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“I wasn’t prepared”: Grant Denyer opens up about horrifying moment during recovery

<div> <div class="replay"> <div class="reply_body body linkify"> <div class="reply_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>Grant Denyer has opened up about the terrifying hallucinations he had while recovering from his car accident in 2008.</p> <p>The Gold Logie nominee cheated death in a horror rally car crash in March 2008, in Melbourne. The injuries were extensive, leaving the star in bad shape.</p> <p>The monster truck, which was reported to have crumpled up on impact, left Denyer with a broken back and the threat of never having the ability to walk again.</p> <p>Ten years on, both he and wife Chezzi Denyer have opened up about the challenges the couple both had to deal with in the face of tragedy.</p> <p>The <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/worst-time-of-my-life-grant-denyer-reveals-drug-struggle-that-nearly-cost-him-his-relationship" target="_blank">“hardcore” pain Grant faced almost cost him his relationship with his wife</a>, and further revealing the hallucinations he suffered from scared him deeply.</p> <p>Speaking to the<span> </span><a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-6841545/Grant-Denyer-shares-details-terrifying-hallucinations-suffered-hospital.html"><em>Daily Mail</em></a>, the TV host explained the difficulty of dealing with horror “nightmares.”</p> <p>“I remember I could never distinguish my dreams from reality – or turns out, my nightmares which I was having every night,” he said.</p> <p>“Often the hardest part of an injury is the rehabilitation. And the medication that a hospital can put you on, often you're not prepared for the side effects.”</p> <p>Since then though, the Denyer family are thriving, and his health is better than ever.</p> <p>“It really was an uncomfortable and scary experience, but thankfully I'm 100 per cent and all good now,” he explained.</p> </div> <div class="body_assets"></div> </div> <div class="details"><span class="detail_tools"><span> </span>20m<span class="who_watched"><span class="people_count_container"><span class="people_count current">2</span></span></span><a class="likebtn"><span class="post_like_button icon icon-dapulse-thumb"></span></a></span></div> </div> </div> </div> <div></div>

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How to learn while you're asleep

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Can we learn while we’re asleep? The premise might sound too good to be true, but a new study has suggested that it’s possible.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Researchers from Switzerland’s University of Bern have found that people can learn a new language while they’re asleep.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The study, published in </span><a href="https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(18)31672-5?_returnURL=https%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS0960982218316725%3Fshowall%3Dtrue#secsectitle0010"><span style="font-weight: 400;"><em>Current Biology</em></span></a> <span style="font-weight: 400;">earlier this year, discovered that people in a deep sleep can learn new vocabularies. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The participants in the study were put in a controlled environment and given headphones to listen through when they slept. Their brain activity was recorded when the researchers played words from a made-up language. These fake words were paired up with their German translations – for example, the fake word “tofer” is paired with “Haus” (house) and “guga” is paired with “elefant” (elephant).</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Upon waking up, the participants were given an implicit memory test. Surprisingly, they were able to correctly answer questions on the made-up words, including what they denoted and whether they were the larger or smaller objects compared to the others.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The researchers found that people’s association between the words and their meaning was stronger when the word was played during slow wave sleep, also known as deep sleep, which they described as the best moment for sleep-learning. It is when the body is most relaxed and the brain is performing memory consolidation processes.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"It was particularly interesting that language areas and the hippocampus – which normally regulate language-learning while we're awake – were also activated when learning the vocabulary learnt in deep sleep," said co-author of the study Marc Züs in a press release.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"It seems these structures regulate memory formation independent of whatever state of consciousness we're in – whether unconsciously in sleep, or consciously while we're awake."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This is the latest study to support the idea of sleep-learning. In </span><a href="https://www.wired.co.uk/article/learn-languages-while-you-sleep"><span style="font-weight: 400;">2014</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, a team from the Swiss National Science Foundation discovered that listening to foreign languages during sleep helps reinforce vocabulary learning. In 2012, a </span><a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nn.3193"><span style="font-weight: 400;">study</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> by Israeli researchers found that people could associate sounds with scents that they were exposed to when they were dozing off.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While the researchers said more experiments are needed to support their findings, the study showed promise in continuous learning – even while you’re unconscious.</span></p>

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Why being bored is good for you

