Mind

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What is exposure therapy and how can it treat social anxiety?

<p>Most of us experience a level of social anxiety at some point in our lives. We worry about what people think of us, about being excluded, about being judged or humiliated.</p> <p><a href="http://www.dsm5.org/Documents/Social%20Anxiety%20Disorder%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf">Social anxiety</a> is characterised by an excessive fear of negative evaluation or judgement, triggered by social or performance situations. For social anxiety to be considered a disorder, the person must also be distressed by their social concerns or report a disruption in their life. They may find it difficult to interact with work colleagues, to make friends, or even to have brief conversations with others.</p> <p>Excessive social anxiety <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27124713">makes us feel lonely</a> and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12950433">reduces our quality of life</a>. Social anxiety disorder is the most <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18374843">common anxiety disorder</a> and begins as early as 11 years of age.</p> <p>Exposure therapy – where people face their feared social situations, with the guidance of a therapist – is one form of treatment that can be used to reduce excessive social anxiety symptoms. So how does it work?</p> <p><strong>Avoidance and safety behaviours</strong></p> <p>Although it’s normal to want to avoid social situations that make us uncomfortable, social fears almost always become worse when we avoid those situations.</p> <p>Avoidance can mean a conscious decision to avoid a dreaded social situation, such as deciding not to go to a party, or it can mean using “<a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/behavioural-and-cognitive-psychotherapy/article/the-importance-of-behaviour-in-the-maintenance-of-anxiety-and-panic-a-cognitive-account/B3BAA0EFEF179C99BBCA5F983B05A534">safety behaviours</a>” to cope with or avoid a perceived threat.</p> <p>Overt safety behaviours might include wearing a hat to cover your face, away from scrutiny. Covert acts involve mental actions, such as excessive effort in memorising a speech before giving it.</p> <p>People with excessive social anxiety often attribute feeling safer or averting a distressing social situation to the fact they carried out these safety behaviours. For example, “no one looked at me in a weird way because I wore a hat”, or “the speech went OK because I made the effort to memorise it all”.</p> <p>The problem is, when safety rules becomes established, actions become conditional on them. For example, “the only way I can be safe from scrutiny is to keep my face hidden”. Safety behaviours need to be addressed, or they can <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0005789405800887">undermine treatment</a> and <a href="http://ac.els-cdn.com/S0005791607000055/1-s2.0-S0005791607000055-main.pdf?_tid=ac4c1996-8c24-11e6-ab6a-00000aab0f02&amp;acdnat=1475800161_24fbf140a28404d7a162e57ca6625247">end up maintaining</a> the person’s anxiety levels.</p> <p><strong>What is exposure therapy?</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0005796715300802">Exposure therapy</a> is where people face a feared social situation until their anxiety decreases or the anxiety-related expectancies are disrupted.</p> <p>It’s a <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15022272">well-researched treatment</a> for anxiety disorders and is usually done within <a href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-what-is-cognitive-behaviour-therapy-37351">cognitive behaviour therapy</a>, which also addresses the underlying unhelpful thoughts.</p> <p>Exposure to the source of social anxiety is confronting, but it’s possible to achieve your goals with professional guidance. A trained therapist is able to identify the source of these social concerns, how severe they are and whether this has stopped you from doing what you would like to do.</p> <p>More importantly, a trained therapist can identify and address any unhelpful thoughts and beliefs you may carry.</p> <p>There are different <a href="http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/anxiety/exposure-therapy-anxiety-disorders">variations</a> of exposure strategies and the choice of which type to use is dependent on the situation. Real world confrontation, such as speaking in front of a large audience, is one possibility, but it may not always be possible.</p> <p>Vividly imagining the feared situation, role-playing with the therapist and using technology such as <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Meta-analysis+of+technology-assisted+interventions+for+social+anxiety+disorder">virtual reality</a> can also deliver exposure. Other modes of delivery include flooding (tackling the most difficult task straight away) or systematic desensitisation (often combined with relaxation exercises).</p> <p>Therapists often grade the level of exposure to social situations that make the person distressed, from easiest to hardest, to ensure the process is safe and tolerable. There is, however, a risk that therapists deliver these treatments too quickly and too much, which can cause distress and a reluctance to try again. Treatment may also be approached in an overly cautious way, which slows down its <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0005796716301425">effectiveness</a>.</p> <p><strong>How does it work?</strong></p> <p>Say your feared social situation is going to a party. Here’s an example of how graded exposure therapy might play out:</p> <p>1) Rank how anxious you feel about going to different types of parties. You can use a 0 to 100 scale (0 refers to no anxiety at all or 100 very anxious) or rank it from lowest to very high anxiety (as below).</p> <p><iframe src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/puj2g/1/" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" width="100%" height="455"></iframe></p> <p>2) Select a task lower down on the list. This is a task that you find difficult but feel you can succeed in. If you are unable to stay engaged with this task, go back and select an easier task.</p> <p>3) Stay in the situation until your anxiety reduces.</p> <p>4) Repeat it until the task becomes easy. Only move to a more difficult task when you feel comfortable with your current task.</p> <p>5) Reflect on what happened and what you can take away from the exercise. Some of your predictions of social disasters, for instance, may not have occurred.</p> <p>Always target something you can succeed in. In this example, option two or three may be too difficult for you to work on. But you may be able to manage option four (having lunch with colleagues).</p> <p>Don’t rely on your safety behaviours. For example, you may find that you spend a lot of time fiddling with your mobile or drinking too much alcohol to feel more comfortable. If you feel a need to use any of your safety behaviours, first select a task you feel more comfortable with.</p> <p>Don’t feel like you have to get rid of all your anxiety. It is normal to feel socially anxious. And don’t expect your social anxiety to go away immediately.</p> <p>Finally, practise again until you feel more comfortable. You can move to a more difficult task only after you feel comfortable with the previous task.</p> <p>Keep in mind that individual cognitive-behaviour therapy is the single <a href="http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpsy/article/PIIS2215-0366(14)70329-3/abstract">most effective</a> treatment for those with <a href="https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg159/chapter/1-Recommendations">social anxiety disorder</a>, more so than exposure therapy alone. So while exposure therapy may help, it’s best if it forms part of an individual cognitive-behaviour therapy plan.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/64483/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Michelle H Lim, Lecturer and Clinical Psychologist, Swinburne University of Technology</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-what-is-exposure-therapy-and-how-can-it-treat-social-anxiety-64483"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

Mind

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Memory and attention difficulties are often part of a normal life

