Are Probiotics Good for Children?

In the last decade or so, the interest and use of probiotics have skyrocketed. According to Statista.com, sales of probiotic supplements in the United States amounted to $1.4 billion in 2014 and are projected to grow exponentially in the coming years.1 With numerous commercials on television these days advertising the various health benefits that probiotics […] More

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8 Hardest Parts About Being Polyamorous That No Tells You (But I Will)

Elite Daily

“Someone who’s polyamorous may have an anchor family they live with, a steady sweetie in another state, casual hookup buddies in their town, and friends they ‘swing’ with,” Aida Manduley, sexuality educator and social worker, explained to Elite Daily earlier this month. The benefits of being polyamorous typically include more romantic flexibility, greater freedom of sexual expression, and less pressure to subscribe to norms like traditional relationship timelines.

Source: ncsf

Jersey City Briefs

Hudson Reporter

“As it was previously written, the definitions of obscenity within the municipal code proved to be outdated, and ended up putting unfair restrictions on the expression of our artists and performers whose work is far from what would typically be labeled ‘obscene’,” said Mayor Fulop. “During the past few weeks, we have worked our team and community members on updating this law to reflect contemporary community standards and prevent future confusion.”

Read more: Hudson Reporter – JERSEY CITY BRIEFS

Source: ncsf

Tips for Raising Picky Eaters: What’s a Parent to Do?

If your child prefers bags of chips to healthy meals and boycotts vegetables most nights, then you may be the parent of a picky eater. While raising picky eaters is certainly a challenge, there are steps you can take to point your children in a more balanced direction. The idea of encouraging your kids to […] More

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5 Best Practices for Maintaining Good Mental Health

Mental health rarely gets the credibility it deserves. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI, 43.8 million adults in America experience mental health issues in a given year. These millions of people are experiencing an invisible, or hidden, disability. Hidden disabilities may not be visible to the naked eye, but they still significantly impact the people who have them. Individuals with hidden disabilities often report that people question the legitimacy of the barriers they face because they aren’t obvious. Whereas individuals with visible disabilities commonly face assumptions that they are unable to do certain things, individuals with hidden disabilities often face implications that their accommodations are unnecessary.

Though invisible disabilities and mental health issues don’t have to stand in the way of a full and happy life, success often hinges on the availability and accessibility of resources and treatment options. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reported that only 41 percent of adults in the U.S. with a mental health condition received services in the past year. This lack of treatment can result in major consequences. For example, the same report found that serious mental illness costs the U.S. just over $193 billion in lost earnings per year. Additionally, mood disorders, including major depression and bipolar disorder, are the third most common cause of hospitalization in the U.S. for both youths and adults aged 18-44.

Mental health can have a direct impact on other life areas, like educational attainment, sustainable employment, independent living, friendships, physical health and many other areas. In our Tangram Life Coaching services, we often see how unaddressed mental health issues can act as barriers to success in these areas, which is further compounded by the stigma attached to mental health in our culture.

Adopting good mental health management practices is a critical first step in building the foundation for overall wellness. In honor of Mental Health Month, here are five tips for achieving and maintaining positive mental health.

  1. Surround yourself with good people. People with supportive family members and friends are generally healthier than those who lack a support system. If you are struggling to find this, seek out activities where you can meet new people, such as volunteer opportunities, a new hobby or a support group.  
  2. Value your own self-worth. Treat yourself with kindness, respect and grace, avoiding self-critique. Take time to do the things you enjoy and arm yourself with the knowledge that you are doing the best you can.
  3. Set realistic goals. Decide what matters most to you in life, whether that’s academically, professionally or socially. Write those goals down and include the steps you need to take in order to achieve them. Focus on attainable goals and enjoy the sense of accomplishment you feel after completing them.
  4. Know your resources. Plenty of mental health resources exist online and in your community. Furthermore, most employers offer an Employee Assistance Program, which may offer free or reduced cost counseling or therapy, and a plethora of other resources. Colleges and universities also have mental health resources.
  5. Know your rights. Being informed is the best way to empower yourself in the event that you encounter any discrimination.

Maintaining positive mental health is vital in improving your overall wellbeing. Building a trustworthy network of family and friends, taking the time to value yourself and setting attainable goals is critical in the process of achieving a balanced and fulfilling life. It is also important that we work together as a culture to erase the stigma associated with mental health and create a supportive, inclusive community.

More information on mental health supports can be found on the following websites:

National Alliance on Mental Illness: https://www.nami.org/

MentalHealth.gov: https://www.mentalhealth.gov/

National Institute of Mental Health: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/find-help/index.shtml

Mental Health America: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/resources

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Midori: Erotic Roleplay & Finding Your Dominance – American Sex Podcast Ep 42

Our conversation with Midori will blow your mind! She’s changed countless sex lives for the better worldwide and might just change yours during this episode. Learn how to easily tap into your erotic creativity for roleplay and comfortably step into your sexual dominance. Midori tells us how to balance our “nice guy” and “bad boy” […]

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Survey: Anxiety in US On the Rise, Especially About Finances

Within the past year, anxiety among Americans has increased substantially, particularly around the issue of paying bills, according to a national poll recently released by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

On a scale of 1 to 100, this year’s overall national anxiety score is 51 — a five-point jump since 2017. Higher anxiety scores were seen across several age groups, across people of different races and ethnicities, and among men and women.