<p><span>Many of us don’t consider boredom as a pleasant feeling. It’s a state that we usually associate with the tedious and the uninteresting, be it a heavy textbook, a work seminar or a long commute. However, studies have shown that being bored can actually do wonders for your creativity.</span></p> <p><span>In a recent study published in the <em>Academy of Management Discoveries</em>, researchers found that being bored can improve productivity and work performance. The participants who had gone through the “boring” task of sorting beans by colour later performed better on solving a creative task than those who were made to do interesting craft activity.  </span></p> <p>In the creative task – which asked people to come up with excuses for being late – the bored participants generated more and better ideas than the other group, as assessed by objective outsiders.</p> <p><span>The report concluded that boredom motivates individuals to try new things, or “engaging in different, often unusual, ways of doing things that are unlike typical or predictable responses.”</span></p> <p><span>Scientists around the world have agreed that despite the negative image, boredom is useful for humans. </span></p> <p><span>"From an evolutionary point of view, if you stay in one place for too long … you make yourself vulnerable to predators and you miss out on opportunity costs," James Danckert, professor of cognitive neuroscience at the University of Waterloo told the <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2019-01-05/boredom-is-anything-but-boring/10566842"><em>ABC</em></a>.</span></p> <p><span>"Boredom is one signal that says, 'you've been here too long, go do something else'."</span></p> <p><span>With the prevalence of mobile phones and social media, boredom has become easier to evade – stimulation is always just a few clicks away. Peter Enticott, director of the Cognitive Neuroscience Unit at <a href="https://this.deakin.edu.au/self-improvement/what-does-boredom-do-to-your-brain">Deakin’s School of Psychology</a> said that the effects of digital life on boredom and creativity remain to be seen. </span></p> <p><span>“It’s interesting that we seem to be increasingly less tolerant of boredom,” said Enticott. “Think about people constantly on smartphones, whenever the opportunity arises. The longer-term outcome of this will be very interesting, especially with each new generation who grow-up with these devices.”</span></p> <p><span>Do you agree with the claim that boredom is good for you? Let us know in the comments below.</span></p>

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What counts as mindfulness?

<p>An episode of ABC’s Catalyst, “<a href="https://iview.abc.net.au/show/catalyst">The Mindfulness Experiment</a>”, offered a unique glimpse into what happens to people during <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mindfulness-based_stress_reduction">Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction</a>, an eight-week structured training program in mindfulness meditation.</p> <p>The program followed 15 ordinary Australians who were seeking to deal with conditions including chronic pain, stress and anxiety. At the end of the experiment, many of the participants had shown improvement.</p> <p>But if you’re considering dipping a toe into practising mindfulness, or taking the full plunge, there are several things you should consider first.</p> <p><strong>Clarifying misconceptions</strong></p> <p><strong>Mindfulness is not relaxation</strong></p> <p>The origins of mindfulness can be found in Eastern traditions. <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1745691617709589?journalCode=ppsa">One definition</a> suggests it’s a way of orienting attention and awareness to the present, reminding oneself to stay present when the mind wanders, and carefully discerning those behaviours that are helpful from those that are not.</p> <p>Contrary to popular belief, mindfulness is not a way to relax or manage emotions. During practice, you will most likely experience unrest, have unpleasant thoughts and feelings, and learn unexpected and unsettling things about yourself.</p> <p>While relaxation can and does occur, it’s not always as expected and it’s not really the <a href="https://blogs.psychcentral.com/mindfulness/2011/03/want-to-relax-mindfulness-may-not-be-for-you/">goal</a>.</p> <p><strong>Mindfulness is not a quick fix</strong></p> <p>Problems that have developed over weeks, months, or years cannot be fixed overnight. Behaviour change is <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-motivated-brain/201803/why-is-behavior-change-so-hard">hard</a>. The patterns we most want to change (such as addictive behaviours, dysfunctional relationships, anxious thinking) require the investment of serious time and effort.</p> <p>Instructor Timothea Goddard championed the practice of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction in Australia and facilitated the Catalyst participants’ mindfulness journey. She acknowledges doing up to an hour of practice a day can seem demanding. But if the challenges a person is dealing with are significant, this may be what’s required.</p> <p>She adds that just like physical fitness, courses offering sustained daily practice may be more likely to offer greater transformation experiences.</p> <p>While we have <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19309694">little data</a> on the frequency or length of practice necessary, <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2015-45474-001">decades of research in psychotherapy</a> and <a href="https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/diabetes/maintaining_weight_loss_85,p07862">behaviour change</a> suggest there is no such thing as a quick fix.</p> <p><strong>Mindfulness is not an escape</strong></p> <p>You may imagine mindfulness to be like a beach holiday where you leave all the stress, pressure, and deadlines behind. It’s not.</p> <p>Mindfulness practice creates awareness around the issues that most need our attention. Often we’re drawn to emotional and physical pain we’ve been avoiding.</p> <p>One participant in The Mindfulness Experiment, Sam, found this difficult. “I want to forget about the areas that are painful, not concentrate on them,” she said.</p> <p>Mindfulness provides a <a href="https://www.mindful.org/suffering-is-optional/">method</a>, not to escape, but to explore pain or hardship with acceptance, curiosity, and emotional balance.</p> <p><strong>Mindfulness is not a panacea</strong></p> <p>Despite suggestions it will fix everything, there are many circumstances and conditions for which mindfulness is simply <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1745691617709589?journalCode=ppsa">not effective or appropriate</a>.</p> <p>If your main reason for seeking out mindfulness is for mental illness or another medical condition, speak first to a medical professional. Meditation is not meant as a <a href="https://www.lionsroar.com/what-meditation-cant-cure/">replacement</a> for traditional medicine.</p> <p><strong>Questions to ask before you start</strong></p> <p><strong>Is mindfulness for you?</strong></p> <p>An individual session with a skilled instructor can help you work out whether mindfulness is going to be right for you generally, and which approach specifically might help you.</p> <p>Mindfulness is not one size fits all. Personal attention before and during practice can make a huge difference, especially in a group. We know from <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2003-02805-000">psychotherapy research</a> individual adjustments must be made.</p> <p><strong>Who created the program?</strong></p> <p>Perhaps this seems like a strange question; few therapy clients or surgery patients know who created the method being used and they often get better. But unlike therapy or medical procedures, meditation is not overseen by any regulatory agency.</p> <p>Consider what you want to get from the program and whether there is evidence the program and instructor can help you to achieve those goals.</p> <p>This advice is especially important when considering apps. Few have been <a href="https://www.mindful.org/trouble-mindfulness-apps/">examined scientifically</a>.</p> <p><strong>Does the instructor have a personal practice?</strong></p> <p>Those who do not have a regular mindfulness practice themselves may struggle to <a href="https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9780387094830">teach others</a> to cultivate a practice effectively.</p> <p>Programs that train people to provide structured meditation programs (such as Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy) <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28031068">require</a> professional training, supervision, and extensive personal practice. While we don’t know if personal practice is necessary, it seems likely it is helpful in guiding others.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/110698/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Nicholas T. Van Dam, Senior Lecturer in Psychological Sciences, University of Melbourne</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/we-dont-yet-fully-understand-what-mindfulness-is-but-this-is-what-its-not-110698"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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How to cope when you feel depleted