<p>From young adults to people in their 60s, everyday functioning in today’s world can place high demands on our attention and memory skills.</p> <p>Memory lapses such as forgetting an appointment, losing our keys, forgetting a distant relative’s name or not remembering why you opened the fridge can leave us believing our thinking skills are impaired.</p> <p>But you might be too hard on yourself. Tiredness, stress and worry, and feeling down or depressed are all common reasons adults experience attention and memory difficulties.</p> <p><strong>Attention and memory systems</strong></p> <p>Attention and memory skills are closely connected. Whether we can learn and remember something partly depends on our ability to concentrate on the information at the time.</p> <p>It also depends on our ability to focus our attention on retrieving that information when it’s being recalled at a later time.</p> <p>This attention system, which is so important for successful memory function, has a limited capacity – we can only make sense of, and learn, a limited amount of information in any given moment.</p> <p>Being able to learn, and later successfully remember something, also depends on our memory system, which stores the information.</p> <p><strong>Changes in attention and memory skills</strong></p> <p>In people who are ageing normally, both attention and memory systems <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2018-45562-001">gradually decline</a>. This decline starts in our early 20s and continues slowly until our 60s, when it tends to speed up.</p> <p>During normal ageing, the number of connections between brain cells slowly reduce and some areas of the brain progressively work less efficiently. These changes particularly occur in the areas of the brain that are important for memory and attention systems.</p> <p>This normal ageing decline is different from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, which cause progressive changes in thinking skills, emotions and behaviour that are not typical of the normal ageing process. Dementia comes from a group of diseases that affect brain tissue and cause abnormal changes in the way the brain works.</p> <p>If you’re concerned your memory difficulties may be a symptom of dementia, talk to your GP, who can refer you to a specialist, if needed, to determine whether these changes are due to normal ageing, dementia or some other cause.</p> <p>If you experience persistent changes in your thinking skills, which are clearly greater than your friends and acquaintances who are of a similar age and in similar life circumstances, see your GP.</p> <p><strong>Normal attention and memory difficulties</strong></p> <p>Broadly, there are two main reasons healthy adults experience difficulties with their memory and/or attention: highly demanding lives and normal age-related changes.</p> <p>A person can be consistently using their attention and memory skills at high levels without sufficient mental relaxation time and/or sleep to keep their brain working at its best.</p> <p>Young adults who are working, studying and then consistently using attention-demanding devices as “relaxation” techniques, such as computer games and social media interaction, <a href="https://willsull.net/resources/KaplanS1995.pdf">fall into this group</a>.</p> <p>Adults <a href="https://eds.b.ebscohost.com/abstract?site=eds&amp;scope=site&amp;jrnl=21528675&amp;AN=83525068&amp;h=746XcJnf0qjmaQYDoqYWEsXgl8RLBY8oP631iGbnBfEIOVCJNS12LFen5etfOkNg5UAJ6nKqJipZs%2b4OKOVZLw%3d%3d&amp;crl=c&amp;resultLocal=ErrCrlNoResults&amp;resultNs=Ehost&amp;crlhashurl=login.aspx%3fdirect%3dtrue%26profile%3dehost%26scope%3dsite%26authtype%3dcrawler%26jrnl%3d21528675%26AN%3d83525068">juggling the demands</a> of work or study, family and social requirements also fall into this group.</p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-how-much-sleep-do-we-need-29759">Most adults need</a> around seven to nine hours of sleep per night for their brain to work at its best, with older adults needing seven to eight hours.</p> <p>The second common reason is a combination of ageing-related brain changes and highly demanding work requirements.</p> <p>For people in jobs that place a high load on thinking skills, the thinking changes that occur with normal ageing <a href="https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Memory-complaint-as-a-predictor-of-cognitive-a-of-Blazer-Hays/41fd23f208c261065296a54b826602ff2bf8ee09">can become noticeable</a> at some point around 55 to 70 years of age. It’s around this time age-related changes in the ability to carry out complex thinking tasks become large enough to be noticeable. People who are retired or don’t have the same mentally demanding jobs generally experience the same changes, but may not notice them as much.</p> <p>This is also the age many people become more aware of the potential risk of dementia. Consequently, these normal changes can result in high levels of stress and concern, which can result in a person experiencing even greater difficulties day to day.</p> <p><strong>Emotional distress can take its toll</strong></p> <p>Feeling down and sad can affect memory and concentration. When a person is feeling worried and/or down regularly, they may become consumed by their thoughts.</p> <p>It’s important to recognise how you’re feeling, to make changes or seek help if needed. But thinking a lot about how you’re feeling can also take a person’s attention away from the task at hand and make it difficult for them to concentrate on what is happening, or remember it clearly in the future.</p> <p>So feeling worried or down can make it seem there is something wrong with their memory and concentration.</p> <p><strong>Boosting your attention and memory skills</strong></p> <p>There are a number of things that can be done to help your day-to-day memory and attention skills.</p> <p>First, it’s important to properly rest your mind on a regular basis. This involves routinely doing something you enjoy that doesn’t demand high levels of attention or memory, such as exercising, reading for pleasure, walking the dog, listening to music, relaxed socialising with friends, and so on.</p> <p>Playing computer games, or having a lengthy and focused session on social media, requires high levels of attention and other thinking skills, so these are not good mental relaxation techniques when you are already mentally tired.</p> <p> </p> <p>It’s also important to get enough sleep, so you are not consistently tired – undertaking exercise on a regular basis often helps with getting good quality sleep, as does keeping alcohol consumption <a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/managing-your-alcohol-intake">within recommended limits</a>.</p> <p>Looking after your mental health is also important. Noticing how you are feeling and getting support (social and/or professional) during longer periods of high stress or lowered mood will help ensure these things are not affecting your memory or concentration.</p> <p>Finally, be fair to yourself if you notice difficulties with your thinking. Are the changes you notice any different to those of other people your own age and in similar circumstances, or are you comparing yourself to someone younger or with less demands in their life?</p> <p>If you have ongoing concerns about your attention and memory, speak with your GP, who can refer you to a specialist, such as a clinical neuropsychologist, if needed.</p> <p><em>Written by <span>Jacqueline Anderson, Senior Lecturer in Clinical Neuropsychology, University of Melbourne</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/memory-and-attention-difficulties-are-often-part-of-a-normal-life-119539"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

Mind

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The Stroop Effect quiz that only 1 in 5 can pass

<p><span>In today’s world, most things are designed to steal your attention – from the billboard ads to your phone screen. With these disruptions, it can be hard to concentrate on any task at hand.</span></p> <p><span>To test your focus, you can try the famous Stroop task. The challenge estimates one’s selective attention, or the ability to respond to certain environmental stimuli while ignoring others. In the test, people are asked to name the colour of a printed word rather than the actual word itself – for example, if the word “blue” is printed in yellow, participants should answer “yellow”.</span></p> <p><span>A variety of the Stroop effect quiz below has been tested on 2,000 adults in the UK. While 79 per cent received a perfect score for matching colours, only 21 per cent managed to get all the answers right when it came to incongruent colours. </span></p> <p><span>Young people and those who exercise frequently performed the best. 29 per cent of Generation Z – or those born between 1995 and 2010 – scored 10 out of 10 on incongruent colours, compared with only 11.1 per cent of Generation X and 13.4 per cent of Baby Boomers.</span></p> <p><span>Out of those who engaged in physical activity daily, 28.2 per cent earned a perfect mark. Meanwhile, only 18.5 per cent of the people who rarely exercised got all the answers on incongruent colours correct.</span></p> <p><span>Wonder how you fare? Try the test below.</span></p> <div class="test-app" style="width: 100%; height: 600px; margin: 0 auto; background: #fff; position: relative;"><iframe data-url="https://www.lenstore.co.uk/vc/the-stroop-effect/#embed" src="https://www.lenstore.co.uk/vc/the-stroop-effect/#embed" style="position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; border: 1px solid #ccc;"></iframe></div> <div class="meframe"></div> <p> </p> <div><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.lenstore.co.uk/vc/the-stroop-effect/" target="_blank">Stroop Effect</a> by <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.lenstore.co.uk/contact-lenses" target="_blank">Lenstore UK</a></div> <p> </p>

Mind

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The essential guide to a deeper sleep

