important for dishes that need to cook for a long time, that your pot or pan has a good-quality heavy base to distribute the heat evenly.</p> <p><strong>4. Oil stops stuck pasta</strong></p> <p>Nope. It’ll only make it greasy. Stirring prevents sticking.</p> <p><strong>5. Left and right brain</strong></p> <p>There’s no solid division between the talents of each hemisphere; the left brain can learn “right-brain skills” and vice versa.</p> <p><strong>6. Dropped coins kill</strong></p> <p>Terminal velocity of a standard penny is 18 to 30 kilometres per hour. Not fast enough to kill – but it sure would sting.</p> <p>Back in the day, putting a coin or other hard, flat object on a baby’s belly to help to heal an umbilical hernia was a common practice.</p> <p><strong>7. Three wise men</strong></p> <p>Nowhere in the Bible does it specify that there were three.</p> <p>Want to know something freaky? In the Bible, it is significant that Noah led seven pairs of all clean animals, one pair of every unclean animal and seven pairs of birds into the ark.</p> <p>When the flood subsided, God, who had created the world in seven days, sent a redeeming rainbow with seven colours.</p> <p><strong>8. MSG = Headaches</strong></p> <p>There’s no scientific proof—just anecdotal evidence implicating monosodium glutamate.</p> <p><strong>9. Dogs sweat by salivating</strong></p> <p>No—they regulate temperature through panting. They actually sweat through their footpads.</p> <p><strong>10 Great Wall of China</strong></p> <p>It’s not visible from space. No single human structure is visible from orbit, but you can see cities at night.</p> <p><em>Written by David McCandless and Brandon Specktor. This article first appeared in <a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/thought-provoking/51-favourite-facts-youve-always-believed-are-actually">Reader’s Digest</a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA87V">here’s our best subscription offer</a>.</em></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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What your zodiac sign reveals about your health

<p>We spoke with professional astrologer Suzanne Gerber to get her opinion of how your sign might impact your health.</p> <p><strong>Aries (March 21-April 19)</strong></p> <p>The ram sign is unsurprisingly all about your noggin.</p> <p>If you experience pain up there, you might want to check out these home remedies for headaches.</p> <p>“Aries rules the head and is prone to headaches and migraines,” explains US-based professional astrologer Suzanne Gerber.</p> <p>“Especially the kind brought on by stress, which can also cause tight jaws or TMJ.”</p> <p><strong>Taurus (April 20-May 20)</strong></p> <p>“Taurus rules the throat, as well as organs and glands associated with that region,” says Gerber.</p> <p>She suggests that Taurus sun signs are particularly sensitive to weather changes and should stock up on scarves and sore throat remedies.</p> <p><strong>Gemini (May 21-June 20)</strong></p> <p>“Gemini is the zodiac sign that rules the shoulders, arms, and hands, as well as the nervous system,” says Gerber.</p> <p>“The high-energy sign thrives on communication but can develop problems in these areas, as well as colds, as a result of the ‘too much of a good thing’ syndrome.</p> <p>Those who spend a lot of time on electronic devices are prone to repetitive strain injuries, like carpal tunnel.”</p> <p><strong>Cancer (June 21-July 22)</strong></p> <p>Gerber says, “Cancer is the sensitive water sign that rules the chest, stomach, and breasts, and has to stay on guard for mood swings, depression, and emotional eating.”</p> <p>She adds that, “Blocked feelings can result in digestive woes, acid reflux (GERD) and weight gain.</p> <p>"Getting a handle on their emotions is key for Cancers!”</p> <p><strong>Leo (July 23-August 22)</strong></p> <p>“Leo is the proud monarch of the jungle and needs to be seen and appreciated,” says Gerber.</p> <p>“Their sign is associated with the back, heart, and blood, and when they’re out of balance, they can develop back problems, high blood pressure, or irregular heartbeats,” explains Gerber.</p> <p>“Meditation and giving without strings attached are their best medicine!”</p> <p><strong>Virgo (August 23-September 22)</strong></p> <p>“Virgo, the highest-energy earth sign, is associated with the intestines and digestion. They’re fussy eaters, predisposed to food allergies, eating disorders, ulcers and IBS,” shares Gerber.</p> <p>“Any exercise or practices that slow them down will be salubrious!”</p> <p><strong>Libra (September 23-October 22)</strong></p> <p>“Libras are associated with the skin, adrenals, kidneys and bladder—organs that eliminate fluid waste,” says Gerber.</p> <p>“As epicureans and seekers of balance, they’re susceptible to overdoing things and can suffer from either diarrhea or constipation.”</p> <p>She stresses the importance of keeping Libra zodiac signs well hydrated to keep things “moving.”