Showing posts from September 2, 2018

5 Simple Do-Anywhere Exercises That Can Really Make a Difference

By Gina Harney

For the longest time, I didn’t think a workout really “counted” unless it involved driving somewhere with a locker room and cardio equipment. Then, I had children. Out of convenience and necessity, I started doing home workouts – and fell in love with them. . If you don’t have time to go to the gym or studio, don’t feel defeated. You can still get a good workout with a small circuit of the following exercises. And, the best part: you can do these almost anywhere! (As always, talk with a doctor before making any fitness or exercise changes.) 1. Squats.Squats are one of the most beneficial exercises we can do. Think about how many times during the day we go from a sitting to standing position. It’s a LOT! Try 10-25 squats standing in front of the couch. Tap your booty to the couch and exhale, squeezing your glutes, to rise. 2. Lunges.Lunges are great exercises to do at home because you can travel around the house with walking lunges. It’s an efficient way to work your quads. …

Even Low Levels of Toxic Metals Put Heart at Risk

By Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporter

Exposure to toxic metals such as arsenic, lead, copper and cadmium is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular and heart disease, researchers report.

Their analysis of 37 studies that included nearly 350,000 people linked arsenic exposure to a 23 percent increased risk of coronary heart disease and a 30 percent increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Exposure to cadmium and copper was linked to an increased risk of both diseases.

Exposure to lead and cadmium was associated with an increased risk of stroke -- it was 63 percent higher for lead and 72 percent higher for cadmium, respectively.

The study findings were published Aug. 29 in the BMJ.

The findings "reinforce the [often under-recognized] importance of environmental toxic metals in enhancing global cardiovascular risk, beyond the roles of conventional behavioral risk factors, such as smoking, poor diet and inactivity," researcher Rajiv Chowdhury and his colleagues wrote.


Mosquito Threat Spurs New Ways to Tackle Old Pest

by Matt Smith

Insect-borne illnesses are on the march, as the bugs that carry them are spreading out and getting harder to kill.

In response, scientists are looking for new, high-tech tools to prevent them from spreading those diseases.

In California, researchers are trying to change the genes of mosquitoes to prevent them from carrying the parasites that cause malaria. And in Brazil and Southeast Asia, scientists are working to infect mosquitoes with bacteria that keep them from spreading dengue fever, a sometimes deadly virus that’s reaching beyond its typical tropical range.

The new technologies are needed because traditional ways of controlling mosquitoes aren’t reducing the spread of disease, says Cameron Simmons, PhD, director of the Institute of Vector-Borne Disease at Australia’s Monash University.

In other words, the bugs are winning.

Simmons is also director of impact assessment at the nonprofit World Mosquito Program. The organization has found the bacteria Wolbachiapipientis ess…

Ms. Liz's Allies

Why might you choose to step in? This is one question that fourth graders in Elizabeth Kleinrocks class are asked as they learn terms like ally, advocate, and bystander and consider them in various historical, social, and cultural contexts. If the complexity of our world, its problems, pains, and difficult questions can feel overwhelming at times, a look inside this classroom goes to show that with the right tools, a little bit of time, and a lot of space for self-expression, our worlds younger generations promise much hope as stewards of humanity.

What Type of Kindness Will Make You Happiest?

A new study investigates four types of kindness practices to see which one has the greatest benefit.BY ELIZABETH HOPPER
By now, you may have heard the news that helping others is good for your well-being, too. For example, studies suggest that people who spend money on others become happier and actually reduce their blood pressure. Other research has found that people who volunteer improve their mental health over time.

But if we decide to practice more kindness, are all types of kind acts equally rewarding? Would helping out a family member boost our happiness more or less than volunteering among strangers?

A new study published in The Journal of Social Psychology sought to test out this question by investigating how different types of kind acts affect our happiness. Ultimately, the researchers found that a wide range of kind activities are good for us—and we don’t have to be Mother Teresa to tap into the benefits.

Researchers asked 683 adults from over two dozen countries—from the Unite…

Opening Your Heart to Bhutan

How does a jet-setting financial analyst from London end up a Buddhist nun in Bhutan? Emma Slade (ordained as Ani Pema Deki) is a yoga and meditation teacher and author who left a successful career in finance in her thirties to find peace and meaning in the mountains of Bhutan. Unusual for a mother of a now 12-year-old boy, she was ordained a Buddhist nun in Bhutan in 2014 after rigorous training - the first (and in 2018 still the only) Western woman to have achieved this in Bhutan. Her book and memoir, Set Free: A Life-Changing Journey from Banking to Buddhism in Bhutan, captures her life journey. She currently divides her time between Bhutan and England, where she runs a charity, Opening Your Heart to Bhutan, to benefit special needs children in rural Bhutan, and she teaches yoga and meditation. She shares more about her remarkable journey in this talk.

