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Can taking vitamin D and calcium help you live longer? – Vitals


Vitamins!

Vitamins! (Photo credit: bradley j)

Can taking vitamin D and calcium help you live longer?

By Susan E. Matthews

MyHealthNewsDaily

Older people who take vitamin D supplements along with calcium may live longer than others, according to a new review of previous studies.

The researchers looked at data regarding the vitamin D intake  of more than 70,000 adults in their 60s and 70s. They found that people who took vitamin D, along with calcium supplements, were 9 percent less likely to die over a three-year period, compared with people who took neither supplement.

However, they found that taking vitamin D alone had no effect on mortality rates.

For every 151 people who took with daily vitamin D and calcium for three years, one life would be spared, according to the researchers’ calculations.

The finding comes on the heels of several studies with conflicting results about the health benefits of vitamin D, including its possible effects on longevity. The new review is the largest of its kind, and included eight randomized controlled trials, said study leader Lars Rejnmark, of Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark. Such trials are considered the strongest type of scientific evidence.

The study confirms researchers’ suspicions  that vitamin D may increase longevity, said Dr. Philippe Autier of the International Prevention Research Institute, who was not involved in the review.

Study participants were generally older people with health conditions, and possibly had inadequate nutrition. Therefore, it’s “not guaranteed that anyone in good health  who takes these vitamins would increase life expectancy,” Autier said.

In the review, the researchers found that 5.5 percent of the 35,412 people who didn’t take vitamin D or calcium died during the study period, whereas 5.3 percent of the 35,116 people who took vitamin D died.

Taking vitamin D, with or without calcium, had a significant effect on mortality rates only after three years; mortality rates were not significantly different among those taking the vitamin after one or two years, according to the study.

Vitamin D and calcium are important throughout life, because of their role in bone health, Rejnmark said. But he recommends people start paying particular attention to their intake “around menopause for women, and around the age of 50 for men.”

While the review was based on studies of people who took supplements, Rejnmark said he does not believe the benefits would be any different for people who get the nutrients through food.

Autier noted that the greatest source of vitamin D is what the skin makes naturally when it is exposed to sunlight. People with darker skin tones, who are less able to produce vitamin D  in response to sunlight, should consider supplements as a viable option, he said.

A total of 87 percent of the studies’ participants were female, but Rejnmark said this had no bearing on the results, and vitamin D and calcium are equally beneficial to both sexes in terms of preserving longevity.

More from MyHealthNewsDaily:

9 Good Sources of Disease-Fighter Vitamin D

8 Tips for Healthy Aging

7 Common Summer Health Concerns

via Can taking vitamin D and calcium help you live longer? – Vitals.

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Do You Fall into This Happiness Trap?


Do You Fall into This Happiness Trap?

By GRETCHEN RUBIN

It’s very easy to fall into the happiness trap of false choices — of thinking you can either do X or Y, and those are the only two choices you have.

False choices are tempting for a couple of reasons. First, instead of facing a bewildering array of options, you limit yourself to a few simple possibilities. Also, the way you set up the options often makes it obvious that one choice is the high-minded and reasonable choice, and one is not.

But although false choices can be comforting, they can leave you feeling trapped, and they can blind you to other choices you might make.

“I’d rather have a few true friends instead of tons of shallow friends.”

You don’t have to choose between a “real” few and “superficial” many. I have intimate friends and casual friends. I have work friends whom I never see outside a professional context. I have childhood friends whom I see only once every ten years. I have several friends whose spouses I’ve never met. I have online friends whom I’ve never met face-to-face. These friendships aren’t all of equal importance to me, but they all add warmth and color to my life.

“I think it’s more important to worry about other people’s happiness, instead of thinking only about myself and my own happiness.”

Why do you have to choose? You can think about your happiness and other people’s happiness. In fact, as summed up in the Second Splendid Truth, thinking about your own happiness will help you make others happy. And vice versa!

“Either I can be financially secure, or I can have a job I enjoy.”

“If I don’t want to live in a chaotic, clutter-filled house, I need to get rid of all my stuff.”

“I’d rather have an interesting life than a happy life.”

“It’s more important to be authentic and honest than it is to be positive and enthusiastic.”

Can you find a way to be authentically enthusiastic or honestly positive? In my experience, it’s often possible, though it can take a little extra work.

“I can care about people, or I can care about possessions.”

From Eleanor Roosevelt: “Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.”

Happiness is a goal and a by-product. Nietzche explained this well: “The end of a melody is not its goal; but nonetheless, if the melody had not reached its end it would not have reached its goal either. A parable.”

