Saturday, May 13, 2017

Top Reasons You’re Always Bloated

Feeling Bloated?

We’ve all felt it: that too-full feeling you get in your belly. But it’s not always from eating too much. Does your body hold on to too much water? Is it something you ate? Or could a health issue be behind it?

Too Much Gas? Probably Not

Most people who think they’re bloated because they have gas are just more sensitive to it. This is usually related to a health condition. Possible causes include irritable bowel syndrome (when nerves linked to your bowel are too active), acid reflux (which irritates your esophagus, the tube between your throat and stomach), and hemorrhoids. Talk to your doctor if you think you have gas often.


Your body needs this, but most of us get more than we need. It makes you hold on to -- or retain -- water and can cause more serious health problems like high blood pressure. And it’s not just the saltshaker you should avoid: If you’re like many Americans, most of your salt comes from prepackaged and fast foods. Check food labels for salt (sodium) levels and remember: Just because you don’t taste it doesn’t mean it’s not there.

Too Many Carbs

Carbohydrates give your body fuel it can use quickly. But too many at once can make you retain water. And the faster the carbs get into your blood, the more likely that is. Simple carbs -- white bread, candy, pastries, and soft drinks -- enter your blood almost instantly. Complex carbs -- whole grains, fruits, and vegetables -- don’t because they take longer to digest.

You Overeat

Well, here’s an easy one. Your stomach is only about the size of your fist. It can stretch, but that can make you feel bloated, especially if you eat lots of salty food and carbs. One tip is to stop eating before you feel full.


Those bubbles in soda and other drinks like beer, champagne, or seltzer are filled with gas. When you drink them, they can fill up your digestive system. You may burp some of it away, but once the gas reaches your intestines, it stays until you pass it. And most sodas are full of sugar, which can make you hold on to water and feel bloated.

You Eat Too Fast

The faster you eat, the more air you swallow. And like with bubbly drinks, once that air passes to your intestine, it can make you feel bloated. It can take 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain you’re full, so you can eat enough to make yourself bloated and uncomfortable before your brain gets the message.


Most people are a little irregular from time to time, and that can make you feel bloated. Some foods can cause it, along with not drinking enough water, sudden changes in your diet, or stress. It usually passes on its own, but exercise and over-the-counter drugs can help. See your doctor if it lasts more than a few days.


Foods like milk and ice cream can cause gas, belly pain, and bloating if your body can’t easily digest a dairy sugar called lactose. It’s not usually serious, but it’s a good idea to avoid milk products. Some medicines can help you digest it more easily. This is not the same as an allergy to dairy, where your body’s immune system treats it like a dangerous invader. That can be more serious, causing hives, vomiting, and bloody stools.

Weight Gain

If you’ve gained 10 or more pounds in the past year, you may feel bloated because that weight often goes on around your belly. That takes up space and leaves less room for your stomach to stretch. Talk with your doctor about a plan to help you lose that weight and be more comfortable.


This is a kind of sugar, and it’s harder for your body to break down than other kinds. That can lead to gas, bloating, and pain. It’s in lots of foods in the form of “high fructose corn syrup,” and it happens naturally in some like fruit (especially dried fruit) as well as honey, onions, and garlic. A food diary can help you keep track of how you feel after you eat certain foods and figure out if this is a problem for you.


Your body needs it to make cell walls, nerve tissue (like your brain), and hormones. But too much can make you bloated because your body takes longer to break it down than other types of food. That means it sticks around longer. It’s also high in calories and can make you gain weight if you’re not careful -- and that can make you feel bloated, too.

Monthly Period

A condition called premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, can make some women feel tired, achy, and irritable the week or so before their period. It also makes you hold on to water, which can make you feel bloated. The cause is unclear, but hormones seem to play a part. It can help to exercise and stay away from salt, sugar, and simple carbs.


These carbs are digested near the end of your intestine, where bacteria feed on them. For some people, this can cause gas and fluid buildup, belly pain, and bloating. FODMAPs are in some fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy -- asparagus, garlic, pears, mangoes, peaches, wheat pasta, and rye bread are examples. Keep a food diary to keep track of foods that affect you, and ask a dietitian or doctor if FODMAPs might be to blame.

Celiac Disease

This is when your body responds to gluten -- a protein in wheat, barley, rye, and many prepackaged foods -- by attacking the lining of your intestine (part of your digestive system). It can cause diarrhea, weight loss, pain in the belly area, and lots of gas, which can make you feel bloated. There’s no cure, but you can manage your symptoms if you stay away from foods that have gluten.

When Is It Serious?

