Why did you sabotage yourself?

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Have you ever done this? You knew you had an important day ahead – but you stayed up until all hours binging on your favorite shows. Why did you sabotage yourself?

Well, Indiana University psychology professor Dr. Edward Hirt says, when we sabotage ourselves, it’s our subconscious way of guarding ourselves against failure. Because, by being sleep deprived, we can blame the failure on a lack of sleep instead of not being good enough, smart enough, or prepared enough. Dr. Hirt says self-sabotage is incredibly common. His studies show the people who are most likely to do it are those who think trying and failing is the worst possible outcome. So they’d rather not try if they don’t think they can succeed. But in reality, people have more respect for those who do their best – no matter how things pan out in the end – than those who don’t give it their all.

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Why do we crave certain foods?

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We know this to be true: The more junk food we eat, the more we crave. Because we get addicted to the combination of sugar, salt and fat. Also, junk food is typically highly processed. So it goes through our system like lightning – causing a blood sugar spike, followed by a crash – that makes us crave more junk to get our energy up again.

Well, we’re just finding out that cravings for healthy food work in a similar way. According to the Human Nutrition Research Center at Tufts University, when people followed a healthy eating plan, they actually started preferring healthier foods. Brain scans were done on study participants before the study – and again 6 months later. And the subjects on the healthy eating program showed reduced activity in the reward center of the brain when they were shown images of junk food… and they had increased brain reward activity when they saw healthy foods, like grilled chicken. The experts say, it’s a conditioned response and we can reverse our cravings by repeatedly exposing ourselves to better foods.

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How to feel calm quickly!

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People who listen to crashing ocean waves feel a lot calmer in 7 minutes. It’s down to something called the “biophilia hypothesis” – our innate connection to living things that we find reassuring and soothing. It explains our desire to care for animals and plants. And hearing ocean waves, rustling leaves, or a gurgling stream taps into that innate desire to be close to nature. Can’t get outdoors? Try one of these free apps: “Ocean Wave Sounds” or “Nature Space.”

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Got a backache?

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Before you pop a pill, try a massage, or low-impact exercise, like walking. Because boosting the flow of oxygen-rich blood can reduce inflammation, which helps cut pain. Those are new guidelines from the American College of Physicians. If your back is really hurting, start out slowly – walking for about 10 minutes once a day, for example. And gradually increase the time and distance until you’re getting at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days.

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Don’t charge your tablet or phone on your bed!

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Here’s a scary statistic: 53% of children and teens charge their phone or tablet at night on their bed or under their pillow. And that could start a fire! That’s according to the Newtown, New Hampshire Fire Department.

Because the heat generated by the charging device can’t dissipate. So the charger, the connection, and the device just get hotter and hotter. The likely result is the pillow or bed will catch fire. According to the latest Hartford Home Fire Index, overall, the act of charging a phone overnight is considered a ‘moderate risk’ for causing a fire. Meaning if you’re charging it overnight on the kitchen counter, for example. But the Fire Index says charging a phone overnight on your bed is HIGH risk, just like leaving the stovetop on in your kitchen, or a candle burning in an unoccupied room.

So be warned: Don’t charge your phone overnight on your bed or under your pillow.

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Are silica gel packets poison?

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You know those packets they put in boxes with electronics that say “Do not eat?” Do they contain poison? No. The packets are filled with silica gel, a naturally-occurring mineral that absorbs and holds water vapor, so moisture won’t ruin your new TV before you get it home. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, silica gel may not TASTE good, but it’s non-toxic, which means it’s NOT poisonous. So, why does the packet say “Do not eat?” Because 1) It’s not food, and 2) The packet itself could be a choking hazard for small children.

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Men, be honest with your doctor!

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Guys, when you see a doctor, are you totally honest about your symptoms and lifestyle habits? You may NOT be if your doctor’s a man. Rutgers researchers found men who buy into the stereotype that they’re supposed to be tough, brave and strong tend to believe male doctors are more competent. But tough guys also avoid showing weakness to other men, so they’re much less likely, to be honest with male doctors. But men who bit the bullet and saw a female doctor were much more honest. Because they felt showing vulnerability and admitting weakness to a woman didn’t diminish their status as a man.

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If you want to avoid a cold, or get rid of one:

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The herb thyme is your friend. It contains an oil called thymol that kills germs on contact and is an active ingredient in cold medications, like Vicks VapoRub. It can stop an infection short by activating white blood cells and boosting immunity. And if you’re already sick, thyme can reduce congestion, coughs and nasal irritation. So cook with thyme, or make tea. Add 2 teaspoons of fresh thyme to hot water, steep for 10 minutes, strain and sip. And for a stuffy nose, add thyme to boiling water, cover your head with a towel, lean over and inhale the steam.

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Sleepwalkers feel no pain…

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…even if they fall down the stairs! A study in the journal Sleep found 80% of sleepwalkers who injured themselves felt no pain and never woke up! And this goes WAY beyond bumping their head on something. One study subject jumped out of a third-floor window! Another fell off his roof and broke his leg! And neither knew what happened – or felt any pain – until they woke up. In the study, nearly half of all sleepwalkers reported injuring themselves while asleep – but only 10% woke up the moment they got hurt. Why is that? The researchers think sleepwalking switches off the neurons that send pain signals to the spinal cord and brain.

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What’s the secret to a long life?

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Taking a day off! Longevity researcher Dan Buettner found that Seventh Day Adventists tend to live longer than average. Because they encourage their congregation to totally switch off one day a week, and spend the day resting and reconnecting with loved ones. So no texting, no TV, no work. The day off gives the brain time to reset itself and reduces stress levels, which has been proven to improve health, and increase longevity.

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