One of my Secrets of Adulthood is “The opposite of a great truth is also true.” Sometimes, the falsity of a false choice comes from the fact that both choices are true. I have more time than I think and less time than I think. I can accept myself and expect more from myself. I want an empty shelf, and I want a junk drawer.

In further illustration of that point, false choices themselves can sometimes be unhelpful but at other times, helpful.

A false choice can be an indirect way for you to figure out what you really want; the way you’ve framed the question reveals the path you want to take. For instance, a reader emailed me and, after a long explanation of his situation, wrote, “So the question is: do I decide to risk everything to pursue a life of meaning and happiness, or do I stay stuck in my boring job?” That may have been a false choice, but in any event, it was pretty clear he’d made his decision!

via Do You Fall into This Happiness Trap? | World of Psychology.

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Minor Stressful Events Can Cause Major Emotional Reactions


Minor Stressful Events Can Cause Major Emotional Reactions | Psych Central News

Minor Stressful Events Can Cause Major Emotional Reactions
By RICK NAUERT PHD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on June 13, 2012
New research suggests that our response to stress may at times be overexaggerated because of the evolutionary development of the brain linking emotional responses to perceptions of stress.

As a result, mildly stressful situations can affect our perceptions in the same way as life-threatening ones.

In the study, researchers studied the effects of money loss — a stressful event for most everyone. Money loss, real or perceived, can cause significant outcomes as financial loss can lead to irrational behavior.

Researchers determined that the stress inflicted by a financial loss can alter our sense of reality, interfering with a true grasp of the situation.

The findings, found in the Journal of Neuroscience, may also have implications for our understanding of the neurological mechanisms underlying post-traumatic stress disorder.

In the study, researchers trained subjects using a classical conditioning method on situations involving money.

Subjects were asked to listen to a series of tones composed of three different notes. After hearing one note, they were told they had earned a certain sum; after a second note, they were informed that they had lost some of their money; and a third note was followed by the message that their bankroll would remain the same.

Researchers discovered subjects improved their ability to distinguish the musical notes when a note was tied to a gain, or at least to no loss. But when they heard the “lose money” note, they actually got worse at telling one note from the other.

As part of the study, researchers used functional MRI (fMRI) scans to observe brain areas involved in the learning task. Investigators discovered the amygdala, an area of the brain known to be associated with emotions, was strongly involved during the learning process.

Researchers also noted activity in another area in the front of the brain, which functions to moderate or lessen the emotional response. Subjects who exhibited stronger activity in this area showed less of a drop in their abilities to distinguish between tones.

Neuroscientist and chief investigator Rony Paz, Ph.D., said the research demonstrates the evolutionary aspects of the brain in response to stress.

Our brain has been trained to blur certain inputs – if the best response to the growl of a lion is to run quickly, it would be counterproductive to distinguish between different pitches of growl. Any similar sound should make us flee without thinking, Paz said.

“Unfortunately, that same blurring mechanism can be activated today in stress-inducing situations that are not life-threatening – like losing money – and this can harm us.”

An overreaction to stress may be quite serious. For instance, it may be involved in post-traumatic stress disorder. If sufferers are unable to distinguish between a stimulus that should cause a panic response and similar, but non-threatening, stimuli, they may experience strong emotional reactions in inappropriate situations.

This perceptional blurring may even expand over time to encompass a larger range of stimuli detrimentally expanding the stress response.

According to Paz, future research in planned to investigate this possibility in future research.

Source: Weizmann Institute

Stressed out man photo by shutterstock.

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Video: About Psychodynamic Psychotherapy


Video: About Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
By JOHN M. GROHOL, PSYD
Founder & Editor-in-Chief

Joseph Burgo, one of our bloggers here at Psych Central, has recently inaugurated a new series of videos about psychodynamic psychotherapy, aimed at people who may be considering treatment and don’t know quite what to expect from this particular type of therapy.

His first video deals with the intake or initial consultation, focusing on the anxieties felt by both client and therapist as they embark upon a new relationship with a total stranger. His next video will focus on the types of issues that come up during the first few sessions; in future, he plans to cover other issues such as: the emergence of the transference, vacation breaks, the role of humor, therapist errors, etc.

These videos will appear on his YouTube channel and Dr. Burgo will announce each new one via his Therapy Case Notes blog. Even if you’re already familiar with psychodynamic psychotherapy, his thoughts about first sessions apply to all types of treatment and may be of interest:

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6 Ways Men and Women Communicate Differently


6 Ways Men and Women Communicate Differently

6 Ways Men and Women Communicate Differently
By YOURTANGO EXPERTS

This guest article from YourTango was written by Richard Drobnick.