</p> <p><strong>Scorpio (October 23-November 21)</strong></p> <p>According to Suzanne, “Scorpio rules the reproductive and elimination organs. As an intense water sign that can dwell on the dark side of life, their moods can bring on or exacerbate conditions that have to do with menstrual cycles, bathroom issues, hormones, and diabetes.”</p> <p>Gerber suggests Scorpios with these issues should deal directly and candidly with negative emotions.</p> <p><strong>Sagittarius (November 22-December 21)</strong></p> <p>“This zodiac sign is the half-human, half-horse Archer,” relates Gerber.</p> <p>"This sign rules the hips, thighs, and vision. It’s a rash and expansive sign, and can be accident-prone. They also need to watch over-consumption of alcohol and other things they know aren’t so good for them. Problems with the hips, sciatic nerve, and eyes are notable.”</p> <p>Sagittarius may be tons of fun, but they’re most likely to have klutz-alert horoscope listings.</p> <p><strong>Capricorn (December 22-January 19)</strong></p> <p>“Capricorn is ruled by Saturn, the planet of structure. As such, it’s associated with the bones, knees, teeth, and joints, making these weak spots,” says Gerber.</p> <p>“A diet rich in calcium and the vitamins and minerals needed to absorb it is essential. Regular bodywork can help them work out the accumulated tension.”</p> <p>She suggests exploring the many benefits of massage, as well as making sure you’re getting enough calcium.</p> <p><strong>Aquarius (January 20-February 18)</strong></p> <p>“Aquarius marches to his or her own drummer, but nevertheless has weak lower legs, ankles, and circulation,” according to Gerber.</p> <p>Eating circulation-helping foods is a good start for Aquarius signs, she says, adding that,</p> <p>“They’re prone to sprains and strains in these areas, as well as edema, varicose veins and blood-flow issues.”</p> <p><strong>Pisces (February 19-March 20)</strong></p> <p>“Pisces, the super-sensitive water sign, rules the feet and can experience pain and problems in that area. This zodiac sign also rules the immune system and reflexes,” shares Gerber.</p> <p><em>Written by Bryce Gruber. This article first appeared in <span><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/conditions/what-your-zodiac-reveals-about-your-health">Reader’s Digest</a></span>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN87V"><span>here’s our best subscription offer</span></a>.</em></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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Why we start to lose energy as we age and how it affects our mind and body

<p>It’s a question as old as the search for the mythical fountain of youth. And if you’ve found yourself increasingly nodding off in front of the TV or grumbling about not having quite the spring in your step you used to, no doubt you’ve asked it yourself: Why do we lose energy as we age?</p> <p>One undeniable factor is cellular ageing: the gradual and inevitable decline in function and efficiency of every cell in the body as we grow older. How gradual that decline turns out to be will vary from person to person and is influenced by two important factors: genetics and lifestyle.</p> <p>Those fortunate enough to have so-called “good genes” may find they can sail into their advanced years and remain mentally acute and physically active with robust energy levels. While others must rely on healthy choices throughout their lives in order to remain healthy later in life.</p> <p>But just what is occurring inside our cells as we age? Let’s take a look.</p> <p><strong>Cellular function and ageing</strong></p> <p>Cellular ageing – or cellular senescence – is the point at which your body’s cells can no longer divide, replicate and grow. This leads to an inevitable loss of tissue strength and function, as well as a host of other physical and mental changes that we associate with ageing, including slower metabolism, greatly reduced blood flow, poor sleep patterns, loss of bone density and muscle mass, poor digestion and growing mental decline.</p> <p>All of the body’s energy is produced in our cells’ mitochondria – our body’s power generators – where oxygen and food are processed to form the energy molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The gradual dysfunction of the mitochondria over time – ably assisted by environmental and metabolic stresses such as infections, poor diet, sun damage, nervous stress, smoking, pollution and good old-fashioned living – makes our mitochondria less efficient at producing ATP and hence powering our entire bodies, particularly the brain and the heart, which demand so much of our energy reserves.</p> <p>Recent research and current scientific thinking now holds that it may be possible to reverse that mitochondrial damage and help us navigate the ageing process with less fatigue, more energy and a host of other benefits besides. And it all appears to revolve around a little molecule called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD).</p> <p><strong>NAD deficiency</strong></p> <p>Present in every cell of the body, NAD is the critical energising coenzyme that enables our mitochondria to produce the ATP that sustains all of our bodily functions. Without it, our bodies would simply cease to work at all.