Most of the time, you can manage bloating on your own. But if you also feel weak or lose your appetite, or have diarrhea, weight loss, fever, belly pain, or blood in your stool, talk to your doctor. To find out what’s going on, she may take a stool sample or an X-ray of your small intestine, or test you for lactose intolerance or celiac disease.

Inspirational Quote – May 13, 2017

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest achievement.”

Have you noticed the constant bombardment of advertising we are exposed to on a daily basis? We all have access to the wider world thanks to new technology and this can be a good thing, enabling us to interact with other people, perhaps in other parts of the country or the world. Also, keeping us up to date with what’s happening around this wonderful planet of ours. However, we are also allowing into our homes, offices, leisure pursuits, those who want to sell us something we don’t really need, things we can’t really afford, the opportunity to create debts by purchasing “stuff”. Take no notice of what you don’t have to and stay who you are not who somebody else thinks you should be.

Seeds of Change: Meet A Hero of the Urban Farm Movement

It began with a single tomato. Watching her own home-grown plant take form before her eyes, and tasting for herself the deliciousness, Karen Washington dove into gardening as more than just a hobby -- it became her calling. Deemed as 'the queen of urban farming', Washington is a change maker and urban revolutionist ---greening the streets of New York City's poorest areas one abandoned lot at a time. Her first community project, 'The Garden of Happiness' aimed to beautify these forgotten spaces, though her mission has now evolved into food creation to feed both the mind's and body's of those in need.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Inspirational Quote – May 12, 2017

“If you want to feel rich…just count the things you have that money can’t buy.”

Sometimes we’re so caught up and swept along by the things we have to do every day that we never take the time to stop and actually think about the many blessings we have in life that we take for granted. I don’t mean the 50” Smart TV, the posh car, the expensive clothes, etc. etc. I mean the blessings we are fortunate enough to have been given for free, i.e. our health and the health of those we love, a happy home, people in our lives who love us for who we are, financial stability, being able to appreciate the world around us and it’s beauty……. Too many blessings to mention so I will leave you to reflect on your own personal blessings for which I’m sure you’re truly thankful.

The Freedom of Real Apologies

In 2009, the U.S government quietly released the congressional resolution of "Apology to Native Peoples," hidden inside the 2010 Department of Defense Appropriations Act. In response, Layli Long Soldier authored WHEREAS, a book of pioneering poetry, which went on to receive the 2016 Whiting Award. Soldier, a member of the Oglala Lakota Nation, grew up in Arizona where she now teaches English at Din College of the Navajo people, the first tribally-controlled college in the United States. In an interview for On Being with Krista Tippett, Solider describes her early influences growing up Lakota, and how a heartfelt apology from her father, who was often absent during her childhood, can demonstrate the freedom of a genuine apologies. While the government's apology falls short of what is needed to recognize and reconcile with the native peoples of the United States, perhaps WHEREAS and discussions like those happening with Tippett can bring much needed attention to the issue.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

How Resting More Can Boost Your Productivity

By Alex Soojung-Kim Pang

Here are five ways to incorporate more rest and rejuvenation into your work day.

Rest has a bad rap in our culture. Most of us think about rest as merely the absence of work—not something valuable in its own right. Sometimes, it’s even equated with laziness.
But nothing could be further from the truth.
Rest is an essential component of working well and working smart. In my new book, Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less, I outline some of the fascinating research that shows how rest helps us to think, innovate, and increase our productivity, and what we can do to rest more effectively.
Even in our brain’s resting state—when we are not directly focused on a task—it’s still active, engaging its “default network” to plug away at problems, examine and toss out possible answers, and look for new information. We may not be able to control these processes completely; but by learning to rest better, we can support them, let them work, and take notice when they uncover something that deserves our attention.
Think of rest as akin to sex or singing or running. Everyone basically knows how to do it, but with a little work and understanding, you can learn to do it a lot better. You can enjoy rest more profoundly and be more refreshed and restored if you simply work at it a bit more.
Here are some of the ways I recommend using rest to benefit your thinking and creativity.

1. Starting an early morning routine

While some writers and artists burn the midnight oil, depend on a looming deadline to help them focus, or wait for inspiration to strike before getting down to business, many of history’s most creative and prolific figures take a different approach. They start work earlier, sometimes before dawn, and concentrate on their most challenging work first when their creative energy is bound to be at its peak. They also tend to set up routines, so that they don’t waste brainpower recreating the wheel every day and taking up valuable creative energy.
We may think of routine as the opposite of creativity; but in reality, research suggests that routines can enhance it. In one study, researchers surveyed hundreds of workers at a high-tech company about how much routine they had in their everyday work, how much opportunity they had to be creative on the job, and how much initiative they could exercise in trying out new ideas. Then, they looked at how many creative ideas these workers submitted to managers. They found that employees whose work had a large measure of routine were more likely to submit ideas; those who had more control over their work did even better.