<p><span>Powering through different tasks and commitments can be quite draining. When this happens, there’s an unlikely source of inspiration that you can turn to: Your phone battery.</span></p> <p><span>According to happiness expert Gretchen Rubin, going into “<a href="https://gretchenrubin.com/podcast-episode/183-low-power-mode">low power mode</a>” can help us conserve energy and get important things done while also maintaining balance in our lives. </span></p> <p><span>“Energy is precious,” Rubin told <a href="https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/feeling-overwhelmed-how-to-low-power-mode-your-life-to-find-calm_uk_5bc4a9a9e4b01a01d68cf9a9?fbclid=IwAR3UxHsjx249WSxaefLxVmV_NA3tARyqebcLmQMGo9GDp3yu5akxfkx4-Ts&amp;guccounter=1&amp;guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly9sLmZhY2Vib29rLmNvbS8&amp;guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAJAWDdpJPXcHADhiEZJ-jfWlJPiNFAbJLti3O2BUplYoOJHHsy1NmI5Sb9j_fbunn5rUDVoSs9JxJGmklHouiehjXRfYlyf0nn9vl_v9xFX7s7OAerwckkwMlKgnkbN24ccCzJn13dWA3tdXhRJlPa43UXnUcnsGifKowwULEZyI"><em>HuffPost UK</em></a>. “Whenever we can conserve it, we can use it in another area of our lives—an area that’s more valuable to us.”</span></p> <p><span>While on low power mode, Rubin recommended performing only critical functions and delaying others until you are fully “recharged”. </span></p> <p><span>These critical functions might vary depending on the person’s needs. Think about what activities you can eliminate or reduce from your day-to-day life to give you headspace. For example, if you are caring for a sick partner or preparing to move to a new place, you might want to postpone that dinner party plan or return phone calls at a designated hour on the day instead of immediately.</span></p> <p><span>The focus on these critical functions is not only to reduce intensity and pressure, but also to help you identify priorities and distractions.</span></p> <p><span>To get the most out of your low power mode, announce it to the people around you. “Tell people that you’re in LPM so that they know what to expect from you,” advised Rubin. Once you are back on full power, you can let your friends and family members know that you are ready to return to your regular engagements and plans.</span></p> <p><span>Have you tried this “low power mode” strategy? Share with us in the comments. </span></p>

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“I wouldn’t say it’s broken me but it’s hard”: Jett Kenny breaks down on Dancing With The Stars

