Modern life has disconnected us from our sleep — here are some ways to fix it. After studying sleep for 10 years as a PhD in Cognitive Psychology, I’ve seen this disconnect first hand. People should understand and talk about their sleep like we talk about our diet and exercise. But we live in a society that admires the sleep-deprived workaholic and disregards the fully rested and more thoughtful among us. It can be hard to focus on our sleep health, so I’ve compiled 10 main takeaways from my decade in the sleep world. Hopefully these tips will help you improve the quality of your sleep, your health, and your overall well-being. 1) Don’t underestimate the Circadian Component. People generally have an idea about how much sleep they need (called the homeostatic component of sleep). For example, I know I need about 8 hours. But people often know little about their individual internal 24-hour clock, aka the circadian rhythm. Here’s what you need to know. Everyone has a 24-hour cycle that is impacted by this weird German word called zeitgebers.
Surprising science-based evidence shows face-to-face contact matters more to your health, happiness, and longevity than you might think. Developmental psychologist and awarding-winning journalist and columnist, Susan Pinker, suggests our social interactions directly impact our survival. She has poured over stacks of studies involving large populations, and her findings reveal social integration cultivates immunity and resilience within us. She illuminates us with her observations in her latest internationally acclaimed book, The Village Effect detailing how face-to-face contact makes us healthier, happier, and smarter. She explores how in-the-flesh encounters and forming tight bonds with families, friends, and communities harbor a unique effect on our mental and physical health. “Neglecting to keep in close contact with people who are important to you is at least as dangerous to your health as a pack-¬a-¬day cigarette habit, hypertension, or obesity,” she writes. Keen Observer of Modern Life Pinker has spent over two decades in clinical practice and teaching psychology after earning a BA degree from McGill University and a MASc degree from the University of Waterloo. Her weekly column, “Mind and Matter,” focuses on advances
Do you experience panic attacks and do not know what to do? A person can experience a panic attack when they least expect it. This can cause a great deal of fear and anxiety for the person. Here are six easy steps a person can follow when a panic attack strikes unexpectedly and how to overcome anxiety Take A Break: The first thing a person must do when experiencing a panic attack is to stop whatever they are doing. A panic attack can be very uncomfortable and can affect a person’s everyday thinking. Take a break to help regain your sense of comfort. Take Deep Breaths: A person should take some deep breaths to help feel better and to get rid of some of the excessive fear and anxiety. There are also many kinds of breathing exercises a person can learn to follow with the help of a mental health counselor. Taking some deep breaths can help a person relax right away. Distract Yourself: A person should try to distract themselves from the panic they are experiencing. A person could
Many individuals use the term anxiety to refer to a great deal of worry. But what does anxiety really mean? And what does anxiety look like? Awareness of anxiety symptoms and treatments can increase the likelihood of getting help and relieving any stress you may be feeling. What is Anxiety? Anxiety means an excessive worry or anxiousness that lasts for more than six months. The fear and worriedness manifest themselves in various extreme forms. These forms could look like physical and emotional ailments or psychological unrest. The toll that anxiety takes on an individual is very severe. For many individuals, it may not seem clear or evident that he or she is experiencing an anxiety disorder due to the lack of knowledge and information about its manifestation (anxiety.org). Research suggests that women are more likely to develop an anxiety disorder in their lifetime than men (McLean, 2011, pp. 1). Gender differences and anxiety has shown that the manifestation of anxiety in both women and men could be presented in a similar fashion. However, research suggests that the main difference is
“The secret to a meaningful life is meaningful relationships” – Anonymous Sociologists have noted that the people you spend the most time with largely impact your life. For example, surrounding yourself with those who smoke may make you more likely to start smoking. The five people we spend the most time with can influence our mindset, and other habits too – both good and bad. Choosing friendships with people who you admire or want to imitate can help support the lifestyle you desire. Social wellness involves meaningful, balanced relationships with family, friends, and co-workers. It takes mindfulness and careful time management to prioritize healthy, meaningful relationships. In the pursuit of financial success, it’s all too easy to lose connection with friends and family. Interestingly, social wellness is a key aspect to mental health, and largely plays into our financial success. Close friends and family help us put things into perspective, keeping our goals and pursuits in line with our personal values. social wellness What really is social wellness? Social wellness refers to the quality and stability of your relationships with others.
