Friday, September 30, 2016

Treat Yourself: Does It Really Make You Happy?

New research explores its psychological effects.

Treat yourself. The premise for a funny episode of Parks and Recreation now seems to have taken our culture by storm. Feeling stressed after a long day of work? Treat yourself to a bubble bath. Feeling blue? Treat yourself to a decadent dessert. Feeling frustrated after an argument with a friend? Skip your workout and have an extra scoop of ice cream.
The message is clear: If you want to feel happy, you should focus on your own wishes and desires.
Yet this is not the advice that many people grew up hearing. Indeed, most of the world’s religions (and grandmothers everywhere) have long suggested that people should focus on others first and themselves second. Psychologists refer to such behavior that is intended to benefit others as prosocial behavior. Many studies have shown that when people focus prosocially on others—with kind acts such as buying a friend a cup of coffee, picking up an extra chore for a family member or roommate, or helping a neighbor with an errand—their own happiness increases. 
But how does prosocial behavior compare to treating oneself? Does treating oneself really make people feel happy?
In a recent study published in the journal Emotion, my colleagues and I put this question to the test.
The Study
Participants were divided into four groups and given instructions each week for four weeks: One group was instructed to perform acts of kindness for themselves (such as going shopping or enjoying a favorite hobby); the second group was instructed to perform acts of kindness for others (such as visiting an elderly relative or helping someone carry groceries); the third group was instructed to perform acts kindness to improve the world (such as recycling or donating to charity); and the fourth group was instructed to keep track of their daily activities.
Each week, participants reported their activities from the previous week, as well as their experience of positive and negative emotions. At the beginning and end of the four-week period and again two weeks later, participants completed a questionnaire to assess their psychological flourishing—a measure of overall happiness, which includes questions asking about psychological, social, and emotional well-being.
At this point, you might be wondering: Is it really possible to measure happiness? Many psychologists have devoted their careers to answering this question.
In short, the answer is yes.
Happiness is a uniquely subjective experience, which means that nobody is better at reporting on people’s happiness than the individuals themselves. Thus, in my research and in this study, I relied on individual reports of happiness.
The Results
The results of the study were striking. Only participants who engaged in prosocial behavior demonstrated improvements in psychological flourishing. Participants who practiced prosocial behavior also demonstrated increases in positive emotions from one week to the next. In turn, these increases in feelings such as happiness, joy, and enjoyment predicted increases in psychological flourishing at the end of the study. In other words, positive emotions appeared to have been a critical ingredient linking prosocial behavior to increases in flourishing.
What about the people who treated themselves? They did not show the same increases in positive emotions or psychological flourishing as those who engaged in kindness. In fact, people who treated themselves did not differ in positive emotions, negative emotions, or psychological flourishing over the course of the study compared to those who merely kept track of their daily activities.
Take Home Message
Does this mean that we shouldn’t treat ourselves every now and then?
Not necessarily.
Believe me, I enjoy a bubble bath, a glass of wine, and a good book as much as the next person. However, the results of this study suggest that if you want to feel happier in your life, then you would better reach that goal by treating others with kindness rather than having that extra piece of chocolate cake for yourself.

Original article found here
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Sunday, September 25, 2016

He's a Promise Keeper

New Gospel Music Worship Song "God Will Do What He Promised/ Promise Keeper"

 I pray this Christian song encourages you to keep your faith that God will do what He Promised You. Anytime you feel yourself wavering in your faith, simply remind yourself with this song that God is a PROMISE KEEPER!!!!

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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Do You Have 12 Seconds?

Do you know how to date appropriately? Do you know how to treat others in a way to promote attraction? Do you know how to prepare for a successful marriage? Do you know how to have the finances for your future family?

Unbeknownst to the masses, life is not random. There are universal laws that govern every blessing and opportunity that comes our way. When these laws are observed, tremendous things happen. When they are ignored, unnecessary delays, difficulties and problems enter into one's life. But actually, it only takes 12 SECONDS to take off negative mental roadblocks, so you can take off on positive roads!