<p>Jett Kenny had a less than stellar performance on<span> </span><em>Dancing with The Stars</em>, with renowned harsh judge Craig Horwood saying it was “a mess and you need to be hard on yourself".</p> <p>Kenny knew his dance on March 4 was a mess, admitting: <span>“Last week, I think it was the second step and I slipped on something, lost balance on something else, I was just falling apart.”</span></p> <p>The other judges were positive, but Horwood wasn’t having any of it.</p> <p>“I think it was a mess.”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr">Is that Jett crying? 😭😥 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DWTSau?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DWTSau</a> <a href="https://t.co/OTR9Wk3v5g">pic.twitter.com/OTR9Wk3v5g</a></p> — Dancing With The Stars Australia (@DancingOn10) <a href="https://twitter.com/DancingOn10/status/1105028413218123776?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 11, 2019</a></blockquote> <p>“I get told I am too hard on myself, and it's just sort of the way I've been my entire life,” Kenny revealed before he broke down in tears.</p> <p>Angrily wiping them away, Kenny then agreed, saying, <span>“I didn’t think it would be emotionally difficult.</span></p> <p>“I wouldn’t say it’s broken me in a way, but it’s hard. It’s hard.”</p> <p>Kenny also addressed the mistakes in an emotional Instagram post, saying that “the snowball effect of small mistakes really showed and defeated me last night”.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/Bunxfv0B7it/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_medium=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/Bunxfv0B7it/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_medium=loading" target="_blank">This was the point of my routine where I thought I could reset and start again. The snowball effect of small mistakes really showed and defeated me last night. I’m sorry for those who had to witness it, especially @lilycornish who had to feel it happening then and there. I was supposed to be her frame and her my picture, but that wasn’t to be last night. Thankyou everyone for all your support, messages and especially the votes. Every vote clearly counts and I thankyou all so much. You have given me an opportunity to come back and give it another crack next week where I can hopefully prove that I deserve to be there. I’m super excited to not only be dancing for Lily next week, but also for @jessscolllins Looking forward to resetting and getting ready for a big few days of training before we go back and do it all again. 🕺🏼🌻💃🏽 Also, apologies to @craigrevel , @sharnaburgess and @tristanmacmanus for having to experience my pancake ass up-close and personal.</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/jertkenny/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_medium=loading" target="_blank"> Jett Kenny</a> (@jertkenny) on Mar 5, 2019 at 1:23am PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>However, after some supportive words from his dancing partner Lily Cornish, who said that she’s “really proud” of his efforts, Kenny bounced back from the missteps with confidence for latin night on<span> </span><em>Dancing With The Stars</em><span> </span>this week.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr">Excuse us for a minute... 😱 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DWTSau?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DWTSau</a> <a href="https://t.co/YV2Un79M5W">pic.twitter.com/YV2Un79M5W</a></p> — Dancing With The Stars Australia (@DancingOn10) <a href="https://twitter.com/DancingOn10/status/1105029485169131520?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 11, 2019</a></blockquote> <p>The duo even gained praise from the judge who criticised them the previous week.</p> <p>“I did like it!” Horwood said with a smile.</p> <p>Have you been watching <em>Dancing With The Stars</em>? Who is your favourite dance couple? Let us know in the comments.</p>

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Maths hack goes viral and blows people’s minds: "You've changed my life"

<p>A UK copywriter has shared an arithmetic trick that makes calculating a lot easier.</p> <p>Ben Stephens took to Twitter to share his “fascinating little life hack” for doing percentage calculations.</p> <p>He showed that by flipping numbers and multiplying them as per usual will result in the sum you are looking for.</p> <p>“So, for example, if you needed to work out 4 per cent of 75 in your head, just flip it and and do 75 per cent of 4, which is easier,” Stephens wrote.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en-gb"> <p dir="ltr">Fascinating little life hack, for doing percentages:<br /><br />x% of y = y% of x<br /><br />So, for example, if you needed to work out 4% of 75 in your head, just flip it and and do 75% of 4, which is easier.</p> — Ben Stephens (@stephens_ben) <a href="https://twitter.com/stephens_ben/status/1102167046115262466?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">3 March 2019</a></blockquote> <p>People on the Internet have been amazed by the simple maths hack, with Stephens’ post accumulating more than 4,000 retweets and 11,000 likes at the time of writing.</p> <p>“You’ve changed my life,” a man simply replied.</p> <p>Another man commented that he was “furious” for not knowing this sooner. “I'm 30 and have avoided knowing this until some hero on Twitter tweeted it.”</p> <p>One wrote, “How could maths teachers let us live without this!”</p> <p>The tweet also inspired some teachers who had not been aware of the switching technique. </p> <p>“I teach Maths at primary level and had never realised this,” one wrote. “50 per cent blown away/50 per cent going DOH!”</p> <p>A woman chimed in, “I used to teach maths for reporters as a part of journalism school and wish I’d had this explanation in my back pocket. I had other tricks for mathsphobes but this is far more elegant.”</p> <p>Some complained that the trick is a simple mathematics rule rather than some little-known hack.</p> <p>“Do you really think people don’t understand such a simple concept enough to know this? Good grief,” one wrote.</p> <p>“Those of us who studied basic arithmetic at school are scratching our heads as to why this is a revelation,” another added. “Next you’ll be telling us that x+y = y+x and that xy = yx.”</p> <p>Stephens defended his post, saying it was meant as a way to pique people’s interest in numbers. He admitted that he also just learned about the ‘switcheroo’ fact.</p> <p>“I almost think stuff like this would be lost on a kid at school,” he wrote. “It has way more impact a couple of decades later when you see it and you're like OMG IT WAS SITTING RIGHT THERE THE WHOLE TIME.”</p> <p>Did you know this maths trick? Let us know in the comments.</p>