Men and women are different in many ways. They see the world through completely different perspectives. The key to understanding their differences is in the way that men and women communicate.

Here are six important communication differences that you should be aware of, to help improve your communications with your partner and make them smoother and more effective.

1. Why Talk?

He believes communication should have a clear purpose. Behind every conversation is a problem that needs solving or a point that needs to be made. Communication is used to get to the root of the dilemma as efficiently as possible.

She uses communication to discover how she is feeling and what it is she wants to say. She sees conversation as an act of sharing and an opportunity to increase intimacy with her partner. Through sharing, she releases negative feelings and solidifies her bond with the man she loves.

2. How Much Should You Say?

He prioritizes productivity and efficiency in his daily life, and conversation is no exception. When he tells a story he has already sorted through the muck in his own head, and shares only those details that he deems essential to the point of the story. He might wonder, “Why do women need to talk as much as they do?” Often he will interrupt a woman once he has heard enough to offer a solution.

She uses communication to explore and organize her thoughts — to discover the point of the story. She may not know what information is necessary or excessive until the words come spilling out. But a woman isn’t necessarily searching for a solution when she initiates a conversation. She’s looking for someone to listen and understand what she’s feeling.

3. What Does It Mean To Listen?

He is conditioned to listen actively. When a woman initiates conversation he assumes she is seeking his advice or assistance. He engages with the woman, filtering everything she’s saying through the lens of, “What can we actually do about this?” Learning to listen patiently — not just passively — doesn’t come easily to him.

She sees conversation as a productive end in and of itself. If she feels sufficiently heard or understood she may not need to take further action to resolve a problem or “make things better.” The fact that she has been listened to assuages her anxieties and dulls the pangs of negative feelings. Sharing with someone who understands and loves her heals her from the inside and equips her with the emotional tools necessary to handle the trials and tribulations of the outside world.

4. When She Is Feeling Down …

He will want to tackle her problems head on, like a fireman. He feels impatient to put the fire out as quickly as possible. For him, the quickest way to put the fire out is by giving solutions. Because he wants so badly to provide for his spouse, he may take her mood personally and defend himself. He might hear things literally, not realizing that when his spouse is upset she will use words as tools to explore and express difficult emotions.

By using words as tools to explore and express her difficult emotions when she is upset, she is able to process her negative emotions and let them go. She values support and nurture, and is most fulfilled by sharing, cooperation and community. When he shows interest in her by asking caring questions or expressing heartfelt concerns she feels loved and cared for. He is fulfilling her first primary love need.

5. When He Is Feeling Down …

He will often withdraw into his “cave” (becoming quiet and withdrawn) when he’s upset or stressed. A man’s “cave time” is like a short vacation: he reduces stress by forgetting about his problems and focusing on other things like watching television, reading the newspaper, or playing video games.

He might avoid communication with his spouse during times of duress. If she persists with nurturing questions or criticism, he withdraws even further, fearing that his partner doesn’t trust him to take care of business on his own. However, with her support and understanding, a man will return and be more emotionally available, caring, and loving.

She might interpret her spouse’s silence as a sign that she is failing him or that she’s losing him. She instinctively tries to nurture him through his problems by asking an abundance of caring questions. Or she may react defensively out of fear that her own need for healthy open communication is not being respected within the relationship.

Ultimately, she can do more for him by appreciating his space, which shows him that she trusts him to work out the problem on his own. Trusting is one of the greatest gifts she has to offer him. In the meantime she should do something nurturing for herself, so she won’t resent him when he emerges from his “cave time.”

6. Communication Breaks Down When …

He feels like he’s being told what to do. The most important thing to a man is doing a good job. When his competence is questioned he’ll not only feel hurt, but he’ll throw up a wall of resistance, and communication begins to breakdown. He thrives in an environment where he’s the expert. Rather than being told, “You should do X” he is likely to respond better to, “What do you think of X?” The trick to improving him is to resist telling him what to do.

She hears from her spouse that her problems aren’t as real and pressing as they seem in that very moment. Her spouse may mistakenly think he’s being helpful in providing “reality checks” like: “You’re making a mountain out of a mole hill” or “You’re getting overly emotional about it.” To her it feels like he is attempting to minimize her feelings or talk her out of having them.

Men and women desire to satisfy their partners, but they may miss the mark because it is truly difficult to understand and accept our partner’s different ways of communication. Men and women need education on these differences to help their relationships, so they do not end up in a frustrated state of resentment and feel stuck.

If a couple is feeling stuck, I suggest they read or listen to couples self-help books together. If the couple still feels stuck, then they should always seek professional counseling and get back on the road to better understanding and communication.