So join our rocket and blast off because your blessings are waiting and every second counts...twelve, eleven, ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one...manifestation!

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Power of Prayer

There is nothing like the power of prayer. Many people have doubted its ability to heal, comfort, and change the direction of an outcome. Many more know and understand this wonderful gift given to us by God. 

This audiobook by Ben Lance contains 81 powerful prayers for connecting with God every day. There is power in prayer. There is power in putting your hands together, kneeling before him, and connecting with the Lord. All you have to do is make time to include the Lord in your daily routine to see the results of his divine activity at work.

Pick up your copy of this powerful audiobook on Amazon now. 

Visit the Amazon page now to get your copy >>
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Make Room in Your Office for the Helicopter Parent

When "Helicopter Parents" Land at Their Kids' Jobs

"Mind if I Skype in to my son's interview?"

“Helicopter parents” are increasingly landing in their kids’ job scene.
Long known for over-involved hovering around schools and sports events, helicopter parents’ flight paths now sometimes include stops in the workplace.
These are the findings of a fascinating survey by Office Team that recently examined the phenomenon of such parental involvement, and how management is responding to it.
Wikimedia Commons
Source: Wikimedia Commons
For the survey, managers were asked to recall some of the more “unusual or surprising behavior” of helicopter parents. Some of the responses are below.
“One parent asked if she could do the interview for her child because he had somewhere else to be.”
“A job seeker was texting his parents the questions I was asking during the interview and waiting for a response.”
“A father asked us to pay his son a higher salary.”
“A woman brought a cake to try to convince us to hire her daughter.”
“One mom knocked on the office door during an interview and asked if she could sit in.”
“The candidate opened his laptop and had his mother Skype in for the interview.”
While the precise level of incidence is hard to determine, Brandi Britton, district president for Office Team, confirms parental involvement is a reasonably common phenomenon. “As a staffing firm, it’s not uncommon for us to encounter helicopter parents in the job search,” Britton says, ”And we’ve even heard of moms and dads hovering in career stages beyond that. This time of year, especially, we tend to hear more about helicopter parents since many students recently graduated and are hoping to land their first positions – potentially with a little help from mom and dad since finding a job is totally new to them.”
Managers' reactions – So how do managers react to parents being actively involved in their kids’ job search?
According to the survey, 35% felt “It’s annoying – job seekers should handle things on their own.”
34% felt “I wouldn’t recommend it, but I’ll let it slide.”
29% felt “It’s totally fine for job seekers to get help from their parents.”
Let me here interject a longtime manager’s (and parent’s) perspective. Personally, I think the managers interviewed for this survey have been extraordinarily tolerant and patient. And I do get that parents want the best for their kids. Sure. Understood. We all do. As a former manager for the largest employer in my area I was occasionally asked by a parent to guide a son or daughter’s resume to the right hiring manager or HR executive – and if I knew the young man or woman and thought highly of them, which I usually did, I was glad to voluntarily put in a good word for them. That level of parental involvement is entirely reasonable networking – it’s just how business is done. I never at all minded, never even thought twice about it.
But that kind of parental involvement is entirely different from the Skyping and cake-carrying and interview-meddling described above.
I don’t mean to sound like a curmudgeon, but this is my candid reaction to such “high-touch” parental involvement. If mom or dad had asked me to “Skype in” to an interview with their son or daughter, after I recovered from my initial astonishment I would have had five words for it.
2. Inappropriate
3. Not a chance
There’s a great old saying that parents should give their children “roots and wings.” Roots for a solid foundation and wings to make their own way.
That doesn’t include the wings of a helicopter!
Perhaps most important, for job searchers and parents this level of over-involvement just isn’t helpful. It’s counterproductive.
Ms. Britton offers the best perspective. “Ultimately,” she says simply, “Companies seek employees who display self-sufficiency and maturity.”

Original article found here
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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Can You Suck Your Thumb As An Adult?