<div id="page1" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-title">Doing everything right and still not sleeping?</div> <div class="slide-description"> <p>You’re trying to get a good night’s sleep. You pour your last cup of coffee for the day approximately five minutes after you get up in the morning, and your bedtime routine is so calming, it could put a wired four year old into a coma. You banish worries by writing them down in a special notebook you keep by the bed, right next to your warm milk and drug-free, homeopathic, fragrance-based sleep aids. So why do you still find yourself staring at the ceiling?</p> <p>It’s time to listen to what some unexpected experts have to say. Their jobs don’t necessarily include long hours in a laboratory studying sleep problems, but what they know about a multitude of other irritants – stomach ills and back pain and windows in need of shades – just might put you out for the night.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div id="page2" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-title"><strong>Rethink your mattress</strong></div> <div class="slide-title"></div> <div class="slide-title">“You don’t need a really expensive mattress or one with a lot of space-age bells and whistles. There’s really only one good study on mattresses, and it confirmed the Goldilocks theory: most people prefer a mattress that’s not too hard and not too soft. So look for something medium firm.”</div> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Orthopaedic surgeon Dr Andrew Hecht</p> <p>“If you can, try the type of mattress you’re considering in a hotel or at a friend’s house. Some stores may even let you sleep on it for a night. Some mattress companies will also give you a full refund if you don’t like it after a month.”</p> <p>Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, cofounder of the <em>Apartment Therapy</em> website</p> </div> </div> </div> <div id="page3" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-title"><strong>Stick to one pillow</strong></div> <div class="slide-description"> <p>“I’m not a fan of sleeping with two pillows if you’re a back sleeper because it makes your upper back curve and strains the neck and back. If you need to sleep up high for medical reasons, get a wedge and put your pillow on it.”</p> <p>Chiropractor Dr Karen Erickson<a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/25-things-you-need-know-about-sleep-right-now" target="_blank"></a></p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/conditions/sleep/the-essential-guide-to-a-deeper-sleep"><strong>Don’t harp on your number</strong></div> </div> </div> </div> <div id="page4" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>“We expect to sleep for eight solid hours, but that’s actually not normal compared with global populations and our own evolutionary history. People naturally wake up two or three times a night. It’s worrying about it that’s the problem.”</p> <p>Anthropologist Carol Worthman</p> </div> </div> </div> <div data-fuse="21833175500"><strong>Avoid tummy trouble</strong></div> <div id="page5" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-image"></div> <div class="slide-image">“If you’re not sleeping well, you may have acid reflux, even if you don’t feel heartburn. Try elevating your head by putting blocks under the top of the bed and sleeping on your left side. Or you can take a dose of Gaviscon [an over-the-counter remedy that creates a protective barrier against stomach acid].”</div> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Gastroenterologist Dr Patricia Raymond</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/conditions/sleep/the-essential-guide-to-a-deeper-sleep"><strong>Take a slumber-triggering supplement</strong></div> </div> </div> </div> <div id="page6" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>“Low magnesium is associated with irritability and jumpiness. It’s also known to cause chronic inflammatory stress, and insomniacs often have chronic inflammatory stress. So it’s possible that taking a magnesium supplement – 100 to 200 milligrams a day – will help with sleep.”</p> <p>Specialist research nutritionist Dr Forrest Nielsen<a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/conditions/sleep/16-bedtime-snacks-will-help-you-sleep-better" target="_blank"></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div id="page7" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-title"><strong>Make sleeping pets lie</strong></div> <div class="slide-description"> <p>“You may not need a white noise machine, but your dog might. A lot of dogs are very sensitive to noises outside, such as other dogs barking or neighbours coming home late. A white noise machine or fan will drown out the noises that are keeping your pet up, which will keep your pet from waking you.”</p> <p>Pet-training consultant Tracey Schowalter</p> <p>“Dogs sleep when they’re bored. If you keep them awake during the day, they’re more likely to sleep at night.”</p> <p>Dog handler Kathy Diamond Davis<a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/home-tips/8-reasons-you-should-never-let-your-cat-sleep-your-bed" target="_blank"></a></p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/conditions/sleep/the-essential-guide-to-a-deeper-sleep"><strong>Learn to share</strong></div> </div> </div> </div> <div id="page8" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-image"></div> <div class="slide-image">“If you like a firmer mattress and [your partner] likes a softer one, you don’t have to compromise. Get two singles, push them together, and use king sheets. Or you can buy a strap that attaches the mattresses to each other.”</div> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Alan Hedge, professor of ergonomics</p> <p>“One of the biggest disrupters of sleep is the pulling and tugging of sheets and blankets. I tell couples that each person should have a sheet and blanket. If you pull a big comforter or duvet over the top when you make the bed, you really can’t tell. Couples call me after I suggest that and say, ‘Wow – you changed our marriage.’”</p> <p>Chiropractor and sleep expert Robert Oexman<a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/match-right-mattress-your-unique-sleeping-style" target="_blank"></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div id="page9" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-title"><strong>Go to bed angry</strong></div> <div class="slide-description"> <p>“The classic line is that you shouldn’t go to bed angry, but that’s sometimes impossible. If you’re lying in the same bed but mentally throwing darts at each other, go to sleep on the couch.”</p> <p>Psychotherapist Jeffrey Sumber<a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/drama/13-normal-fights-even-happy-couples-have" target="_blank"></a></p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/conditions/sleep/the-essential-guide-to-a-deeper-sleep"><strong>Nod off with the right scent</strong></div> </div> </div> </div> <div id="page10" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>“My research has found that any new smell, even one associated with relaxation, such as lavender, can make you feel more alert and vigilant. You’re better off with a scent that makes you feel safe and comfortable. There really is something to cuddling up with your spouse’s undershirt.”</p> <p>Pamela Dalton, odour-perception expert and sensory psychologist</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/conditions/sleep/the-essential-guide-to-a-deeper-sleep"><strong>Be smart about allergies</strong></div> </div> </div> </div> <div id="page11" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>“Pillows and bed coverings advertised as ‘hypoallergenic’ aren’t necessarily worth buying. That just means a product is made out of a substance you can’t be allergic to, not that it prevents allergies. Instead, get dustmite-proof covers for your pillow, mattress, and box spring.”</p> <p>Allergist Dr Jacqueline Eghari-Sabet</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/conditions/sleep/the-essential-guide-to-a-deeper-sleep"><strong>Heat up to keep your cool</strong></div> </div> </div> </div> <div id="page12" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>“A hot bath will increase your skin temperature, which eventually decreases your core body temperature. Do the same thing for yourself that you’d do for a young child – make sure you take a bath a half hour or so before bed time.”</p> <p>Robert Oexman</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/conditions/sleep/the-essential-guide-to-a-deeper-sleep"><strong>Tamp down hot flashes</strong></div> </div> </div> </div> <div id="page13" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>“If you wake up with hot flashes, of course you should keep the room cool and wear layered sleep clothing. But also keep a glass of ice water by the bed; sipping it will help lower your body temperature so you can get back to sleep.”</p> <p>Dr Becky Wang-Cheng, coeditor of<span> </span><em>Menopause</em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/9-surprising-postmenopausal-health-risks-you-cant-ignore" target="_blank"></a></p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/conditions/sleep/the-essential-guide-to-a-deeper-sleep"><strong>Reduce use of technology</strong></div> </div> </div> </div> <div id="page14" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>“The cooler white and blue light emitted by a computer monitor stimulates brain activity and makes it difficult for your brain to wind down. Download the software at stereopsis.com/flux. It gradually dims your screen at sundown, shifting your monitor’s colours to warmer red hues.”</p> <p>Time-management coach Colin Grey</p> <p>“Watching TV at night may seem relaxing, but it beams light into your eyes, which is an ‘alert’ signal for the brain. Read a book before bed instead.”</p> <p>Psychiatrist Dr Tara Brass</p> </div> </div> </div> <div id="page15" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-title"><strong>Avoid ‘anti-sleeping’ pills containing caffeine</strong></div> <div class="slide-description"> <p>“A lot of people take bedtime pain relievers that contain caffeine and don’t even realise it. Check the label: caffeine is always listed as an active ingredient.”</p> <p>Jan Engle, professor of pharmacy</p> <p>“An oral decongestant might help you breathe better, but it can increase your heart rate, which makes it hard to sleep. A nasal decongestant can rev you up too. At night, try a saline spray or wash instead.”</p> <p>Pharmacist Eric Alvarez</p> <p><em>Written by <span>Michelle Crouch</span>. This article first appeared in </em><span><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/think-your-sex-life-over-after-40-hardly"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></span></p> </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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Royal news: Fab foursome make incredible announcement

<p>Royal fans rejoice! The fab four are back again with an incredible announcement for the world. </p> <p>Prince William, Duchess Kate, Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan may be heading their separate ways with their own charities ahead of the recent news that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were splitting form the Royal foundation, but that doesn't mean they won’t continue to do incredible work together. </p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.2187812187812px;" src="/media/7829121/fab-four-1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/b01e946709ff42999ba1ec758538a142" /></p> <p>The two royal couples took to Instagram on July 31 to share some heartwarming news about an initiative the foursome started together a few months ago. </p> <p>Give Us A Shout is a charity launched by the fab four and helps people when they are in a moment of crisis or need immediate help. </p> <p>It was launched by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in May and has just reached 100,000 conversations – a positive sign help is being given to those who truly need it. </p> <p>"Congratulations to the incredible team of @giveusashoutinsta volunteers, who have now taken 100,000 text conversations," Kensington Palace announced on Instagram.</p> <p>The<span> </span><span>@</span>SussexRoyal Instagram page shared their own inspiring message, writing: "Sending a big shout out and congratulations to the @giveusashoutinsta team."</p> <p>They also added additional information about the work Give Us A Shout does. </p> <p>"Life can feel overwhelming for so many reasons. Our Crisis Volunteers are there for you 24/7 &amp; will talk to you about whatever is troubling you: stress, relationships, anxiety, loneliness, sexuality, bullying, self-harm &amp; depression."</p> <p>Earlier this month, the Sussexes announced they would be going their own separate ways from the Royal Foundation – a longstanding project between Prince William and Prince Harry. </p> <p>The foundation will now be headed by Prince William and his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, while Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex are in the works to set up their own charity.</p>

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10 commonly misused words you need to stop getting wrong