Survey respondents rated their anxiety levels in five different areas of life: health, safety, finances, relationships and politics. While the poll shows that more Americans are experiencing greater anxiety in all five areas (health, safety, finances, relationships and politics) than last year, the greatest anxiety increase was about paying bills. Nearly 75 percent of women, nearly 75 percent of young adults (18 – 34) and nearly 80 percent of Hispanic adults are somewhat or extremely anxious about paying their bills.

By generation, millennials continued to be more anxious than Gen Xers or baby boomers; however, anxiety among baby boomers showed the sharpest increase with a seven-point jump between 2017 and 2018.

Overall, women are more anxious than men, and also had a greater increase in anxiety than men between 2017 to 2018. When asked to compare their anxiety to the previous year, more than half (57 percent) of women 18-49 years reported being more anxious, compared to 38 percent of men the same age.

Older generations also see this gender difference – 39 percent of women 50 and older and 24 percent of men 50 and older say they are more anxious now than this time last year. Overall, nearly four in 10 people (39 percent) say they are more anxious than they were last year.

Other findings from the poll: People of color are more anxious than Caucasians (11 points higher on the anxiety index); Americans expressed nearly equal concerns about health, safety and paying bills, with somewhat less concern about politics and relationships; people with Medicaid are more anxious than those with private insurance.

“This poll shows U.S. adults are increasingly anxious particularly about health, safety and finances. That increased stress and anxiety can significantly impact many aspects of people’s lives, including their mental health, and it can affect families.” said APA President Anita Everett, M.D.

“It highlights the need to help reduce the effects of stress with regular exercise, relaxation, healthy eating and time with friends and family.”

The survey also asked participants about their attitudes and perceptions of mental health and treatment. The findings show that a strong majority of Americans believe a person’s mental health impacts their physical health (86 percent, up from 80 percent in 2017).

In addition, 75 percent of Americans say untreated mental illness has a significant impact on the U.S. economy. Around half say there is less stigma against people with mental illness than there was 10 years ago. However, more than one-third say they would not vote for a candidate for public office who had been diagnosed with a mental illness, even if the candidate received treatment.

Source: American Psychiatric Association

 

 

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Anxiety and Your “What If Calculator”

Some universities provide a what if calculator” to help students project possible grades. It provides the percentage they need on each test to get their desired grade at the end of the course. Based on what they would like their final grade to be, they can decide how much work and effort to put into studying for their final exam.

If we all had a what if calculator to forecast our future, life would be so much easier!

We could say we all are in a possession of a what if calculator. For many of us, that amazing thought-making machine works overtime. The problem is that though our mind means well, its calculations are not entirely accurate most of the time. Quite often, the predictions are worst-case scenarios that lead us to anxiety, avoidance, and behaviors that get in the way of living a more meaningful life.

We cannot be too harsh towards our mind’s efforts — because its job is to protect us. When it perceives something is wrong, it counsels us to stay away from places, events, and situations that could harm us. In the beginning of time, our ancestors’ what if calculators were constantly anticipating catastrophic events. The need to deliberate about past or future events was crucial to their survival. If they had not adhered to the judgments their minds provided, they would not have survived, and we would not be here.

Though we no longer encounter life-or-death occurrences like our progenitors did, our what if calculator continues to estimate our routes everywhere we go.

Do you need to believe all of your calculator’s forecasts? Some of you may say, “Yes, of course!” However, a better answer could be, “Only when it gets me closer to living the type of life I want.”

Your mind is not a crystal ball that knows the future, even though it sometimes may feel that way. Next time your what if calculator begins to predict, take a moment to answer these three questions before following its input.  

  • Am I reinforcing anxiety by following my minds’ guidance?
  • Are my mind’s projections correct when I choose to disregard its admonitions?
  • How exact are its predictions?

Keep a what if calculator journal. When you notice your mind is forecasting your future and you become anxious, write down what it’s saying. Use a scale of 1 to 10, (10 being the highest) to rate how anxious you are in that moment, and how anxious your mind says you will be unless you follow its warnings.

When the mind’s advice is favorable and moves you closer to your values, act on it. If you cannot do anything about it in that moment and/or it’s not helpful, treat the mind as an external event or separate person. Acknowledge what it says by responding with phrases like: “I hear you.” “You may be right.” “We’ll see.” “I got it in my notebook, thanks mind.” “We’ll see what happens.” “Thanks, you are doing a good job at worrying me.” Then gently get back to what you were doing in that moment. You don’t need to rush the thoughts out or hold onto them tightly. Thoughts come and go naturally. Allow them to do so by observing them and then focusing on what matters most.