How to Face Grief in Yourself and Others

The U.K.’s leading grief expert wants to change the way we confront fear, death, and loss.BY OPTIONB.ORG
Julia Samuel is a psychotherapist who has spent more than twenty-five years helping people grieve the loss of loved ones. She is the U.K.’s leading grief expert, author ofGrief Works: Stories of Life, Death, and Surviving, and godmother to Prince George. She believes that when we face our fears—the death of someone we love, our own death, or being with bereaved friends—we are better able to cope with them. We at OptionB.Org had a conversation with Samuel on why we fear grief and pain and how we can talk about them openly. OptionB.Org: Why does grief sometimes come in waves? Julia Samuel:We’re wired to protect ourselves so we’re not faced with reality all at once. We adjust to it bit by bit. Imagine walking into a room and seeing or smelling something that reminds you of the person who’s died. In that moment, you are acutely aware that they are not coming back. The pain forces you to fa…

Welcome to Our Shared Humanity

In moments of difficulty, we can feel utterly and completely alone in our pain and suffering. Actually, in this very moment, everyone is carrying some burden. It might be physical, like a load of heavy bricks. It might be emotional, like a regret from the past. It might be a burden of basic survival, like finding enough food or a safe place to sleep for the night. We are, in this very moment, part of a great interconnected web of shared struggle. Explore this thoughtful essay to discover simple practices for being a healing strand in this shared web of humanity. Ultimately, that healing will find its way back to you.

The Myths of Mindfulness

New research corrects some common misconceptions about cultivating moment-to-moment awareness.BY JILL SUTTIE
Mindfulness meditation can help us lead happier, healthier lives…at least according to science. Yet many of us still balk at the idea of practicing it ourselves. Perhaps we fear that meditation is too new agey, or it might slow us down or lead to complacency. Some might fear mindfulness could come at the expense of productivity, a moral compass, or even the vitality that gives us our edge.

But new research studies bust some of the common myths around mindfulness meditation. Rather than making us blissfully tuned out or carefree, mindfulness meditation may actually make it easier for us to take a moral stand, be persistent in achieving our goals, and be more energetic in our lives—even our sex lives!

Here are some of the myths of mindfulness and the research that counteracts those myths. Myth #1: Mindfulness wears down your “grit”
Having “grit”—being able to persist toward our goa…

Giang Dang: A Happy Soul Serves Happily

"Who is Giang Dang? She is a grassroots change-maker in Vietnam, who serves the underprivileged communities with small acts, such as transforming the abandoned land in the city into a community garden, who does not take no for an answer because making the seemingly impossible possible gives her extra motivation, and who recognizes the importance of self-care because she knows that a happy soul serves happily." Learn more about Giang's inspiring journey here.

How to Support Your Kid at School Without Being a Helicopter Parent

Parents can help their children most by getting back to the basics and not trying to solve everything.
By Mark Bertin

As the school year looms, it’s easy for parents like me to feel a sense of intense pressure. We may worry, sometimes for valid reasons, about our children’s academic progress, independence, and social life. We get caught up in micromanaging and ruminating instead of staying grounded and clear-sighted in our planning.

How do we reduce the pressure and still give our children what they need? A long-term focus on the resilience of our children—their ability to overcome challenges independently—is what can really help them thrive in school.

As a developmental pediatrician, I believe it’s the proven basics that matter most for a child’s resilience: their belief in their own self-efficacy, strong self-management skills, and reliable relationships. If we can let go of other pressures created by our busy family life, fads and trends within our communities, and information overlo…

Sacred Imperfection

"It occurred to me that my whole life, particularly as a minister, there's been a lot of pressure to be a certain way my whole life. I've been trying to get it right and finally be perfect enough to be a really good minister. And what I've discovered in the last couple of years as I've grown more and meditated more deeply -- also through a lot of the values that I've practiced because of ServiceSpace -- that a lot of the secret of my success is failure. Which is odd. It's a paradox. And actually getting it wrong is as good as getting it right in many ways. Perhaps that theme would be relevant to someone here that might feel like they struggle sometimes with their inadequacy in some way or feel like they're not enough or that life is not showing up the way that they want. If all goes according to plan, I want to share that there is actually a perfection in every appearance of imperfection."…

How to Go From Tragedy to Resilience

Can Tragedy Teach Resilience, and Can It Last?
By Jennifer Clopton

On the morning of Dec. 14, 2012, Michele Gay decided not to put her daughter Josephine on the school bus. The first-grader was recovering from a concussion, and Michele thought a little more rest at home might be good for her. But Joey, as she was affectionately called, really wanted to go to school that day. So Gay relented and drove her in a little late.

The mother of three dropped her youngest daughter off at Sandy Hook Elementary School just minutes before a gunman burst in. His massacre left 20 first-graders and six adults dead.
For hours, Michele Gay waited with about 25 other families in the banquet room of the local firehouse for their children to appear. Since Joey had autism, was non-verbal and had an aide with her at all times, Gay believed her youngest had likely been taken to another location and would be found soon.
Instead, she felt blindsided when police finally told her Joey was dead.
“When they told us all …