Can Thumb Sucking Be Addictive?

A brief look at the research into those who constantly suck their thumb.

“When I got to pre-school, I discovered that thumb sucking was not the social norm. Other kids teased me: ‘Only babies suck their thumbs!’ This was terrible news. I didn’t want to be a baby, but there was no way for me to stop doing the only thing in the world that soothed me; the one thing I could do, in a violent home, to comfort myself and feel safe. So I compromised: I stopped sucking my thumb in public…But at home, or during any moment of privacy…my left thumb went automatically into my mouth. Rather than tapering off as I aged, my thumb sucking intensified, and I added a small swatch of cotton blanket to the ritual, rubbing it against my upper lip until it was soft and grey. My parents had split up, and I was moving from place to place with my mother and stepfamily, so nobody really had the energy to monitor my behavior. If anybody did notice and say something to me (‘Stop that, you’re going to ruin your teeth!’), I just popped the thumb out and waited 30 seconds before the coast was clear again.” (Janice Erlbaum)
The opening quote is taken from Janice Erlbaum’s blog article “I was an adult thumbsucker” (a habit she managed to kick when she was 26 years old). From Erlbaum’s full account, I wouldn’t class the behavior as an addiction although depending on what definition of addiction is used, an argument could perhaps be made. I have to admit that adult thumb sucking is something which I have often thought about as someone I know well has sucked her right thumb all her life. She’s now in her forties and has two completely different shaped thumbs (one ‘normal’ and the other flat and very elongated) as a result of four decades of constant thumb sucking. She also tells me that her upper mouth palate has also changed shape and her thumb fits perfectly into the upper groove in her mouth. She also has a number of little routines she performs while sucking her thumb including the caressing of her eyelashes with her right index finger which when thumb sucking is close to her eyes. She only ever does it when relaxing (such as when she’s watching television) and has learned not to do it in public. During her junior years and early adolescence, her parents tried to get her to stop, and at one point she was given a substance to coat her thumb in (which tasted disgusting when she put her thumb in her mouth). It didn’t work. She still sucked her thumb and put up with the horrible taste.
Most parents reading this will be aware that thumb sucking tends to emerge in infancy (although there is some evidence that babies can suck their thumbs inside the womb. For instance, Professor Peter Hepper and his colleagues (Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland) have followed up children who were known to have sucked their thumbs as fetuses). Constant thumb sucking is not necessarily problematic but depending on how the thumb is sucked, it can cause protruding teeth and other dental problems such as anterior open bite, malocclusion (i.e., misalignment of teeth or incorrect relation between the teeth of the two dental arches), and mucosal trauma. Other problems include deformity of the thumb (something which I have seen for myself first-hand) and speech problems. Thumb suckers are also more prone to infections such as impetigo around the mouth (i.e., a highly contagious bacterial infection of the surface layers of the skin, which causes sores and blisters), and paronychia of the thumb (i.e., a skin infection that occurs around the nails). Basically, as children get older, the more of a problem thumb sucking is from a medical perspective. As one review of thumb sucking in the American Family Physician journal concluded:
“Major complications of thumb sucking, usually corrects spontaneously if thumb sucking ceases by six years of age. Thumb sucking in a child less than two years of age requires no treatment. In a three-to four-year-old child, thumb sucking may be secondary to changes in the child's emotional environment, and treatment should be directed at correcting the underlying problem. Thumb sucking that persists beyond the age of six years should be treated.”
An article on thumb sucking in Psychology Today by psychologist Dr. Susan Heitler looked at the topic of thumb sucking. Dr. Heitler had been a thumb sucker herself until she was nine years old and had to endure “years of orthodonture” because of her childhoodthumb sucking. Her own daughter was also a thumb sucker and her dentist told her that "trying to end thumb sucking will do more harm than good," advice that she was not happy with given her own experiences. In her article, she wrote:
