In Food & Drink, Medical Benefits, Mind-Body, Quality of Life on June 1, 2011 at 11:19 pm
Do you treat yourself as well as you treat your friends and family?
That simple question is the basis for a burgeoning new area of psychological research called self-compassion — how kindly people view themselves. People who find it easy to be supportive and understanding to others, it turns out, often score surprisingly low on self-compassion tests, berating themselves for perceived failures like being overweight or not exercising.
The research suggests that giving ourselves a break and accepting our imperfections may be the first step toward better health. People who score high on tests of self-compassion have less depression and anxiety, and tend to be happier and more optimistic. Preliminary data suggest that self-compassion can even influence how much we eat and may help some people lose weight
This idea does seem at odds with the advice dispensed by many doctors and self-help books, which suggest that willpower and self-discipline are the keys to better health. But Kristin Neff, a pioneer in the field, says self-compassion is not to be confused with self-indulgence or lower standards. Read the rest of this entry »
In Funny Stuff, Life, Medical Benefits, Mind-Body, Quality of Life, Zowie Fun Facts on April 29, 2011 at 9:19 pm
A man goes to a psychiatrist and says, “Doc, my brother’s crazy, he thinks he’s a chicken.” The doctor says, “Why don’t you turn him in?” The guy says, “We would. But we need the eggs.”
If you just laughed out loud, or even released an involuntary chuckle, you probably experienced a surge of endorphins that increased your energy levels, boosted your mood and may have even decreased any aches or pains in your body. These effects are all part of laughter’s positive impact on our daily lives.
“A sense of humour allows us to cope with stress. If we’re able to see the funny side of life’s problems, we are less likely to become distressed, overwhelmed, anxious and depressed by them,” says Rod Martin, a professor at the University of Western Ontario whose research focuses on the psychology of humour.
Although much has been made of laughter’s healing properties, less is known about what actually makes us laugh. Read the rest of this entry »
In Medical Benefits, Mind-Body, Quality of Life, Science on April 14, 2011 at 3:03 pm
Positive thinking and a positive attitude may indeed have power. That belief has long been conjecture, but in recent years scientists studying the mind-body connection are finding that an optimistic outlook can improve more than just mental health.
Christopher Reeve’s death last year, nine years after being paralyzed in a horseback riding accident is, to some researchers, an example of just how Reeve’s positive attitude during his post-accident life surely contributed to an improved physical state.
“There is no doubt in my mind his positive attitude extended his life — probably dramatically. The fact that it didn’t allow him to recover function of all limbs is besides the point,” said Carol Ryff, a psychology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who has been studying whether or not high levels of psychological well-being benefit physical health.
“There is a science that is emerging that says a positive attitude isn’t just a state of mind,” she says. Read the rest of this entry »
In Culture, Food & Drink, Life, Medical Benefits, Quality of Life, Zowie Fun Facts on March 16, 2011 at 10:15 pm
Is there any evidence that drinking wine can be good for your heart and general health? What about claims of positive effects on longevity? Looks like we’re in luck.
Every year, there is a flurry of headlines about the health benefits of wine. But can drinking wine really make a difference? Here is the news—very good news, indeed—from the latest studies. Note: The health benefits come from moderate wine consumption, defined by the American Heart Association as one to two four-ounce glasses a day.
Read the rest of this entry »
In Food & Drink, Medical Benefits, Quality of Life, Zowie Fun Facts on March 1, 2011 at 9:42 pm
Chocolate, or by its botanical name: Theobroma cacao, literally means “food of the gods”. But can anything that tastes that sinfully delicious really be good for you? Rejoice chocoholics of the world – in fact it is also rich in health benefits!
According to WebMD: “Research has shown that when dark chocolate is part of a healthy lifestyle, it can improve heart health, blood pressure, reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol, and increase blood flow to the brain. It may also improve blood sugar and insulin sensitivity, reducing diabetes risk.”
The darker, richer and more naturally chocolate ingredients the better. Though there can be some health benefits to having any chocolate ingredients in your desert, obviously the less sugar and the fewer preservatives the better. Stay away from chewy, marshmallow, caramel and cream centered chocolates and stick to the simpler, solid dark chocolate.
But beware of the side effects. Drat, there’s always a catch right? Cheer up though. It turns out the only major side effect is the calories. There are approximately 531 calories in a standard sized dark chocolate Hershey’s bar. But you should be satisfied with just an ounce of chocolate when you feel the urge, with only 150 sinless calories in roughly 6 Hershey’s Kisses. You get the health benefits without slapping the extra inches on your hips.
So indulge yourself. And just remember the 3 rules to safer living: drink, drive and eat chocolate responsibly.