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Duchess Kate’s brother opens up about the “angst of loneliness” in emotional post

<p>The Duchess of Cambridge’s brother has always been candid about his struggle with depression, and now, the 31-year-old has given an insight into how he deals with the illness.</p> <p>James Middleton has previously described depression as an “illness, a cancer of the mind”.</p> <p>Now, taking to Instagram, the youngest of the Middleton clan has opened up about his life.</p> <p>“I’ve been in that angst of loneliness, where you’re really alone in the universe,” he wrote to his 127,000 followers.</p> <p>“Luckily for me I had my dogs.”</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/BuonSDcA_nf/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_medium=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BuonSDcA_nf/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_medium=loading" target="_blank">I've been in that angst of loneliness, where you're really alone in the universe. Luckily for me I had my dogs 🐾🐾</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/jmidy/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_medium=loading" target="_blank"> James Middleton</a> (@jmidy) on Mar 5, 2019 at 9:13am PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Earlier in the year, the entrepreneur penned <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/mind/duchess-kates-brother-speaks-out-about-secret-battle" target="_blank">an open letter</a> for the <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6583137/With-devastating-honesty-courage-JAMES-MIDDLETON-reveals-private-battle-depression.html" target="_blank"><em>Daily Mail</em></a>, as he revealed his fight against depression.</p> <p>“It is tricky to describe the condition,” he wrote, “It is not merely sadness. It is an illness, a cancer of the mind.”</p> <p>It was a rapid decline, as Middleton found his mental health suffering over the course of 2017, with each day being consumed by the illness.</p> <p>“It’s not a feeling but an absence of feelings. You exist without purpose or direction,” he explained.</p> <p>Middleton also suffers from Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), and when combined with depression, it became increasingly difficult for him to get through day-to-day life.</p> <p>After taking as much as he could handle, he escaped from his routine and drove to England’s Lake District with his dogs in December of 2017.</p> <p>In the hopes to leave his dark days behind, he came to the conclusion that he needs help, and that was when his slow but meaningful recovery began.</p> <p>“I knew if I accepted help there would be hope. It was a tiny spark of light in the darkness.”</p> <p>Middleton, who runs his own marshmallow business called Boomf, has suffered from a few knock-backs as his company has experienced a loss of over $5 million in three years.</p> <p>He is now working as a guide for Pippa Middleton’s husband James Matthews at the Glen Affric Lodge near Loch Ness – a hotel in the Scottish Highlands.</p> <p><em>If you are troubled by this article, experiencing a personal crisis or thinking about suicide, you can call Lifeline 131 114 or beyondblue 1300 224 636 or visit lifeline.org.au or beyondblue.org.au.</em></p>

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How to gain a sense of meaning in life