"Looks are hugely important to one's success in life. Allowing thumb sucking to damage facial appearance is wrong advice. By the time a child is four or five, with the habit no longer socially appropriate and permanent teeth coming shortly, the risks of continuing to thumb or finger suck clearly outweigh the benefits…When does a bad habit qualify as an addiction? Usually it's a function of how much the habit has become physiologically essential so that people feel craving when it is missing. That definitely happens with thumb sucking.”
Dr. Heitler’s article referred to empirical research that had been carried out on thumb-sucking although none of the main findings had any detail as to who had carried out the work, where the research was published, or what methodologies were employed (apart from very general information). Here are some of the main things she reported:
“In a study with premature infants, researchers found that infants who sucked their thumbs or a pacifier had shorter hospital stays. That was because rhythmic sucking soothed them so that they spent less energy in crying. In addition, sucking re-optimized their heart beats and breathing patterns if they were beginning to get upset…In studies of children who do or do not suck a thumb, finger or pacifier, it turns out that the suckers become emotionally more independent at a younger age. Researchers put a child and mom on one end of a long room. On the far end were appealing toys. The suckers ventured further and played with the toys away from Mom longer than the non-suckers…They just had higher self-confidence in being able to handle independent play, knowing that if they felt stressed they could suck for a bit, feel better, and resume playing on their own. It's generally not until they become toddlers that the downsides of thumb sucking begin to outweigh the gains. Kids then tend to suck when they are trying to fall asleep, when they bored, when they are idling between activities, or to self-soothe when they are upset.”
One online article on thumb sucking reports that it is a common activity among infants (30%-40% of those yet to start school) and around 10%-20% of children aged over six years. In a more academic source, Dr. Sherry Ellington and colleagues (in a 2000 issue of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis) reported that thumb sucking is estimated to occur in 23% to 46% of children aged one to four years. As with the article by Dr. Heitler, it claims that thumb sucking may have a psychological benefit for young children as it “allows them to consolidate emotions and handle their stresses.”
In a 1953 paper in the International Journal of Psychoanalysis, the Dr. Donald Winnicot presented his theory of transitional objects and phenomena. Dr. Winnicott compared thumb sucking with the use of external objects such as children’s use of comfort blankets drawing parallels between the two. He also a claims that childish actions like thumb sucking and objects like cuddly toys are the source of manifold adult behavior, amongst many others sexual fetishism. It is also claimed (particularly by psychodynamic psychologists) that such actions stem back to childhood trauma and that behaviors like thumb sucking help facilitate the need to feel comforted and secure. Another early longitudinal study by Dr. Marjorie Honzik and Dr. John McKee published in the Journal of Pediatrics reported that after the first year of being born, girls more likely to suck their thumbs than boys. The main reason was speculated that “girls' greater orality may involve greater pleasure from tactile stimulation.”
There doesn’t appear to be much empirical research on adult thumb sucking. A small 1996 study in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry led by Dr. F. Castellanous found that in 12 intellectually normal adults with stereotypic movement disorder, eight of them displayed thumb sucking and/or rocking behavior (and 11 of them had an affective anxiety disorder suggesting that behaviors such as thumb sucking may be engaged in to help reduce anxiety). A 2008 literature review by Dr Orlando Tanaka and colleagues in the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics reported some evidence that thumb sucking might turn into nail biting. This might explain why there is such a seemingly low prevalence of thumb sucking in adults. All the evidence suggests that thumb sucking in adults is not an addiction but in some people may be symptomatic of other underlying disorders.
Original article found here
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Monday, September 5, 2016