Notice the evaluations throughout the day and continue acknowledging them as indicated above. Later, go back to your journal and read your notes. Record what happened when you disregarded its recommendations. Was your mind’s projection 100% accurate or less than accurate? Write it down. Include your insights and how you feel about not listening to your mind’s direction, especially when you realize it’s not useful.

The purpose of this exercise is to increase your awareness as to how your language machine operates. You will discover that you don’t have to comply every time. You can develop a sense of expectancy and curiosity. “What will my mind say today, and will it be helpful?”

Even though your what if calculator is amazing, it doesn’t contain all the information to make exact predictions each day of your life. Its rules and opinions may get you entangled and confused. The good news is that you have a choice. You can decide what to do with its calculations!  

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Aging Stereotypes Buffered by Cultural Cues in Chinese Elders

“Stereotype threat” is the fear that you will confirm to yourself or others that a negative stereotype about a group you belong to is true.

For example, research has shown that older adults who have a fear of becoming the stereotypical “elderly person with dementia” are more likely to perform more poorly on tests of cognition. And since cognitive tests are often included during annual wellness exams for older people, a poor performance due to stereotype threat can actually lead to a false diagnosis of dementia.

All previous research on how stereotype threat can affect memory in older people has been conducted on adults in Western cultures.

Now, researcher Dr. Sarah Barber, a professor of psychology at San Francisco State University and graduate student Shyuan Ching Tan have just published the first such study of older Chinese immigrants from East Asia in the Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences.

They discovered stereotype threat can affect memory performance in older Chinese people too, but that culturally appropriate interventions can reduce that threat.

“I have always been curious about the aging process of older East Asian immigrants. I have often heard Chinese elders complain that the behavior of their children and other younger adults is at odds with the Confucian values of obedience, loyalty and propriety,” said Tan, now a Ph.D. student at Pennsylvania State University.

“I was interested in understanding how these Chinese elders cope with ageism, and whether affirmation of their cultural values could help buffer them from stereotype threat.”

As part of her work toward her master’s degree in gerontology, Tan recruited 114 Chinese immigrants, aged 55 to 84, to determine how well they performed on a memory test with and without a stereotype threat.

The participants completed a memory test under one of three conditions. In the first condition, the researchers removed any negative stereotype about seniors by telling participants that people of all ages would perform equally well.

The second and the third conditions involved a stereotype threat: Participants were told they would be taking a test to see how aging affects memory, and that their performance would be compared to that of younger adults.

But the third condition also included an “intervention” — a reminder that Chinese traditions honor the aged and wise and that these beliefs had been instilled in younger generations.

The findings show that participants performed better when no stereotype was present or when the stereotype threat was alleviated with the intervention language.

This study is important, said the researchers, not only because it is the first to show that stereotype threats affect older Asian people, too, but also because it shows that tests conducted without stereotype threats give a more accurate evaluation of cognitive skills.

“When older adults are in situations where others expect them not to do well, they can feel concerned and anxious,” said Tan. “Stereotype threats can result in them forgetting more than they would have otherwise.”

The researchers say the new findings are particularly timely because age-based stereotype threat could be considered a public health problem in Asia where the population is aging rapidly. If cognitive tests were better designed to eliminate stereotype threats, said Barber, health care professionals could make sure that seniors are performing to the best of their abilities.

The research was funded by the National Institute on Aging.

Source: San Francisco State University

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Smarter Brains Seem to Run More Efficiently

The more intelligent a person, the fewer connections there are between the neurons in his cerebral cortex, according to new research.

For the study, researchers at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum in Germany, the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, Humboldt University of Berlin, and the Lovelace Biomedical and Environmental Research Institute in Albuquerque used a specific neuroimaging technique that provides insights into the wiring of the brain on a microstructural level.

Researchers analyzed the brains of 259 men and women using neurite orientation dispersion and density imaging. This method enabled them to measure the amount of dendrites in the cerebral cortex. Dendrites are extensions of nerve cells that are used by the cells to communicate with each other, researchers explained.

In addition, all participants completed an IQ test.

From this, the researchers discovered that the more intelligent a person, the fewer dendrites there are in their cerebral cortex.

Using an independent, publicly accessible database, which had been compiled for the Human Connectome Project, the research team confirmed these results in a second sample of around 500 individuals.

The new findings provide an explanation of conflicting results gathered in intelligence research to date, according to the researchers.

For one, it had been previously thought that intelligent people tend to have larger brains.

“The assumption has been that larger brains contain more neurons and, consequently, possess more computational power,” said Dr. Erhan Genç of the Ruhr-Universität Bochum. “However, other studies had shown that — despite their comparatively high number of neurons — the brains of intelligent people demonstrated less neuronal activity during an IQ test than the brains of less intelligent individuals.”

“Intelligent brains possess lean, yet efficient neuronal connections,” he added. “Thus, they boast high mental performance at low neuronal activity.”

The study was published in the journal Nature Communications.

Source: Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Photo: Erhan Genc investigates how intelligence is reflected in brain structures. Credit: RUB, Kramer.

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