<p>The pursuit of happiness and health is a popular endeavour, as the preponderance of self-help books would attest.</p> <p>Yet it is also fraught. Despite ample advice from experts, individuals regularly engage in activities that may only have short-term benefit for well-being, or even <a href="http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20181218-whats-the-quickest-way-to-happiness-do-nothing">backfire</a>.</p> <p>The search for the heart of well-being – that is, a nucleus from which other aspects of well-being and health might flow – has been the focus of decades of research. New findings recently reported in<em> <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/116/4/1207">Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</a> </em>point towards an answer commonly overlooked: meaning in life.</p> <p><strong>Meaning in life: part of the well-being puzzle?</strong></p> <p>University College London’s psychology professor Andrew Steptoe and senior research associate Daisy Fancourt analysed a sample of 7,304 UK residents aged 50+ drawn from the <a href="https://www.elsa-project.ac.uk/">English Longitudinal Study of Ageing</a>.</p> <p>Survey respondents answered a range of questions assessing social, economic, health, and physical activity characteristics, including:</p> <blockquote> <p>…to what extent do you feel the things you do in your life are worthwhile?</p> </blockquote> <p>Follow-up surveys two and four years later assessed those same characteristics again.</p> <p>One key question addressed in this research is: what advantage might having a strong sense of meaning in life afford a few years down the road?</p> <p>The data revealed that individuals reporting a higher meaning in life had:</p> <ul> <li>lower risk of divorce</li> <li>lower risk of living alone</li> <li>increased connections with friends and engagement in social and cultural activities</li> <li>lower incidence of new chronic disease and onset of depression</li> <li>lower obesity and increased physical activity</li> <li>increased adoption of positive health behaviours (exercising, eating fruit and veg).</li> </ul> <p>On the whole, individuals with a higher sense of meaning in life a few years earlier were later living lives characterised by health and well-being.</p> <p>You might wonder if these findings are attributable to other factors, or to factors already in play by the time participants joined the study. The authors undertook stringent analyses to account for this, which revealed largely similar patterns of findings.</p> <p>The findings join a body of prior research documenting longitudinal relationships between meaning in life and <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17439760.2015.1117127">social functioning</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28461710">net wealth</a> and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26630073">reduced mortality</a>, especially among <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12126-002-1004-2">older adults</a>.</p> <p><strong>What <em>is</em> meaning in life?</strong></p> <p>The historical arc of consideration of the meaning in life (not to be confused with the <a href="http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Meaning_of_life">meaning <em>of</em> life</a>) starts as far back as Ancient Greece. It tracks through the popular works of people such as Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist Victor Frankl, and continues today in the field of psychology.</p> <p>One definition, offered by well-being researcher Laura King and colleagues, <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2F0022-3514.90.1.179">says</a></p> <blockquote> <p>…lives may be experienced as meaningful when they are felt to have a significance beyond the trivial or momentary, to have purpose, or to have a coherence that transcends chaos.</p> </blockquote> <p>This definition is useful because it highlights three central components of meaning:</p> <ol> <li><strong>purpose</strong>: having goals and direction in life</li> <li><strong>significance</strong>: the degree to which a person believes his or her life has value, worth, and importance</li> <li><strong>coherence</strong>: the sense that one’s life is characterised by predictability and routine.</li> </ol> <p><iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/RLFVoEF2RI0?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> </p> <p>Curious about your own sense of meaning in life? You can take an interactive version of the Meaning in Life Questionnaire, developed by Steger and colleagues, yourself <a href="https://kevgrig.github.io/mlq-react/">here</a>.</p> <p>This measure captures not just the presence of meaning in life (whether a person feels that their life has purpose, significance, and coherence), but also the desire to search for meaning in life.</p> <p><strong>Routes for cultivating meaning in life</strong></p> <p>Given the documented benefits, you may wonder: how might one go about cultivating a sense of meaning in life?</p> <p>We know a few things about participants in Steptoe and Fancourt’s study who reported relatively higher meaning in life during the first survey. For instance, they contacted their friends frequently, belonged to social groups, engaged in volunteering, and maintained a suite of healthy habits relating to sleep, diet and exercise.</p> <p>Backing up the idea that seeking out these qualities might be a good place to start in the quest for meaning, several studies have causally linked these indicators to meaning in life.</p> <p>For instance, <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17439760.2016.1209541">spending money on others and volunteering</a>, <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/bjhp.12113">eating fruit and vegetables</a>, and being in a well-connected <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17439760.2015.1117127">social network</a> have all been prospectively linked to acquiring a sense of meaning in life.</p> <p>For a temporary boost, some activities have documented benefits for meaning in the short term: envisioning a <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10902-018-9960-8">happier future</a>, writing a <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17439760.2015.1048814">note of gratitude</a> to another person, engaging in <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/ejsp.2519">nostalgic reverie</a>, and bringing to mind one’s <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0146167213499186">close relationships</a>.</p> <p><strong>Happiness and meaning: is it one or the other?</strong></p> <p>There’s a high degree of overlap between experiencing happiness and meaning - most people who report one also report the other. Days when people report feeling happy are often also days that people report meaning.</p> <p>Yet there’s a tricky relationship between the two. Moment-to-moment, happiness and meaning are often <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1948550616678455">decoupled</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17439760.2013.830764">Research</a> by social psychologist Roy Baumeister and colleagues suggests that satisfying basic needs promotes happiness, but not meaning. In contrast, linking a sense of self across one’s past, present, and future promotes meaning, but not happiness.</p> <p>Connecting socially with others is important for both happiness and meaning, but doing so in a way that promotes meaning (such as via parenting) can happen at the cost of personal happiness, at least temporarily.</p> <p>Given the now-documented long-term social, mental, and physical benefits of having a sense of meaning in life, the recommendation here is clear. Rather than pursuing happiness as an end-state, ensuring one’s activities provide a sense of meaning might be a better route to living well and flourishing throughout life.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/110361/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Lisa A Williams, Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology, UNSW</span>. Republished with permission of <span><a href="https://theconversation.com/having-a-sense-of-meaning-in-life-is-good-for-you-so-how-do-you-get-one-110361">The Conversation</a></span>.</em></p>

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Psychological tricks to make life more enjoyable