What You Can Do To Help Prevent Alzheimer's

Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease Is Easier Than You Think

Science shines new light on root cause of memory problems.

Do you have Insulin Resistance?
If you don’t know, you’re not alone. This is perhaps the single most important question any of us can ask about our physical and mental health—yet most patients, and even many doctors, don’t know how to answer it.
Here in the U.S., insulin resistance has reached epidemic proportions: more than half of us are now insulin resistant. Insulin resistance is a hormonal condition that sets the stage throughout the body for inflammation and overgrowth, disrupts normal cholesterol and fat metabolism, and gradually destroys our ability to process carbohydrates.
Insulin resistance puts us at high risk for many undesirable diseases, including obesity, heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
Scarier still, researchers now understand that insulin resistance is a powerful force in the development of Alzheimer’s Disease. 

What is insulin resistance?

Insulin is a powerful metabolic hormone that orchestrates how cells access and process vital nutrients, including sugar (glucose).
In the body, one of insulin’s responsibilities is to unlock muscle and fat cells so they can absorb glucose from the bloodstream. When you eat something sweet or starchy that causes your blood sugar to spike, the pancreas releases insulin to usher the excess glucose out of the bloodstream and into cells. If blood sugar and insulin spike too high too often, cells will try to protect themselves from overexposure to insulin’s powerful effects by toning down their response to insulin—they become “insulin resistant.” In an effort to overcome this resistance, the pancreas releases even more insulin into the blood to try to keep glucose moving into cells. The more insulin levels rise, the more insulin resistant cells become. Over time, this vicious cycle can lead to persistently elevated blood glucose levels, or type 2 diabetes.

Insulin resistance and the brain

In the brain, it’s a different story. The brain is an energy hog that demands a constant supply of glucose. Glucose can freely leave the bloodstream, waltz across the blood-brain barrier, and even enter most brain cells—no insulin required. In fact, the level of glucose in the cerebrospinal fluid surrounding your brain is always about 60% as high as the level of glucose in your bloodstream—even if you have insulin resistance—so, the higher your blood sugar, the higher your brain sugar.
Not so with insulin—the higher your blood insulin levels, the more difficult it can become for insulin to penetrate the brain. This is because the receptors responsible for escorting insulin across the blood-brain barrier can become resistant to insulin, restricting the amount of insulin allowed into the brain. While most brain cells don’t require insulin in order to absorb glucose, they do require insulin in order to process glucose. Cells must have access to adequate insulin or they can’t transform glucose into the vital cellular components and energy they need to thrive.
Despite swimming in a sea of glucose, brain cells in people with insulin resistance literally begin starving to death

Insulin resistance and memory

Suzi Smith, used with permission
Source: Suzi Smith, used with permission
Which brain cells go first? The hippocampus is the brain's memory center. Hippocampal cells require so much energy to do their important work that they often need extra boosts of glucose. While insulin is not required to let a normal amount of glucose into the hippocampus, these special glucose surges do require insulin, making thehippocampus particularly sensitive to insulin deficits. This explains why declining memory is one of the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s, despite the fact that Alzheimer’s Disease eventually destroys the whole brain.
Without adequate insulin, the vulnerable hippocampus struggles to record new memories, and over time begins to shrivel up and die. By the time a person notices symptoms of “Mild Cognitive Impairment” (pre-Alzheimer’s), the hippocampus has already shrunk by more than 10%.

Alzheimer’s Disease is Type 3 Diabetes

Suzi Smith, used with permission
Source: Suzi Smith, used with permission
The major hallmarks of Alzheimer’s Disease—neurofibrillary tangles, amyloid plaques, and brain cell atrophy—can all be explained by insulin resistance. A staggering 80% of people with Alzheimer’s Disease have insulin resistance or full-blown type 2 diabetes. The connection between insulin resistance and Alzheimer’s Disease is now so firmly established that scientists have started referring to Alzheimer’s Disease as “Type 3 Diabetes.”
This does not mean that diabetes causes Alzheimer’s Disease—dementia can strike even if you don’t have diabetes. It’s more accurate to think of it this way: Insulin resistance of the body is type 2 diabetes; insulin resistance of the brain is type 3 diabetes. They are two separate diseases caused by the same underlying problem: insulin resistance.

Are you already on the road to Alzheimer’s Disease?