2. Walking

Walking can be a simple way to facilitate creative thinking. Not only is it a form of exercise (which brings blood to the brain), it can also help our brains engage in a light kind of focus, which encourages more mind-wandering and aids later creativity.
Researchers at Stanford did a series of experiments looking at the effects of walking on creativity, as measured by a test of divergent thinking—which asks people to come up with novel ways of using an everyday item, like a brick or a doorstop. The researchers compared participants’ performance under four conditions: while walking on a treadmill, while seated inside, while walking outside, or while being wheeled outside in a wheelchair.
Their results showed that walking and being outside each separately led to better performance on the test. Moreover, in one experiment, the researchers showed that the benefits of walking on creativity did not fade immediately, but carried over into performance on future tests.
Walking may not be as beneficial for focused, analytical thinking; but there’s good reason to believe that it stimulates creativity and may aid you in solving problems encountered on the job, particularly if you walk when problems are still fresh in your mind. For naturalist Charles Darwin, for example, walking was so valuable a creative stimulus that he built a “thinking path” near his house, and would retreat to it while working on difficult problems.

3. Napping

If you do imaginative, creative work over long hours or in a demanding environment, afternoon naps can have restorative power for you. Sleep scientists have found that even a short nap can be effective in recharging your mental batteries.
The most obvious benefit of napping is that it increases alertness and decreases fatigue. Even a short nap of around 20 minutes boosts your ability to concentrate by giving your brain a chance to restore depleted energy.
In one study, Sara Mednick and colleagues tested participants on perception tasks—similar to what you do to get your peripheral vision checked—then divided them into three groups: one that didn’t nap at all, and two that napped either for an hour or ninety minutes. Everyone was then re-tested in the evening. Those who hadn’t napped performed worse in the evening, while those who’d napped either performed the same or dramatically better. Testing all of the groups the next day—after a night’s sleep—still resulted in “nappers” doing better than “non-nappers,” suggesting that naps augment the positive effects of sleep.
Mednick’s research also implies that napping may improve performance on certain tasks more than caffeine. You can even vary the timing of your nap to get different benefits: An earlier nap will give you more REM sleep and boost creativity, while a later nap will be richer in slow-wave sleep and more physically restorative. All this is to say that taking a nap may be a good way to boost your performance and creativity.

4. Stopping at the right time

While many of us may feel that pushing ourselves to work long, unbroken hours is the best way to be productive, science suggests otherwise. In fact, working longer may lead to stress, burnout, disengagement from work, and poorer performance on the job. It can also kill creativity and innovation.
A counterintuitive but effective form of deliberate rest is to stop working at just the right point: when you see your next move, but decide to leave it until tomorrow. Ernest Hemingway was a famous advocate of the practice, and many notable writers have followed his advice to “always stop when you know what is going to happen next.”
Stopping when you have a little energy left makes it easier to get started the next day. It also seems to prompt your subconscious mind to tackle work problems in the meantime, suggesting that Hemingway’s intuition was correct.
In one study, participants were tested on their divergent thinking skills during a two-minute task, then spent five minutes on math problems, then were tested again on their divergent thinking. Half the participants were told that they’d be tested twice, while the other half were not informed.
While both groups had higher scores after the math break—which allowed their brains to rest from the main task—those who had been told they’d be tested again benefitted more from the break than those who hadn’t. Researchers also found that participants who had scored better initially—suggesting a more creative mindset—benefitted even more from the break.
All of this suggests that consciously leaving tasks undone—leaving the last sentence of a paragraph unwritten, for example—will nudge your mind to continue cogitating without your conscious awareness. Such a strategy also evens out the highs and lows in creative work, provides a boost to creativity, and buffers against stress.