<p>Did you know that every time you misspeak, a kitten cries? Okay, that’s not true. But get these commonly misused words down and you’ll look smarter than ever.</p> <p><strong>1. Definitive </strong></p> <p><strong>You think it means:</strong> Clearly true or real; clearly stated</p> <p>Incorrect use: My boss gave a definitive no to my idea for a start-up centred around the Sprocket – a Spring Roll/Hot Pocket hybrid.</p> <p><strong>It really means:</strong> Done or reached decisively and with authority; conclusive</p> <p>Correct use: Instead, he told me to do a thorough study of the Croissant/Hot Pocket category because he thought there was great demand for a definitive history of the Crocket.</p> <p><strong>2. Actually</strong></p> <p><strong>You think it means:</strong> Used to emphasise a strongly felt opinion</p> <p>Incorrect use: I believe that <em>Love Actually</em> is actually the finest film about relationships ever made.</p> <p><strong>It really means:</strong> As an actual fact; used to stress something unexpected or surprising</p> <p>Correct use: But I may be biased by the fact that the movie was actually recommended to me by both Hugh Grant and Chiwetel Ejiofor, two of its stars.</p> <p><strong>3. Addicted</strong></p> <p><strong>You think it means:</strong> Having a love or a particularly strong preference for a particular person, place, thing, or activity</p> <p>Incorrect use: He grew so addicted to his Fitbit fitness tracker that he found himself walking in his sleep in order to rack up more steps.</p> <p><strong>It really means:</strong> Having a compulsive physiological or psychological need beyond one’s control and to one’s detriment for a habit-forming substance.</p> <p>Correct use: He started playing late-night poker to curb his sleep-walking, and while his nighttime marches ended, he got addicted to Texas Hold ‘Em.</p> <p><strong>4. Disruptive</strong></p> <p><strong>You think it means:</strong> Unconventional; cutting-edge; bold</p> <p>Incorrect use: Her blind date told her that the two of them were incompatible because her favourite TV shows were <em>Big Little Lies</em> and <em>Game of Thrones</em> and his tastes were “much more daring and disruptive” than hers.</p> <p><strong>It really means:</strong> Marked by unrest, disorder or insubordination; in business terms, the process by which an innovation enters a market or sector and redefines it</p> <p>Correct use: The next day, she used her influence with the transit union to launch a disruptive strike that forced him and other commuters to walk miles to work.</p> <p><strong>5. Granular</strong></p> <p><strong>You think it means:</strong> Extremely detailed or specific</p> <p>Incorrect use: Much to their dismay, the weary accountants were instructed to go more granular with the budget and break down each of the 20 categories into 256 sub-categories.</p> <p><strong>It really means:</strong> Resembling small grains or particles</p> <p>Correct use: In shredding the old budgets, a malfunction turned the sheets of paper into teeny-tiny spitballs and the accountants became buried under a granular blizzard of numbers.</p> <p><strong>6. Tortuous</strong></p> <p><strong>You think it means:</strong> Very painful or unpleasant; like torture</p> <p>Incorrect use: After sitting through a tortuous, all-mime version of <em>Moby Dick</em>, she found the musical adaptation sung in Icelandic to be enjoyable if a bit noisy.</p> <p><strong>It really means:</strong> Twisting or winding; devious or indirect; circuitous or involved</p> <p>Correct use: Still, she appreciated the tortuous, decades-long road that the mimers had silently trudged to bring their show to her town.</p> <p><strong>7. Nonplussed</strong></p> <p><strong>You think it means:</strong> Unfazed</p> <p>Incorrect use: Jack was nonplussed when his new girlfriend described him as “slovenly” – he had been called that since he was a toddler and took it as a compliment.</p> <p><strong>It really means:</strong> Confused, surprised</p> <p>Correct use: But Jack’s brother Will was nonplussed when his new girlfriend described him as slovenly – he had always been neat, even as a toddler. Make sure you know these other words that mean the complete opposite of what you thought.</p> <p><strong>8. Ironic</strong></p> <p><strong>You think it means:</strong> Coincidental</p> <p>Incorrect use: Patrick told his friend it was ironic that both their children were training to join the police force.</p> <p><strong>It really means:</strong> Using words that mean the opposite of its literal meaning; marked by an incongruity between expectation and reality</p> <p>Correct use: It’s quite ironic that Patrick’s son was arrested the day after he graduated police academy.</p> <p><strong>9. Verbal</strong></p> <p><strong>You think it means:</strong> Relating to spoken words</p> <p>Incorrect use: Nancy gave me a verbal “yes” to my request to have baby animals visit the office on Fridays, but I still need written confirmation.</p> <p>It really means: Relating to words or language in any form</p> <p>Correct use: After baby sloth day, I got tons of verbal enthusiasm via email and by the water cooler from coworkers who said it was a hit.</p> <p><strong>10. Travesty</strong></p> <p><strong>You think it means:</strong> Tragedy</p> <p>Incorrect use: It was such a travesty that I was sick when there was cake in the office.</p> <p><strong>It really means:</strong> A horribly inferior imitation</p> <p>Correct use: Then again, I heard down the grapevine that the gluten-free, vegan, keto-friendly cake was a travesty of the birthday cakes I grew up with.</p> <p><em>Written by Daryl Chen. This article first appeared in </em><span><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/our-language/10-commonly-misused-words-you-need-to-stop-getting-wrong?slide=all"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></span></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

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Research shows siblings can make you more empathic

<p>For decades, researchers have demonstrated the numerous ways in which parents can positively influence their children’s development. This includes <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140197104000600">how confident they are</a>, how <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10648-005-3950-1">well they do in school</a> and how they <a href="http://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2Fa0035736">interact with their friends</a></p> <p>Far less attention has focused on the impact of children’s relationships with their brothers and sisters, despite the fact that most people grow up with at least one sibling and they tend to spend more time with one another than with <a href="https://dx.doi.org/10.1007%2Fs10567-011-0104-5">parents or friends</a>.</p> <p>Our research at the University of Calgary and the University of Toronto shows that siblings, like parents, can have a dramatic impact on one another’s development. We’ve found, for example, that warmth and support from an older sibling can help boost the younger sibling’s <a href="http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/133/2/e394.short">language development</a> and their <a href="http://psycnet.apa.org/record/2017-12257-001">understanding of others’ minds and points of view</a>.</p> <p>In a paper published in the journal <em>Child Development</em>, we show that siblings can also play a role in the <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cdev.13015/full">development of empathy</a>.</p> <p>We found that children who are kind, supportive and understanding influence their siblings to act and behave in similar ways. And if one sibling is struggling to be empathic but has a sibling with strong empathy skills, they manage to become more empathic over time.</p> <p><strong>Studying sibling empathy</strong></p> <p>A child who demonstrates strong empathy skills is able to show feelings of care and concern for others in need.</p> <p>Learning to be empathic early in development can set in motion lifelong strengths in <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cdev.12632/abstract">treating others with kindness, respect and understanding</a>. Empathic children become empathic friends, spouses and parents.</p> <p>In the research context, we study empathy by observing how young children respond to an adult who pretends to be upset when they broke a cherished object, hit their knee or caught their finger in a briefcase.</p> <p>We are interested in how empathy skills grow over time and whether one sibling’s empathy influences the other sibling’s growth in empathy.</p> <p>What’s important in this newly published research is that we were able to remove the influence of parents so we can attribute growth in a child’s empathy skills directly to their sibling (and not their parents).</p> <p><strong>Younger siblings have influence too</strong></p> <p>We commonly think of older siblings as having a greater impact on their younger siblings than vice-versa: Older brothers and sisters are more experienced and knowledgeable.</p> <p>However, we’ve found in our research that both younger and older siblings uniquely contribute to each others’ empathy development.</p> <p>Older siblings can be role models to the younger siblings, and vice versa —younger siblings with strong empathy skills can be role models to their older siblings.</p> <p>As long as one sibling is empathic, the other one benefits.</p> <p>What about age differences? Does it matter if one sibling is much older than the other?</p> <p>All siblings in our study were within a maximum of four years of one another in age. But we did find that in families where siblings were further apart in age, older brothers and sisters had a stronger influence on their younger siblings.</p> <p>So, the bigger the age gap, the better older siblings are at modeling empathic behaviours.</p> <p>We also found that younger brothers did not significantly influence their older sisters.</p> <p>It’s not just parents who influence how well children develop. Siblings do too. And sibling relationships are not just about rivalry, animosity, jealousy and competition for parental attention.</p> <p>Child development is a family affair.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/90755/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Sheri Madigan, Assistant Professor, Canada Research Chair in Determinants of Child Development, Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, University of Calgary; Jennifer Jenkins, Atkinson Chair of Early Child Development and Education and Director of the Atkinson Centre, University of Toronto, and Marc Jambon, Postdoctoral Fellow in Psychology, University of Toronto</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/new-research-shows-siblings-can-make-you-more-empathic-90755"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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6 ways to protect your mental health from social media's dangers