<p>It happens fast. You crack open a bottle of your favourite drink and put it to your lips. The delicious flavor is nearly overwhelming. But a minute later, you’re barely noticing the taste as you drink it.</p> <p>Or you buy a new car and think it will make you smile every time you drive it for years. But a month later, that sensation is gone. Now it’s just a car.</p> <p>This satiation, known as <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-science-success/201208/how-keep-happiness-fading">hedonic adaptation</a>, occurs for nearly everything that makes us happy. Look around and think of how much you initially enjoyed the things that surround you. Then think about how much you enjoy them today.</p> <p>Wouldn’t it be great to get some of that initial enjoyment back?</p> <p>In a <a href="http://www.acrwebsite.org/volumes/1024500/volumes/v45/NA-45">series of studies</a> soon to be published in <a href="http://journals.sagepub.com/home/psp">Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin</a>, <a href="https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=MQ1R-O4AAAAJ&amp;hl=en">we</a> <a href="https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=dy1B5DIAAAAJ&amp;hl=en">found</a> that consuming things in unconventional ways enhances enjoyment of them.</p> <p>This is where chopsticks come in.</p> <p><strong>The art of paying attention</strong></p> <p>In one study, we asked 68 participants to eat some popcorn. While half were told to eat the normal way, one kernel at a time, the rest used chopsticks. We found that those who ate with chopsticks enjoyed the popcorn a lot more than the others, even though both groups were told to eat at the same slow pace.</p> <p>This is because of something well-known to psychologists: When something seems new, people pay more attention to it. And when people pay more attention to something enjoyable, they tend to enjoy it more.</p> <p>This is why many people seek so much variety in what they consume. We buy something and use it for a while until it becomes familiar and mundane, then we <a href="https://unclutterer.com/2010/08/09/hedonic-adaptation-why-buying-more-wont-make-you-happy/">buy something else</a> thinking it will make us happy. Unfortunately, this replacement is costly, and, in cases such as houses and <a href="https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/14/that-loving-feeling-takes-a-lot-of-work/">spouses</a>, sometimes a very extreme option in response to unavoidable familiarity.</p> <p>Our research suggests another option: Instead of replacing something once you get sick of it, try consuming it or interacting with it in unconventional ways.</p> <p><strong>Make each sip count</strong></p> <p>In another experiment, we studied 300 people as they consumed water.</p> <p>First, we asked participants to come up with their own unconventional ways to consume water. Their responses ranged from drinking out of a martini glass or travel mug to lapping it up like a cat. One even suggested drinking water out of a shipping envelope.</p> <p>They were then told to take five sips of water and rate their enjoyment after each drink. A third did so in the normal way, another third sipped using one of their own randomly chosen unconventional methods over and over and the rest used a different unconventional method for each sip.</p> <p>We found that people who drank water in a different way every time enjoyed their water the most – with even bigger boosts toward the end of the taste test. In other words, their enjoyment did not decline over time. While everyone else enjoyed the water less for each sip, those who drank it in different ways did not show this usual pattern of declining enjoyment.</p> <p>This presents a rare solution to the nearly universal phenomenon of satiation, or the declining enjoyment that comes with familiarity. As long as you can find new and interesting ways to interact with something, you may never grow tired of it.</p> <p><strong>Business opportunities</strong></p> <p>This idea isn’t entirely novel, of course. Many companies are already taking advantage of this concept to provide more enjoyable experiences for customers.</p> <p>Restaurants exist where diners eat <a href="http://nymag.com/nymetro/news/people/columns/intelligencer/9798">while lying in beds</a>, <a href="http://dinnerinthesky.com/">while hovering in the sky</a> and <a href="https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2008/10/naked-sushi">off of naked models</a>. There is even <a href="https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/what-its-like-in-naked-restaurant-bunyadi-london-food/index.html">a restaurant where diners eat naked</a>.</p> <p>The Reddit page <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/WeWantPlates/">WeWantPlates</a> presents a rich catalogue of the many creative and confusing ways that restaurants serve their customers food, from <a href="https://i.redd.it/iwualplfdagz.jpg">nachos in a sink</a> to <a href="https://i.imgur.com/avWimLg.jpg%5D(https://i.imgur.com/avWimLg.jpg">ravioli on a washing line</a>.</p> <p>While there is no limit to the different ways to present the same old thing, at some point the novelty usually wears off. Our research suggests this is a missed opportunity for businesses to offer more variety in how a single food is consumed.</p> <p>For example, when people eat a few slices of pizza at a restaurant, they typically consume them all in the same way. It’s a problem if people enjoy their last slice less because of satiation, because our memory for experiences is shaped heavily by what happened <a href="https://curiosity.com/topics/the-peak-end-rule-says-experiences-are-all-about-the-ending-curiosity/">at the end</a>.</p> <p>Rather than turning off all the lights to make dining more enjoyable, as in the <a href="http://travel.spotcoolstuff.com/unusual-restaurants-eating-in-the-dark">dark-dining trend</a>, pizza parlors could encourage their customers to eat each slice in a different way, such as normally, folded in half, backwards, with a fork and knife, with chopsticks or while blindfolded. If they did, we believe they would likely find that their customers enjoy their last slice as much as the first.</p> <p>The bottom line is that variety is the spice of life, not just in what we do but also how we do it. Knowing this can help both businesses and customers maximize enjoyment.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/98218/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Robert W. Smith, Assistant Professor of Marketing, The Ohio State University and Ed O'Brien, Assistant Professor of Behavioral Science, University of Chicago</span>. Republished with permission of <span><a href="https://theconversation.com/why-you-should-eat-popcorn-with-chopsticks-and-other-psychological-tricks-to-make-life-more-enjoyable-98218">The Conversation</a></span>.</em></p>

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My possessions spark joy: Will the KonMari decluttering method work for me?