5. Sleeping

<em>Adapted excerpt from </em>Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less<em> by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang. Copyright ©2016. Available from Basic Books, an imprint of Perseus Books, a division of PBG Publishing, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc.</em>Adapted excerpt from Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang. Copyright ©2016. Available from Basic Books, an imprint of Perseus Books, a division of PBG Publishing, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
Sleeping is, of course, the ultimate form of rest and an important part of a creative and productive life.
During the day, our bodies are mainly occupied with the business of living, spending energy on motor activity and cognitive functions. When we fall asleep, our bodies shift into maintenance mode and devote themselves to storing energy, fixing or replacing damaged cells, and growing, while our brains clean out toxins, process the day’s experiences, and sometimes work on problems that have been occupying our waking minds.
Many researchers have found that REM sleep is particularly important for performance. For example, in a study looking at anesthesiology interns and anesthetists, researchers found that after a couple of weeks of having night shifts or on-call duties, their work performance declined significantly. Not only that, but a sleep deficit of less than an hour per night led to declines greater than those seen in comparable groups tested in a sleep lab, suggesting that scientists may be underestimating the consequences of sleep loss in the real world.
All of the research points to the importance of rest in our fast-paced lives. While our culture may be pushing us toward working overtime, 24/7, this is clearly not helping us to be more productive or to come up with creative solutions to our problems.
When we treat rest as work’s equal partner, recognize it as a playground for the creative mind and a springboard for new ideas, and learn ways to take rest more effectively, we elevate it into something valuable that can help calm our days, organize our lives, give us more time, and help us achieve more while working less.
Rest is not idleness. It is the key to a better life.

Inspirational Quote – May 11, 2017

“Do what you can with what you have, where you are.”

Oh, I do! Hopefully, you do too? Realistically, that’s all any of us can do isn’t it? Nothing else for it but to get on with things. It would be great to think that each and every one of us realizes the gifts we were born with and the abilities and skills we have gained on our way through life. Then, armed with this knowledge, do the best we can, not only to enrich our lives, but also the lives of those around us. Who knows the gifts we may be able to give to each other!

Re-Imagining the World: An Artist's Remarkable Life Journey

They say that a creative adult is the child who survived. From an early age, Slobodan Dan Paich had a powerful awareness of his inner compass. In the decades since, it has led him across the globe and against many odds, to build community through art and to leverage the creative force for re-imagining the world. Slobodan reminds us how staying true to ourselves, and working with our fears, we can foster a deep connection with life. In the middle of vulnerability, he says, is the space where the magic may unfold.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Why “Mom Brain” is Good for Mothers and Babies

By Elise Proulx 

According to a new study, pregnant women lose gray matter in their brains—and this process helps them figure out what other people need and feel.

My fellow mothers will recognize the symptoms of so-called “mom brain”—that feeling of fuzzy forgetfulness that seems to strike many moms as we juggle diapers and dirty dishes. But does this condition have any basis in science?
A new study in Nature Neuroscience suggests the answer is yes. Pregnancy does seem to change a woman’s brain—perhaps permanently—so that she can better connect with other people.
Prior research has suggested the pregnant brain may have fuzzy moments—but they don’t last long. For example, memory function does decline, especially when it comes to verbal information, during the last trimester. But after the baby is born, mom’s memory and cognitive ability seem to bounce back. In fact, some studies have found motherhood actually makes rodents smarter.
The new study, by a team of researchers based in Spain, gathered four groups of participants: 25 first-time mothers, both before and after the birth; 20 women who had not yet had children; 19 first-time fathers; and 17 men without children.
These participants were scanned in an MRI machine so that researchers could compare their brain structures. The changes they saw were mainly associated with gray matter, the brain tissue that contains neurons and synapses involved with memory, emotions, and decision-making, among other functions.
The result? Pregnant women lost a significant amount of gray matter, in a pattern similar to what happens during puberty—another time when women experience a surge of sex hormones like estrogen. This adolescent “synaptic pruning” doesn’t mean we get dumber as teens. Instead, the brain is simply becoming more efficient and refined, in a process associated with healthy cognitive and emotional development. In other words, the teen brain is “leveling up” into greater maturity as it sheds gray matter it no longer needs.
Could something similar be happening with women when they go through pregnancy? When the researchers scanned the brains of the same women two years later, the changes remained in place, suggesting they may be permanent. There were no similar changes in the brains of first-time fathers or childless men and women. In fact, note the authors, the pattern was so distinctive that it could be used to tell whether a woman had ever given birth.

The biggest changes were concentrated in the cerebral cortex, which—among its many functions—plays a key role in processing relationships with other people. The areas that showed pruning were specifically related to the “theory of mind” network—that is, the part of the brain that tries to figure out what people are thinking and feeling. The researchers speculate that this may enhance mothers’ ability to accurately guess their infant’s emotional states and meet their needs.
To test their theory, the researchers showed the women in the study photos of their own babies while administering an fMRI. Indeed, the parts of the brain affected by the grey matter changes were also the areas that lit up the most in response to pictures of the mothers’ own babies (when compared to photos of other people’s infants). In addition, the researchers found that the change in gray matter “significantly” predicted the quality of mother-to-infant attachment, as assessed through a survey. The more gray matter lost, the more positive the mothers felt about interactions with their baby.
In other words, the changes that unfold in a pregnant woman’s brain almost certainly indicate that she’s growing as a person—especially when it comes to figuring out what other people need and feel.
So, new moms, don’t feel too bad about “mom brain.” You may be forgetful at times, but you’re primed to forge a stronger bond with your baby.