<p>More than one-third of American adults view <a href="https://www.psychiatry.org/newsroom/news-releases/americans-are-concerned-about-potential-negative-impacts-of-social-media-on-mental-health-and-well-being">social media as harmful to their mental health</a>, according to a new survey from the American Psychiatric Association. Just 5 per cent view social media as being positive for their mental health, the survey found. Another 45 per cent say it has both positive and negative effects.</p> <p>Two-thirds of the survey’s respondents believe that social media usage is related to social isolation and loneliness. There is a strong body of research linking social media use with <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2019.01.026">depression</a>. Other studies have linked it to <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.copsyc.2015.10.006">envy</a>, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.copsyc.2015.10.006">lower self-esteem</a> and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2012.0291">social anxiety</a>.</p> <p><iframe id="Rj65b" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/Rj65b/2/" height="400px" width="100%" style="border: none;" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>As a psychologist who has studied the perils of online interactions and has observed the effects of social media (mis)use on <a href="http://arlingtonbehaviortherapy.com/staff/drkpsychologist/">my clients’ lives</a>, I have six suggestions of ways people can reduce the harm social media can do to their mental health.</p> <p><strong>1. Limit when and where you use social media</strong></p> <p>Using social media can <a href="https://theconversation.com/to-improve-digital-well-being-put-your-phone-down-and-talk-to-people-82057">interrupt and interfere with in-person communications</a>. You’ll connect better with people in your life if you have certain times each day when your social media notifications are off – or your phone is even in airplane mode. Commit to not checking social media during meals with family and friends, and when playing with children or talking with a partner. Make sure social media doesn’t interfere with work, distracting you from demanding projects and conversations with colleagues. In particular, don’t keep your phone or computer in the bedroom – it <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2016.01.001">disrupts your sleep</a>.</p> <p><strong>2. Have ‘detox’ periods</strong></p> <p>Schedule regular multi-day breaks from social media. Several studies have shown that even a five-day or week-long break from Facebook can lead to <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/00224545.2018.1453467">lower stress</a> and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2016.0259">higher life satisfaction</a>. You can also cut back without going cold turkey: Using Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat just 10 minutes a day for three weeks resulted in <a href="https://doi.org/10.1521/jscp.2018.37.10.751">lower loneliness and depression</a>. It may be difficult at first, but seek help from family and friends by publicly declaring you are on a break. And delete the apps for your favorite social media services.</p> <p><strong>3. Pay attention to what you do and how you feel</strong></p> <p>Experiment with using your favorite online platforms at different times of day and for varying lengths of time, to see how you feel during and after each session. You may find that a few short spurts <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/smi.2637">help you feel better</a> than spending 45 minutes exhaustively scrolling through a site’s feed. And if you find that going down a Facebook rabbit hole at midnight routinely leaves you depleted and feeling bad about yourself, eliminate Facebook after 10 p.m. Also note that people who use social media passively, just browsing and consuming others’ posts, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2017.0668">feel worse than people who participate actively</a>, posting their own material and engaging with others online. Whenever possible, focus your online interactions on people you also know offline.</p> <p><strong>4. Approach social media mindfully; ask ‘why?’</strong></p> <p>If you look at Twitter first thing in the morning, think about whether it’s to get informed about breaking news you’ll have to deal with – or if it’s a mindless habit that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/jclp.20400">serves as an escape</a> from facing the day ahead. Do you notice that you get a craving to look at Instagram whenever you’re confronted with a difficult task at work? Be brave and brutally honest with yourself. Each time you reach for your phone (or computer) to check social media, answer the hard question: Why am I doing this now? Decide whether that’s what you want your life to be about.</p> <p><strong>5. Prune</strong></p> <p>Over time, you have likely accumulated many online friends and contacts, as well as people and organizations you follow. Some content is still interesting to you, but much of it might be boring, annoying, infuriating or worse. Now is the time to unfollow, mute or hide contacts; the vast majority won’t notice. And your life will be better for it. A recent study found that information about the lives of Facebook friends <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2019.04.032">affects people more negatively</a> than other content on Facebook. People whose social media included inspirational stories <a href="http://thejsms.org/tsmri/index.php/TSMRI/article/view/381">experienced gratitude, vitality and awe</a>. Pruning some “friends” and adding a few motivational or funny sites is likely to decrease the negative effects of social media.</p> <p><strong>6. Stop social media from replacing real life</strong></p> <p>Using Facebook to keep abreast of your cousin’s life as a new mother is fine, as long as you don’t neglect to visit as months pass by. Tweeting with a colleague can be engaging and fun, but make sure those interactions don’t become a substitute for talking face to face. When used thoughtfully and deliberately, social media can be a useful addition to your social life, but only a flesh-and-blood person sitting across from you <a href="https://doi.org/10.1515/jcc-2013-0003">can fulfill the basic human need</a> for connection and belonging.<!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Jelena Kecmanovic, Adjunct Professor of Psychology, Georgetown University</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/6-ways-to-protect-your-mental-health-from-social-medias-dangers-117651"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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The world's shortest IQ test that's only 3 questions long – and 4 out 5 people fail

<div> <div class="replay"> <div class="reply_body body linkify"> <div class="reply_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>Fewer than one in five people can answer all three questions in the world’s shortest IQ test.</p> <p>This test is dubbed the “Cognitive Reflection Test” and comes from a <a rel="noopener" href="https://pubs.aeaweb.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1257/089533005775196732" target="_blank">2005 paper</a> by MIT professor Shane Frederick. He sought to demonstrate the difference between fast thought processes that are done with little conscious deliberation and those that are slower and more reflective.</p> <p>The test is made up of only three questions that are harder than they first appear.</p> <p>“The three items on the CRT are ‘easy’ in the sense that their solution is easily understood when explained, yet reaching the correct answer often requires the suppression of an erroneous answer that springs ‘impulsively’ to mind,” Professor Frederick wrote.</p> <p><strong>The questions</strong></p> <p>1. A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?</p> <p>2. If it takes five machines five minutes to make five widgets, how long would it take 100 machines to make 100 widgets?</p> <p>3. In a lake, there is a patch of lily pads. Every day, the patch doubles in size. If it takes 48 days for the patch to cover the entire lake, how long would it take for the patch to cover half of the lake?</p> <p>Do you have your answers?</p> <p><strong>Here’s what most people guess</strong></p> <p>1. 10 cents</p> <p>2. 100 minutes</p> <p>3. 24 days</p> <p>Professor Frederick noted that the intuitive answer to the first question is 10 cents, but this “impulsive answer” is wrong.</p> <p>“Anyone who reflects upon it for even a moment would recognise that the difference between $1 and 10 cents is only 90 cents, not $1 as the problem stipulates,” he wrote.</p> <p>“In this case, catching that error is tantamount to solving the problem, since nearly everyone who does not respond ‘10 cents’ does, in fact, give the correct response.”</p> <p><strong>The correct answers</strong></p> <p>1. 5 cents</p> <p>2. 5 minutes</p> <p>3. 47 days</p> <p>Presh Talwalker, who is the author of <em>The Joy of Game Theory: An Introduction to Strategic Thinking</em>, explained the answers on his blog, <a rel="noopener" href="https://mindyourdecisions.com/blog/2013/06/24/can-you-correctly-answer-the-cognitive-reflection-test-83-percent-of-people-miss-at-least-1-question/" target="_blank">Mind Your Decisions.   </a></p> <p>1. “Say the ball costs X. Then the bat costs $1 more, so it is X + 1. So we have bat + ball = X + (X + 1) = 1.1 because together they cost $1.10. This means 2X + 1 = 1.1, then 2X = 0.1, so X = 0.05. This means the ball costs five cents and the bat costs $1.05.”</p> <p>2. “If it takes five machines five minutes to make five widgets, then it takes one machine five minutes to make one widget (each machine is making a widget in five minutes). If we have 100 machines working together, then each can make a widget in five minutes. So there will be 100 widgets in five minutes.”</p> <p>3. “Every day FORWARD the patch doubles in size. So every day BACKWARDS means the patch halves in size. So on day 47 the lake is half full.”</p> <p>The answers between men and women also varied.</p> <p>“Even if one focuses only on respondents who gave the wrong answers, men and women differ. Women’s mistakes tend to be of the intuitive variety, whereas men make a wider variety of errors,” Prof. Frederick wrote.</p> <p>“For every CRT item the ratio of ‘intuitive’ mistakes to ‘other’ mistakes is higher for women than for men. Thus, the data suggest that men are more likely to reflect on their answers and less inclined to go with their intuitive responses.”</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div>

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Guilty about that afternoon nap? Don’t be – it’s good for you