You may be surprised to learn that Alzheimer’s Disease begins long before any symptoms appear.
The brain sugar processing problem caused by insulin resistance is called “glucose hypometabolism.” This simply means that brain cells don’t have enough insulin to burn glucose at full capacity. The more insulin resistant you become, the more sluggish your brain glucose metabolism becomes. Glucose hypometabolism is an early marker of Alzheimer’s disease risk that can be visualized with special brain imaging studies called PET scans. Using this technology to study people of different ages, researchers have discovered that Alzheimer’s Disease is preceded by DECADES of gradually worsening glucose hypometabolism.
Brain glucose metabolism can be reduced by as much as 25% long before any memory problems become obvious. As a psychiatrist who specializes in the treatment of college students, I find it positively chilling that scientists have found evidence of glucose hypometabolism in the brains of women as young as 24 years old.

Real hope for your future

We used to feel helpless in the face of Alzheimer’s Disease because we were told that all of the major risk factors for this devastating condition were beyond our control: age,genetics, and family history. We were sitting ducks, living in fear of the worst—until now.
The bad news is that insulin resistance has become so common that chances are you already have it to some degree.
The good news is that insulin resistance is a major risk factor for Alzheimer’s Disease that you CAN do something about.
Eating too many of the wrong carbohydrates too often is what causes blood sugar and insulin levels to rise, placing us at high risk for insulin resistance and Alzheimer’s Disease. Our bodies have evolved to handle whole food sources of carbohydrates like apples and sweet potatoes, but they simply aren’t equipped to cope with modern refined carbohydrates like flour and sugar. Simply put, refined carbohydrates cause brain damage.
You can’t do anything about your genes or how old you are—but you can certainly change how you eat. It's not about eating less fat, less meat, more fiber, or more fruits and vegetables. Changing the amount and type of carbohydrate you eat is where the money's at.

Three steps you can take right now to minimize your risk for Alzheimer’s Disease

1. Find out how insulin resistant you are. Your health care provider can estimate where you are on the insulin resistance spectrum using simple blood tests such as glucose, insulin, triglyceride and HDL cholesterol levels, in combination with other information such as waist measurement and blood pressure. In my article How to Diagnose, Prevent and Treat Insulin Resistance, I include a downloadable PDF of tests with healthy target ranges for you to discuss with your health care provider, and a simple formula you can use to calculate your own insulin resistance.
Source: RaviKrishnappa/Pixabay
2. Avoid refined carbohydrates like the plague, starting right now. Even if you don’t have insulin resistance yet, you remain at high risk for developing it until you kick refined carbohydrates such as bagels, juice boxes and granola bars to the curb. For clear definitions and a list of refined foods to avoid:  
3. If you have insulin resistance, watch your carbohydrate intake. Unfortunately, people with insulin resistance need to be careful with all carbs, not just the refined ones. Replace most of the carbs on your plate with delicious healthy fats and proteins to protect your insulin signaling system. The infographic below provides key strategies you'll need to normalize blood sugar and insulin levels.
You can wield tremendous power over insulin resistance—and your intellectual future—simply by changing the way you eat. Laboratory tests for insulin resistance respond surprisingly quickly to dietary changes—many people see dramatic improvements in their blood sugar, insulin, and triglyceride levels within just a few weeks.  
If you already have some memory problems and think it’s too late to do anything about it, think again! This 2012 study showed that a low-carbohydrate high-fat diet improved memory in people with “Mild Cognitive Impairment” (Pre-Alzheimer’s Disease) in only six weeks.
Yes, it is difficult to remove refined carbohydrates from the diet—they are addictive, inexpensive, convenient, and delicious—but you can do it. It is primarily your diet, not your DNA, that controls your destiny. You don’t have to be a sitting duck waiting around to see if Alzheimer’s Disease happens to you. Armed with this information, you can be a proactive swimming duck sporting a big beautiful hippocampus who gets to keep every single one of your marbles for the rest of your life.
Suzi Smith, used with permission
Originally published in the article "How to Diagnose, Prevent and Treat Insulin Resistance"  at
Source: Suzi Smith, used with permission

Original article here
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