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Learning Works Best When You Rest


Learning Works Best When You Rest | Psych Central News

Learning Works Best When You Rest
By JANICE WOOD Associate News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on March 25, 2012
A new study shows that sleeping soon after learning new material is best for recall.

Notre Dame psychologist Jessica Payne and colleagues studied 207 students who habitually slept for at least six hours each night. Participants were randomly assigned to study declarative, semantically related or unrelated word pairs at 9 a.m. or 9 p.m., and returned for testing 30 minutes, 12 hours or 24 hours later.

Declarative memory refers to the ability to consciously remember facts and events. It can be broken down into memory for events — known as episodic memory — and semantic memory, which is memory for facts about the world.

People routinely use both types of memory every day, such as recalling where we parked or learning how a colleague prefers to be addressed, Payne said.

At the 12-hour retest, memory was superior following a night of sleep compared to a day of wakefulness, she said.

However, this performance difference was a result of a pronounced deterioration in memory for unrelated word pairs, she said, noting there was no difference for related word pairs. At the 24-hour retest, with all subjects having received both a full night of sleep and a full day of wakefulness, memories were superior when sleep occurred shortly after learning, rather than following a full day of wakefulness.

“Our study confirms that sleeping directly after learning something new is beneficial for memory,” she said. “What’s novel about this study is that we tried to shine light on sleep’s influence on both types of declarative memory by studying semantically unrelated and related word pairs.”

“Since we found that sleeping soon after learning benefited both types of memory, this means that it would be a good thing to rehearse any information you need to remember just prior to going to bed,” she continued. “In some sense, you may be ‘telling’ the sleeping brain what to consolidate.”

Titled “Memory for Semantically Related and Unrelated Declarative Information: The Benefit of Sleep, the Cost of Wake,” the study was published March 22 in PLOS One.

Source: University of Notre Dame

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7 Keys to Becoming a Positive Person


7 Keys to Becoming a Positive Person

7 Keys to Becoming a Positive Person
By MARGARITA TARTAKOVSKY, M.S.
Associate Editor

“The quality of your thinking about whom you see in the mirror largely determines the quality of your life,” according to speaker and bestselling author Brian Tracy and therapist Christina Tracy Stein in their book Kiss That Frog! 12 Ways to Turn Negatives into Positives in Your Life and Work.

“If you change your thinking about yourself, you change your life — almost immediately.”

As such, the authors help readers morph their negative thoughts and emotions into positive ones and fulfill their potential. They note that developing high self-esteem and a positive attitude takes practice. In the last chapter of their book, Tracy and Stein spell out the seven keys they say will help you be the best that you can be.

1. Use positive self-talk.

Tracy and Stein believe that how we talk to ourselves determines 95 percent of our emotions. If we don’t talk to ourselves positively, then our default is negative or worrisome cognitions. As they write, “…your mind is like a garden. If you do not deliberately plant flowers and tend carefully, weeds will grow without any encouragement at all.” They suggest saying statements that are positive, present and personal, such as “I can do it!” and “I feel terrific.”

2. Use positive visualization.

According to Tracy and Stein, visualization is probably the most powerful ability we have. They suggest readers “Create a clear, exciting picture of your goal and your ideal life, and replay this picture in your mind over and over.”

3. Surround yourself with positive people.

The people we live and interact with play a big role in our emotions and success, Tracy and Stein write. “Decide today to associate with winners, with positive people, with people who are happy and optimistic and who are going somewhere with their lives.”

4. Consume positive mental food.

The authors suggest feeding your mind educational, uplifting and inspirational information. (As they say earlier, “Good in, good out.”) Seek out info that makes you “feel happy and more confident about yourself and your world.” This might come from books, magazines, CDs, audio programs, DVDs, online courses or TV programs.

5. Practice positive training and development.

Dedicate yourself to a lifetime of learning and growing. Tracy and Stein quote entrepreneur and motivational speaker Jim Rohn: “Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.”

6. Practice positive health habits.

“Some of the factors that predispose us to negative emotions of all kinds are poor health habits, fatigue, lack of exercise and nonstop work,” write Tracy and Stein. So they suggest taking great care of your physical health by eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly and getting plenty of rest and relaxation.

7. Have positive expectations.

“Your expectations become your own self-fulfilling prophecies.” That’s why Tracy and Stein encourage readers to expect the best. “Expect to be successful. Expect to be popular when you meet new people. Expect to achieve great goals and create a wonderful life for yourself.”

What are your thoughts on these steps?
Do you think positivity is key for our lives?

Learn more about Brian Tracy and Christina Tracy Stein. If you’re interested, we also reviewed Kiss That Frog! here.

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