“I haven’t had an anxiety attack in months. I’m completely off my antidepressants, which I 100 percent attribute to diet and lifestyle changes.” – Jane Green We love hearing stories like these, where behavior changes are made to improve diet and lifestyle and positive results are clearly seen. While everyone is different and there is no one size fits all approach, research has shown the many benefits of diet and lifestyle changes for mental health. Fueling the body with nutrient dense foods supports enzyme function and serotonin levels (the happy hormone). Reduction of sugar intake improves mood and energy, while an abundance of sugar has been found to decrease a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is connected to anxiety and depression. Consider one study showing the benefits of reducing sugar intake: In 2017 a study showed those who ate 67 or more grams of sugar (17 teaspoons) had more anxiety and depression. Those who had less than 40 grams of sugar (10 teaspoons) exhibited less anxiety and depression. Reducing sugar in the diet can be difficult at first
While today’s “to do” list might have completion of a corporate project, planning a family vacation, picking up the dry cleaning, and making an evening Pilates class, I suggest you add one more item: taking steps to live long and well. Indeed, the possibility of living longer than our parents without the chronic diseases, medications, and surgeries that many of them endured is within our grasp and the key is to keep your body as young as possible while medical advances are progressing year after year. There are 4 things you can do starting today to maximize your odds of living long and well. None of them take much time or expenses. 1) Know Your “Arterial Age” Over 400 years ago the leading English physician, Thomas Sydenham, wrote that “we are as old as our arteries” and he has proven to be on target all these centuries later. The #1 killer worldwide, atherosclerosis, is not typically tested for at annual physicals but it can be screened for in a highly accurate, safe, and available manner that reveals whether your arteries are
Makin Wellness founder, Sara Makin, recently did a juice feast with The Pittsburgh Juice Company! This allowed her to get firsthand experience on how healthy, organic juices can benefit your body. This juice “feast” lasted five days and consisted of about six organic juices and smoothies per day. Each juice contained a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Only a very small amount of food was eaten during the feast. Preparation A juice cleanse is a big diet change, and in order for it to go smoothly, it is important to prepare ahead of time. A few days before the cleanse begins it helps to cut out harmful substances like coffee, alcohol, cigarettes, and sugary drinks. The purpose of the cleanse is to remove the toxins that some of these drinks put into your body. In order to help your body be ready for a large intake of liquids, you should be sure to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water a day or two before the cleanse. Continuing to stay hydrated during the cleanse will also aid in the removal of
If you are like me, the word “microbiome” was largely unknown 5-10 years ago. Fast forward to 2020 and people approach me at dinner parties with questions like “my trainer said I need to eat more krauts for my microbiome, what do you think?” (eat ’em). But what exactly is the microbiome and is a vegan diet healthy for it? The microbiome refers to the large mass of microbes, bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites, that live on us and in us. While there is a microbiome of the skin, the genitalia, and the mouth, most of the conversation on the bugs that live with us from birth to death is focused on the GI tract, affectionately known as the gut. We can carry up to 4-5 lbs (2 kg) of microbes in our gut that represent a mass about as large as our livers. Within the tens of trillions of micro-organisms that live there are at least 1,000 species of bacteria consisting of over 3 million genes. What’s more, two-thirds of the gut microbiome—the population of microbes in the intestine—is
Bust lock-down blues, watch Elton John hosting “Living Room Concert for America” this weekend. The New Venue: Your Living Room While hunkering down the past couple of weeks, we’ve come to realize all of our neighbors are in the same predicament. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, famous or infamous, happy or sad, alone or with loved ones, we need to be at home to get through these difficult times. It is not a time to be selfish or take an undue risk; in fact, nothing could be worse. So, with venues and bars shut down from coast to coast, some of our favorite entertainers have taken it upon themselves to do what they do best. They’re performing from the safety of their own homes filming with their personal cell phones, cameras, and audio equipment. Billboard magazine is keeping its readers informed about the latest and greatest live streams and virtual concerts to watch while at home, as well as other current events in the music world. Living Room Concert for America While there have been a