<p>You may be familiar with that feeling of overwhelming sleepiness during the mid-afternoon. It’s common, occurs whether you’ve eaten lunch or not, and is caused by a natural<span> </span><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8795795">dip in alertness</a><span> </span>from about 1 to 3pm. So, if you find yourself fighting off sleep in the middle of the day and you’re somewhere where you can have a nap, then do it.</p> <p>Taking the time for a brief nap will<span> </span><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16796222">relieve the sleepiness</a><span> </span>almost immediately and improve alertness for several hours after waking. And there are many other benefits too.</p> <p><strong>Understanding why we nap</strong></p> <p>People nap for lots of reasons, some which are:</p> <ul> <li> <p>to catch up on lost sleep</p> </li> <li> <p>in anticipation of sleep loss to avoid feeling sleepy later on</p> </li> <li> <p>for enjoyment, boredom or to pass time.</p> </li> </ul> <p>Napping is relatively common. In fact, about 50% of us<span> </span><a href="http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0113666">report taking a nap</a><span> </span>at least once per week.</p> <p>Napping rates<span> </span><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=SIESTAS+AMONG+BRAZILIAN+NATIVE+TERENA+ADULTS++A+STUDY+OF+DAYTIME+NAPPING">are greater</a><span> </span>in countries like Greece, Brazil and Mexico that have a culture of<span> </span><em>siesta</em>, which incorporate “quiet time” in the early afternoon for people to go home for a nap. In such countries, up to 72% of people will nap as often as four times per week.</p> <p><strong>The perks of napping</strong></p> <p>Naps are not only beneficial because they make us feel less sleepy and more alert, but because they improve our<span> </span><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21075238">cognitive functioning</a>, reaction times, short-term memory and even our mood.</p> <p>Our research (not yet published) has found those who regularly nap report feeling more alert after a brief nap in the afternoon when compared to those who only nap occasionally.</p> <p>Another<span> </span><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16540232">research group</a><span> </span>found that motor learning, which is where brain pathways change in response to learning a new skill, was significantly greater following a brief afternoon nap for regular nappers when compared to non-nappers.</p> <p>In fact, the overall benefits of naps are similar to those experienced after<span> </span><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7792499">consuming caffeine</a>(or other stimulant medications) but without the side effects of caffeine dependence and possibly disrupted sleep at night time.</p> <p><strong>How long should a nap be?</strong></p> <p>The amount of time you spend napping really depends on the time you have available, how you want the nap to work for you, and your plans for the coming night. Generally speaking, the longer a nap is, the longer you will feel rejuvenated after waking.</p> <p>Long naps of one to two hours during the afternoon will mean you are less sleepy (and require less sleep) that night. This could mean it will take longer than usual to fall asleep.</p> <p>If you are planning to stay up later than usual, or if taking a little longer to fall asleep at bedtime is not bothersome, time your nap for about 1.5 hours. This is the length of a normal sleep cycle. You will experience deep sleep for about an hour or so followed by light sleep for the last half an hour.</p> <p>Waking up during light sleep will leave you feeling refreshed and alert. However, waking during deep sleep will not. If you sleep too long and miss the light sleep at the end of a nap, chances are you will wake up feeling sluggish and drowsy. If you do experience feeling drowsy after a nap, don’t worry – this feeling is temporary and will go away after a while.</p> <p>Another option is to have a brief “power” nap. Brief naps of 10-15 minutes can significantly improve alertness, cognitive performance and mood<span> </span><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12220317">almost immediately after waking</a>. The benefits typically last for a few hours.</p> <p>Power naps are great because you won’t experience any sluggish or drowsy feelings after waking. This is because you do not enter any deep sleep during this brief time.</p> <p>Research<span> </span><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10210616">suggests</a>, a brief,<span> </span><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10380949">early-to-mid-afternoon nap</a><span> </span>provides the greatest rejuvenation when compared to naps at any other time of the day. However, if you’re struggling to stay awake, a brief nap taken at any time can be help keep you alert.</p> <p><em>Written by Nicole Lovato. Republished with permission of <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/guilty-about-that-afternoon-nap-dont-be-its-good-for-you-89023" target="_blank">The Conversation.</a></em></p>

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“Despair and devastation”: John Edward's gut feeling about 9/11 weeks before it happened

<p>John Edward, well known psychic medium, had a gut feeling he just couldn’t shake as he was in a ballroom back in 2001.</p> <p>He shared with <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.mamamia.com.au/john-edward-medium/?utm_source=Mamamia.com.au%20-%20All%20Newsletters&amp;utm_campaign=b6079f2877-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_07_22_05_54&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_term=0_9dc62997a2-b6079f2877-211561537&amp;mc_cid=b6079f2877&amp;mc_eid=c10f87c072" target="_blank">Mamamia’s No Filter Podcast</a></em> about the weird sensation he felt as he ducked into a nearby lobby to take a phone call from a friend.</p> <p>“It was the most eerie, ominous, evil feeling. I can’t even tell you,” he said. “I get goose bumps as I tell you this. I looked around and I looked at the security guard, and then I remember looking everywhere around, and I just was like, ‘Oh’.</p> <p>“I walked out of the building, and I went to my wife. I go, ‘I need to talk to you… You have to find a new place [for the competition]; you can’t do it here next year.’ And she’s like, ‘What?’ I go, ‘I don’t want you to come down here. Go talk to your boss. You’ve got to get it moved’.”</p> <p>His wife was surprised at his sudden panic and kept pressing for an answer.</p> <p>“I go, ‘Death, despair and devastation’.”</p> <p>The nearby lobby he was standing in happened to be the World Trade Center.</p> <p>The feelings Edward felt that day in mid-August, 2001 – just weeks before tragedy struck on September 11 – sat with him for a long time. They reappeared when he was dining with friends and his wife, Sandra, suggested brunch at the World Trade Center restaurant, View of the World.</p> <p>It was here that Edward erupted.</p> <p>“I turned to her and snapped. I bit her head off, like a lunatic. She like looked at me, like, ‘I’m gonna be polite because we’re in front of other people right now, but I want to push your arse in front of an oncoming bus for the way you just spoke to me.’</p> <p>“But I just really erupted. [I said] ‘There’s no way you’re getting me in that building! There’s no way I’m going up there.’ I can’t even convey to you how it came out. It was like a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde moment. It was really weird.”</p> <p>Edward then spend the next days in a deep depression. It was so noticeable that even strangers, who recognised him from his show <em>Crossing Over,</em> asked him if he was OK.</p> <p>“I was really struggling. It was a debilitating doom-and-gloom feeling, like I didn’t want to get out of bed if I didn’t have to,” he said.</p> <p>It was only when Edward recorded an episode of CNN interview program <em>Larry King Live</em> that the fog within him lifted. The pair had spoken about loss, grief and how to cope.</p> <p>However, the following day was one that plunged the world into a state of shock and unease as two planes that were hijacked by al-Qaeda terrorists flew into the World Trade Center twin towers on September 11. The attack killed 2,977 people and reduced the buildings to toxic dust that still claims victims to this day.</p> <p>After the attack, Edward was contacted by several New Yorkers as well as people from the surrounding areas.</p> <p>“They literally said to me, ‘You were the last thing we watched, my husband and I. You were the last thing that we watched, us together. We had a conversation about grief. We had a conversation about the afterlife because of you. It was the last thing that we did.’" </p>

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Nigella Lawson: "How my daughter taught me to be happy again"

<p>Nigella Lawson is known by many as being a domestic goddess in the kitchen, but she credits her daughter for helping her transform her life after her ex-husband grabbed her by the throat.</p> <p>Charles Saatchi, advertising millionaire, shocked the world as he grabbed his then wife by the throat in public in a busy restaurant. Just seven weeks after the incident back in 2013, their 10-year marriage was over.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="/media/7828843/nigella-lawson.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/8b57f00d49ae48ceab13b0a2e626367d" /></p> <p>However, Nigella’s confidence was shaken, and she developed a fear of being photographed or being seen in public.</p> <p>Her daughter, Cosima Diamond, 25, is credited with helping Nigella overcome her fear.</p> <p>“I have been forced to be guarded. I used to be more open and I’d like to think I will be again,” Nigella opened up to <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-news/nigella-lawson-says-daughter-transformed-18457049" target="_blank"><em>The Mirror.</em></a></p> <p>"Cosima said to me, ‘Mum, would you rather be a real person like you or someone who has hair and make-up done to go to the supermarket? It is better to be a real person.’ She’s right.”</p> <p>Nigella also shared that her children are the biggest fans of her cooking, but they make fun of her presenting style.</p> <p>“When I am on TV, I cook the food that I cook at home but my children always tease me.</p> <p>“I do a running commentary at home of my life like I do on TV.</p> <p>“I always wanted to do the advanced driving test as when you do it you have to do a commentary like, ‘I am now moving into second gear.’ I do feel I ought to take it.”</p> <p>Nigella says that she gets a “bit nervous or a bit awkward” due to the camera being on her.</p> <p>“The thing about television is that it is both frightening and boring.</p> <p>"It is not an act, but I do think you get a bit nervous or a bit awkward when there is a camera on you,” she explained.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/BxKJoVMlHCA/" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BxKJoVMlHCA/" target="_blank">We're delighted to welcome goddess of the kitchen, Nigella Lawson, to the Masterchef kitchen next week! 👩🍳 🥘 🥗 ❤ #MasterChefAU</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/masterchefau/" target="_blank"> MasterChef Australia</a> (@masterchefau) on May 7, 2019 at 3:51am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Nigella went into detail about her success in Australia, following her appearances on the Australian version of <em>MasterChef</em>.</p> <p>“I do like it as I like the people there. The programme has been going for 11 years,” she said.</p> <p>“They are very funny, Australians. I don’t go to America a great deal. I did for book tours, but America is a very greedy monster.</p> <p>“All they ever want to know is, ‘What are you going to do next?’ and ‘How much more are you going to do?’</p> <p>Nigella says that the pressure isn’t something that she wants for her life.</p> <p>“It is not what I want to do. If I wanted to go and work non-stop and do that I would go there.</p> <p>"I like lying about and reading books and drinking tea as well, so I don’t want a life which just becomes about making television programmes.”</p>