Inspirational Quote – May 10, 2017

“Those who deserve love the least, need it the most.”

Occasionally, people are their own worst enemies. You know what I mean. People we come across in our day-to-day lives who appear to take pleasure in alienating or upsetting those around them, just for the sake of it. Very frustrating for us as we can see no valid reason for their behavior other than to cause mischief or upset. However, it might pay us to look more deeply at what they themselves are experiencing in their own lives at the time. We all react differently to problems, worries or stress, and perhaps this is their way of coping or showing distress by hitting out at those closest to them. The next time somebody is causing you grief, before you perhaps respond in anger, try taking the time to sit down and talk to them. Try to discover what is actually going on with them and you may begin to understand why they are behaving the way they are. Try love before anger, it may just work.

The True Birthright of the Storyteller

As a newspaper reporter, Rajni Bakshi initially enjoyed the thrill of getting out there to write about any interesting story she could find. But that thrill faded as she began to feel that although it's important to record what is, it is also important to illuminate what can be. To Rajni, that means "making visible those people, ideas and actions that seem at first extraordinary but which actually expand our imagination in ways that empower the 'ordinary' in all of us." Read on to learn more about the perspective of this Mumbai-based freelance journalist and author whose writings are a profound journey into the intellect and spirit.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Is Humility Good for Your Relationship?

By Jeanette van der Lee 

A new study suggests that people are more satisfied with their relationships when their partners are more humble.

In Western culture, we’re encouraged to be vocal about our individual successes and accomplishments. We present our ideal self on social media, at job interviews, and on first dates. But is all this self-promotion good for our long-term relationships?
Recent research published in The Journal of Positive Psychology suggests it might not be. A group of researchers found that people are more committed to and satisfied with their romantic relationship when they perceive their partner as being more humble.
The researchers recruited 349 participants to fill out several online questionnaires measuring how committed they are to their relationship, how satisfied they are with their relationship, and their partner’s humility. Over half of the respondents also reported how forgiving they are towards their partner and how grateful they are in their relationship overall.
The results suggested that people who think their partner is more humble are more satisfied with their relationship. Why? This was partly the case because people with more humble partners are more committed to their relationship with that person, and more committed partners are also more satisfied partners.

Humble partners may be better able to negotiate conflict, the researchers speculate. “Conflicts in intimate relationships [may] tend to find more expeditious resolutions when individuals are able to humbly acknowledge their respective shortcomings, as it allows for relationship repair after offense, deeper understanding, and improved emotional bond,” write the authors. “In this way, conflicts serve to bring partners closer together, rather than further apart.”
But is humility in the eye of the beholder? Our own thoughts and character traits might influence how we see our partners, which is why the researchers also asked about forgiveness and gratitude. More forgiving, grateful people were indeed more likely to perceive their partner as humble, but only gratitude led to greater relationship satisfaction in turn—yet another way that gratitude might be good for romantic relationships.
To unpack humility further, the questionnaire asked about three different elements: how humble other people perceive the partners to be, how much the partners think that they are better than others, and how well they know themselves, including their strengths and weaknesses (called “accurate self-view”). Of these, partners’ accurate self-views seemed to have the strongest link to participants’ relationship commitment and satisfaction.
In other words, if you want to improve your relationship, know thyself. This advice dates back to ancient times, but it is still as relevant as ever. Besides taking the GGSC’s quizzes, some ways to increase your self-knowledge include meditating and actively soliciting feedback from colleagues or friends.
It’s important to keep in mind that these results are just correlational: We can’t say with certainty whether humility causes partners to have more commitment to a relationship and greater relationship satisfaction. More research is needed to study whether this is true.
While the jury is still out, other research suggests that more humble people do tend to be rated as more attractive, have better self-control, and experience fewer negative effects from stressful life events—so cultivating your humility is probably still a good idea.
And if the current study’s findings hold up in future research, say coauthors Everett Worthington of Virginia Commonwealth University and Carissa Dwiwardani of Regent University, “This might encourage partners to be less entrenched in defending their point of view during disagreements, more likely to say, ‘Help me learn from you,’ and to experience personal growth together in their relationship.”