</p> <p>In our teens and 20s, our bodies are overripe with NAD, but when those levels begin to drop – which can be by as much as 50 per cent by the time we reach our late 40s – that’s when the evidence of cellular dysfunction starts to appear. By the time we reach our 50s, NAD levels have typically declined to a point where cellular function and energy is markedly deficient and the aforementioned age-related conditions become increasingly prominent. That’s why scientists today now believe that restoring and increasing NAD levels is the key to extending our years of high energy and good health.</p> <p><strong>Restoring NAD levels</strong></p> <p>In 2004, Dr Charles Brenner PhD, professor of biochemistry and director of the Obesity Initiative at the University of Iowa, made an important breakthrough in the field of NAD metabolism when he discovered an astonishing new use for a rare form of vitamin B3 known as nicotinomide riboside (NR).</p> <p>“I was working on an enzyme that makes NAD in yeast,” Professor Brenner tells Over60. “NAD is a coenzyme that is the central regulator of metabolism in all forms of life. Received wisdom said that there would be no way to make NAD if we knocked out this enzyme, but I found that NR could bypass the known pathways to NAD in yeast – and I found the NR kinase genes that perform the first step in converting NR to NAD in yeast, mice and humans. NR was a known compound, but it was not previously known to be a vitamin for humans until I found this pathway in 2004.”</p> <p>Professor Brenner found that NR raised NAD levels by acting as an NAD precursor, which means that when taken orally, NR converts to NAD and boosts its level within the cells. “NAD is consumed in conditions of metabolic stress,” explains Professor Brenner, “and NR is the most effective NAD precursor to restore healthful NAD levels.”</p> <p>When Professor Brenner himself became the first person in the world to take NR as a supplement in 2014, it then became commercialised for human consumption and branded ‘Tru Niagen’, opening up a whole new world of possibilities for sustainable health for both body and mind.</p> <p><strong>The Tru Niagen effect</strong></p> <p><span><a href="http://www.truniagen.co.nz/">Tru Niagen</a></span> – the branded form of NR – is creating a huge buzz in the health sciences community for being the only form of vitamin B3 that can lift NAD levels in all human cells. As an energy supplement, its properties and effects have been likened not to the instant burst you might get from caffeine or sugar, but rather to the steady background energy your smartphone uses to maintain its most crucial functions. With more and more studies being undertaken to ascertain how broad its benefits may become, Dr Brenner is confident of its role not just in healthful ageing, but in many other associated fields too.</p> <p>“In the last two years we published multiple studies showing that we can protect against heart failure, nerve damage and central brain injury in rodents,” says Dr Brenner. “Human clinical trials are being done for neuroprotection and cardioprotection.</p> <p>“My research shows that NAD is under attack under multiple conditions of metabolic stress – including alcohol, eating too much, time zone disruption, sun and oxygen damage, noise, infection and multiple disease processes. We need NAD to power our bodies, but we also need NAD to deal with all of these common metabolic stresses. When NAD is committed to these defensive processes, less NAD coenzymes are available to convert our fuel into energy and to catalyse all of our bodily functions.”</p> <p>But are there genuine hopes that <span><a href="http://www.truniagen.co.nz/">Tru Niagen</a></span> can be the fountain of youth so many of us long for? Dr Brenner is refreshingly blunt on that score.</p> <p>“I don’t make those kinds of claims,” he says. “This is a science-based supplement and we only talk about things we can test. We do think that by improving our resistance to so many types of metabolic stress that we can age better with Tru Niagen.”</p> <p>So, it’s not a case of living longer, but living better. For those of us nodding off in front of the TV, that would count as a tremendous leap forward.</p> <p><strong>WIN!</strong></p> <p>With thanks to Dr Charles Brenner, PhD, for his time in speaking to us about the potential benefits of Tru Niagen, Over60 us giving away one bottle of <a href="http://www.truniagen.co.nz/">Tru Niagen</a> (one month's supply) to 5 lucky readers who can answer this question:</p> <p>“What is the scientific name of the rare form of vitamin B3 that Professor Brenner discovered was the most effective NAD precursor for raising NAD levels in our cells?”</p> <p>To enter, <a href="https://oversixty.us3.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=34b8574ec810ae33b89524f6b&amp;id=f266e3d8ab">click here</a>.</p> <p>For more information about Tru Niagen, visit <a href="http://www.truniagen.co.nz">www.truniagen.co.nz</a>. </p> <p><em>This is sponsored content brought to you in conjunction with <a href="http://www.truniagen.co.nz/">Tru Niagen</a>. </em></p> <p> </p> <p> </p>

Mind