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How a simple 10-minute exercise can boost your happiness

<p><span>Stresses and pressures can often be inevitable in our daily lives. There is no shortage of strategies to ease a sour mood and get yourself out of a rut – <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/mind/easy-tricks-to-improve-a-bad-mood/">spending time outdoors</a>, <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/entertainment/music/this-hospital-uses-piano-music-to-boost-the-mood-and-mental-health-of-patients/">listening to music</a> and <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/mind/the-simple-trick-to-boost-your-mood-in-minutes">performing acts of kindness for others</a> are just some of them.</span></p> <p><span>But if you’re looking for a more reflective and personal exercise, this technique might just help.</span></p> <p><span>Sandi Mann, psychology lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire wrote on her book <em>Ten Minutes to Happiness </em>that writing a daily journal could help us re-orient our memory and shift our mindset to better cope with difficult situations.</span></p> <p><span>In her book, Mann outlined the six questions to use in your daily journal:</span></p> <ol> <li><span> What experiences, however mundane, gave you pleasure?</span></li> <li><span> What praise and feedback did you receive?</span></li> <li><span> What were the moments of pure good fortune?</span></li> <li><span> What were your achievements, however small?</span></li> <li><span> What made you feel grateful?</span></li> <li><span> How did you express kindness?</span></li> </ol> <p><span>One of the prominent themes from these questions is gratitude, which plays an important part in lifting our mood. Writing about things we are grateful for <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10503307.2016.1169332">has been found to improve mental health</a> as it turns our attention away from negative emotions.</span></p> <p><span>Mann said the benefits of this 10-minute review are not just limited to the writing time. Re-reading previous entries can also help us override our selective memories, which tend to be fixated on sources of unhappiness. </span></p> <p>While this method could help those who are having <a href="http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20181016-how-to-boost-your-mood-with-one-10-minute-exercise">low mood or stress without clinical symptoms</a>, Mann said people who may suffer from depression should consult with a GP for further treatment.</p>

Mind

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Think you're burnt out? Here are the signs and symptoms

<p><span>It’s a word that has become increasingly commonplace in today’s world. Now, the term has been further legitimated as the World Health Organization (WHO) included “burnout” in its International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems handbook.</span></p> <p><span>The WHO acknowledged burnout as one of the factors influencing health in the book that guides medical providers in diagnosing diseases. </span></p> <p><span>The phenomenon is included in the latest version of the handbook following a review by <a href="https://10daily.com.au/lifestyle/health/a190528nbwvd/burnout-has-been-recognised-as-a-medical-condition-20190528">the 194 member states to the World Health Assembly</a>.</span></p> <p><span>Burnout itself is described as “a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”. The WHO also noted, “Burnout refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life.”</span></p> <p><span>According to the handbook, doctors can diagnose someone with burnout if they have the symptoms of:</span></p> <ul> <li>feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;</li> <li>increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and</li> <li>reduced professional efficacy.</li> </ul> <p><span>Burnout is not exactly a new problem – it has been the subject of scientific studies for more than 40 years, according to a <a href="https://redirect.viglink.com/?format=go&amp;jsonp=vglnk_156317378883710&amp;key=a426d7531bff1ca375d5930dea560b93&amp;libId=jy40ee320102i8oq000DLb793poek&amp;loc=https%3A%2F%2Fedition.cnn.com%2F2019%2F05%2F27%2Fhealth%2Fwho-burnout-disease-trnd%2Findex.html&amp;v=1&amp;out=https%3A%2F%2Fjournals.sagepub.com%2Fdoi%2Fpdf%2F10.1177%2F2158244017697154&amp;ref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F&amp;title=Burnout%20is%20an%20official%20medical%20diagnosis%2C%20World%20Health%20Organization%20says%20-%20CNN&amp;txt=state%20of%20burnout">2017 literature review</a>. Researchers found in as early as the <a href="http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/full/10.1108/13620430910966406">1970s</a> that people could experience burnout from a chronically stressful work environment.</span></p> <p><em><span>If you are experiencing a personal crisis or thinking about suicide, you can call Lifeline 131 114 or beyondblue 1300 224 636 or visit </span></em><span><a href="https://www.lifeline.org.au/"><em>lifeline.org.au</em></a><em> or </em><a href="https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/national-help-lines-and-websites"><em>beyondblue.org.au</em></a><em>.</em></span></p>

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Renowned psychic believes David Campbell’s son is Princess Diana reincarnated

<p>Network Nine TV host David Campbell made headlines on Sunday when he said that his son Billy, 4, believes he is the “reincarnation” of Princess Diana.</p> <p>The convincing account is dividing public opinion, but Queensland-based psychic medium Peter Williams believes that it’s possible. He told <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-7255145/Psychic-David-Campbells-four-year-old-son-Princess-Diana.html" target="_blank"><em>The Daily Mail</em></a>:</p> <p>“What usually happens when we have these instances of reincarnation, there is usually a reason for it and something left over,” Peter said.</p> <p>“Billy will be able to give clarity and recall memories [from his time as Princess Diana]. It is very much in the realm [of possibility] that he could recall memories of the crash.”</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B0CBbVunkkO/" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B0CBbVunkkO/" target="_blank">She did everything for them❤❤#Diana#di#dianaspencer#diana#princessofwales#princessdiana#princessdianaforever#princessdi#ladydaiana👑 #ladydi#ladydianaspencer#angel #royalfamily#royals#peoplesprincess#queenofpeopleshearts#englandroses#hertruestorydiana#kensingtonpalace#bukinghampalace#wales#windsor#UK</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/hrh_diana.princess.of.wales/" target="_blank"> HRH_Diana princess of Wales❤👸</a> (@hrh_diana.princess.of.wales) on Jul 17, 2019 at 1:39pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The psychic medium added, “There's usually a level of trauma where they wish to come through and explain. With Princess Diana, it could very well be that."</p> <p>David went public with the theory in <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/lifestyle/stellar/david-campbell-could-my-son-be-princess-diana/news-story/708289f1c6a63c49469d473f71f8ed4d" target="_blank"><em>Stellar Magazine</em></a>, saying that Billy – who has a twin sister Betty – first identified as the late Princess Diana at age 2.</p> <p>The young boy had pointed to a photo of Diana and said, “then one day the sirens came, and I wasn't a princess anymore”.</p> <p>However, Peter was firm in that David and his wife Lisa should not lead Billy if they want to discover any secrets.</p> <p>“With any child, whether they're Princess Diana or not, when you're asking questions you want to be asking generic ones and not leading ones,” Peter said.  </p> <p>“A child's mind is easily led. You can't tell them what you're looking for. It is going to be so hard now to get this information without contaminating it, or without having a sense of bias or leading their son into this.”</p> <p>Peter also mentioned that there is a limited window into the previous lives of people.</p> <p>“Aged four through to six is the main bracket," he said. “Once they hit six or seven, a lot of children tend to lose those memories as they start school.</p> <p>“It is almost like we become tainted by this world … everything becomes black and white when you start school.”</p> <p>Peter concluded: “This four-year-old has no doubt in his mind he is Princess Diana, so the information that's going to come through will be absolutely bang on. Children do believe, they don't question and that's why they're so pure.”</p>

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How to tell if you have a boring personality

<p><span>Nobody wants to be trapped in a boring conversation. However, if you keep finding yourself having tedious interactions with the people around you, it might be time to look within.</span></p> <p><span>Afraid that you might secretly be a bore? Psychologist Barbara Greenberg prepared a set of ten questions that can help you see how you come across to those around you. There are also hints and tips for you to reflect on – it’s never too late for course correction.</span></p> <p><span>Here are some of the emerging themes from Greenberg’s questionnaire.</span></p> <p><strong><span>Curiosity</span></strong></p> <p><span>One of the most common mistakes in social interaction, Greenberg said, is to disengage from the other person. This could manifest in different ways – some people will remain quiet and add little to the conversation, while others will talk about themselves without giving those they are speaking to the opportunity to contribute to the discussion. </span></p> <p><span>Being curious about your conversation partner will allow you to learn more about their stories, figure out mutual interests, and develop a stronger bond based on shared knowledge about each other. Follow-up with genuine questions such as “How was your latest trip?” or “So what was it like working on that project?” When you are invested and interested, it is more difficult to feel dulled out. </span></p> <p><strong><span>Consideration</span></strong></p> <p><span>Conversation is a two-way street. Understanding social cues is the key here – bring up topics that you both find interesting, and make sure you both get to contribute to the discussion. Share your stories and opinions, but don’t forget to let the other person talk and encourage them to take their turn.</span></p> <p><span>Active listening is also an art to master. When you’re paying attention to another person speaking, try to avoid getting distracted or looking at other things, such as your phone or tablet. Listen well – and not just for the sake of finding ways to lead the conversation back to yourself.</span></p> <p><strong><span>Self-disclosure</span></strong></p> <p><span>How much do you reveal about yourself to other people? You might think that people would only be interested to spend time with you if their knowledge of you is limited to your “good” side, but <a href="http://www.stafforini.com/docs/Aron%20et%20al%20-%20The%20experimental%20generation%20of%20interpersonal%20closeness.pdf">a study</a> found that this is not the case. The study at Stony Brook University paired up strangers and asked them to give each other a series of questions. Strangers who asked personal, emotional questions (the last time they cried in front of someone else, their relationship with their mother) developed deeper social bonds than those who asked factual, shallow questions (favourite holiday, what they did over the summer). Many of the participants in the first group went on to have lasting friendships, and a pair even got engaged.</span></p> <p><span>Do not be afraid to draw up on your personal stories, even if they may not paint a perfect picture of you. Opening up may just be enough to get people to be at ease with you.</span></p> <p><span>Find Greenberg’s questionnaire <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-teen-doctor/201905/10-ways-determine-if-you-are-boring">here</a>.</span></p>

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How people manage their intake of tempting foods

<p>It’s happened to most of us – we walk past a restaurant, cafe or bakery and something catches our attention. A delicious smell wafts out the door and our tastebuds start tingling. With so much <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0015028217302236?via%3Dihub">cheap and easily accessible food</a> in the Western world, it’s almost unavoidable. Sometimes we don’t even need to have seen or smelled a food to experience the intense <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4918881/">desire to eat it</a>, we can get cravings just from a thought crossing our minds.</p> <p>Research has found that while resisting temptations like these <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1948550616679237">can be very hard</a>, people often do it for reasons such as health and fitness, finances, ethics and more. But what are the actual strategies that people use to refrain from eating every tasty morsel they see? For <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195666318305889?via%3Dihub">our latest study</a>, we asked a group how they manage to stop themselves consuming tempting foods and drinks on a daily basis.</p> <p>There is a <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/change4life">wealth of advice</a> available on how to manage food and drink intake. These range from the simple – for example, making a shopping list – to the extreme, such as cutting certain foods out of your diet completely. But our aim was to find out what people actually do to limit their consumption and if they find these strategies helpful.</p> <p><strong>Resisting temptation</strong></p> <p>We spoke to 25 people, who had an average age of 37 and BMIs of between 20 and 33 (healthy weight to obese). In a group discussion, we found that there were four major types of techniques that they used to manage their intake of tempting foods and drinks.</p> <p>The first focuses on reducing the availability of tempting foods. Our participants said that they found it helpful to make tempting foods unavailable or difficult to access. They locked sweets away, for example, or would not have a store of them in their homes at all. Some of the participants made a shopping list, bought groceries for the whole week instead of every few days, or chose a supermarket with limited choices.</p> <p>We also found that the study participants used different mental strategies to limit their intake. Some said they forbid themselves a certain food because once they start eating a small amount it leads them to eating a larger amount. Others took a more flexible approach, allowing themselves to have a treat but actively planning a certain time to eat it.</p> <p>In addition, some participants told us how they use exercise as a strategy to manage their consumption of tempting foods. Some found that exercise reduced their hunger and desire to eat tempting foods, while other participants didn’t want to “undo their good work” by eating tempting foods.</p> <p>Finally, the participants said that they managed their consumption by changing the formulation of their meals. The most frequently used strategies here included planning meals for a particular time, and making the food themselves. They said it is important for them to be able to choose the ingredients going into a meal, the portion size, and the time they eat it.</p> <p>In addition to these four themes, we also found that the participants did not use the strategies in isolation. They used them together to help resist temptation in the moment and/or avoid being tempted in the first place, too. These strategies were not only used by people who identified themselves as active dieters either – the participants with BMIs in the healthy range also regularly employed them to manage their eating.</p> <p>Ultimately, these findings show that there is no one way that people can easily manage food consumption. If we want people to be successful in reaching their goal of managing their intake of tempting foods and drinks – whatever their motivation may be – then the above strategies can help them.</p> <p>But changes to the environment can also offer a helping hand. One example of this is <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2818541/">stocking workplace vending machines with healthier options</a>. In reality, there is unlikely to be a quick and easy way to change our environment, but efforts to make healthier options more accessible are a good place to start. People need to be able to go about their day without having to constantly manage temptation in response to ever present reminders of tasty foods and drinks.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/111850/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Jennifer Gatzemeier, PhD Researcher in Behavioural Psychology, Swansea University; Laura Wilkinson, Lecturer in Psychology, Swansea University; Menna Price, Lecturer in Psychology, Swansea University, and Michelle Lee, Professor of Psychology, Swansea University</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/how-people-manage-their-intake-of-tempting-foods-111850"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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Are cats to blame for your impulsive behaviour?

<p>Consider yourself a cat person? Be careful – your feline friend might make you more reckless.</p> <p>Cats are well-known carriers of Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that has been associated with a rise in adventurous and impulsive tendencies. People can pick up the parasite from cats’ feces as well as a variety of other sources, such as undercooked meat and gardening soil.</p> <p>According to <span>a <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24231154">study</a> published in the journal <em>Brain, Behavior, and Immunity</em>, Toxo spreads across the brain and increases dopamine production.</span></p> <p>Because of this, the parasite has been found to have interesting effects on both animals and humans. Infected mice become more adventurous and less wary of cats – ironically, this is what increases rats’ likelihood to become prey and allow Toxo to reproduce in the cat’s body.</p> <p>Toxo also influences human behaviour. A <span><a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/03/how-your-cat-is-making-you-crazy/308873/?single_page=true">study</a></span> by Charles University in Prague suggested that Toxo infection could lead to <span><a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/03/how-your-cat-is-making-you-crazy/308873/?single_page=true">heightened anxiety</a></span>. This manifests in different ways for men and women. Infected men tend to turn more suspicious, withdrawn, <span><a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/12/do-cats-control-my-mind/282045/">prone to breaking rules</a></span> and oblivious to how other people see them, while infected women have been found to be more outgoing, rule-abiding and image-conscious – for example, dressing up more or wearing expensive, designer brands.</p> <p>Another <span><a href="https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rspb.2018.0822">study</a> by the University of Colorado re-emphasised Toxo’s effect on risk taking behaviour. It found that infected students were 40 per cent more likely to study business – a relatively risky field – than other disciplines, and 70 per cent more likely to specialise in management and entrepreneurship over other related studies such as the more stable accounting.</span></p> <p>It has also been shown that infected men and women are also more likely to get in traffic accidents, develop schizophrenia and engage in self-directed violence.</p> <p><span>The way that Toxo influences our brain responses <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1635495/#bib29">led researchers at the University of California to conclude</a> that “parasite’s subtle effect on individual personality appears to alter the aggregate personality at the population level”.</span></p> <p><span>While humans on average would not be seriously harmed by Toxo infection, the parasite can cause serious illness in those who are pregnant or have weakened immune systems – such as the sick or the elderly – as it can attack their brain, eyes and other organs.</span></p> <p><span>To prevent getting infected, <a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/toxoplasmosis"><em>healthdirect</em></a> recommends cooking meat and poultry well as well as maintaining hygiene – for example, washing hands after handling food or wearing gloves when changing the cat litter.</span></p>

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