<p>Australia is the <a href="https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/environment/municipal-waste/indicator/english_89d5679a-en">sixth-largest</a> contributor of household waste per capita in the world. We spend more than <a href="http://www.tai.org.au/node/940">$A10.5 billion</a> annually on goods and services that are never or rarely used.</p> <p>One-quarter of Australians admit to throwing away clothing <a href="https://au.yougov.com/news/2017/12/06/fast-fashion/">after just one use</a>, while at the other end of the extreme, 5% of the population save unused items with such tenacity that their homes become <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3181962/">dangerously cluttered</a>.</p> <p>If unnecessary purchases come at such a profound cost, why do we make them?</p> <p><strong>Why do we buy so much stuff?</strong></p> <p>We acquire some possessions because of their perceived usefulness. We might buy a computer to complete work tasks, or a pressure cooker to make meal preparation easier.</p> <p>But consumer goods often have a psychological value that outweighs their functional value. This can drive us to acquire and keep things we could do without.</p> <p>Possessions can act as an extension of ourselves. They may remind us of our personal history, our connection to other people, and who we are or want to be. Wearing a uniform may convince us we are a different person. Keeping family photos may remind us that we are loved. A home library may reveal our appreciation for knowledge and enjoyment of reading.</p> <p>Acquiring and holding onto possessions can bring us comfort and emotional security. But these feelings cloud our judgement about how useful the objects are and prompt us to hang onto things we haven’t used in years.</p> <p>When this behaviour crosses over into hoarding disorder, we may notice:</p> <ol> <li> <p>a persistent difficulty discarding possessions, regardless of their actual value</p> </li> <li> <p>that this difficulty arises because we feel we <em>need</em> to save the items and/or avoid the distress associated with discarding them</p> </li> <li> <p>that our home has become so cluttered we cannot use it as intended. We might not be able to sit on our sofa, cook in our kitchen, sleep in our bed, or park our car in the garage</p> </li> <li> <p>the saving behaviour is impacting our quality of life. We might experience significant family strain or be embarrassed to invite others into our home. Our safety might be at risk, or we may have financial problems. These problems can contribute to workplace difficulties.</p> </li> </ol> <p><strong>Will the KonMari method help?</strong></p> <p>According to Japanese tidying consultant Marie Kondo, “everyone who completes the KonMari Method has successfully kept their house in order”.</p> <p>But while some aspects of the KonMari method are consistent with existing evidence, others may be inadvisable, particularly for those with clinical hoarding problems.</p> <p>Kondo suggests that before starting her process, people should visualise what they want their home to look like after decluttering. A similar clinical technique is used when treating hoarding disorder. Images of one’s ideal home can act as a powerful amplifier for positive emotions, thereby increasing motivation to discard and organise.</p> <p>Next, the KonMari Method involves organising by category rather than by location. Tidying should be done in a specific order. People should tackle clothing, books, paper, <em>komono</em> (kitchen, bathroom, garage, and miscellaneous), and then sentimental items.</p> <p>Organising begins with placing every item within a category on the floor. This suggestion has an evidence base. <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165032717327167?via%3Dihub">Our research</a> has shown people tend to discard more possessions when surrounded by clutter as opposed to being in a tidy environment.</p> <p>However, organising and categorising possessions in any context is challenging for people with hoarding disorder.</p> <p>Marie Kondo gives sage advice about whether to keep possessions we think we’ll use in the future. A focus on future utility is a common thinking trap, as many saved items are never used. She encourages us to think about the true purpose of possessions: wearing the shirt or reading the book. If we aren’t doing those things, we should give the item to someone who will.</p> <p>Another Kondo suggestion is to thank our possessions before we discard them. This is to recognise that an item has served its purpose. She believes this process will facilitate letting go.</p> <p>However, by thanking our items we might inadvertently increase their perceived humanness. Anthropomorphising inanimate objects increases the sentimental value and perceived utility of items, which increases object attachment.</p> <p>People who are dissatisfied with their interpersonal relationships are more prone to anthropomorphism and have more difficulty making decisions. This strategy may be particularly unhelpful for them.</p> <p>One of Kondo’s key messages is to discard any item that does not “spark joy”.</p> <p>But for someone with excessive emotional attachment to objects, focusing on one’s emotional reaction may not be helpful. People who hoard things experience intense positive emotions in response to many of their possessions, so this may not help them declutter.</p> <p><strong>Think about how you get rid of things</strong></p> <p><a href="https://www.sustainability.vic.gov.au/About-us/Latest-news/2019/01/10/23/21/Urgent-advisory-for-Netflix-inspired-declutterers">Sustainability Victoria</a> recently urged Netflix-inspired declutterers to reduce, reuse, and recycle rather than just tossing unwanted items into landfill.</p> <p>Dumping everything into the op-shop or local charity bin is also problematic. Aussie charities are paying <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-04/charities-spending-millions-cleaning-up-fast-fashion-graveyard/10328758">A$13 million a year</a> to send unusable donations to landfill.</p> <p>Ultimately, we need to make more thoughtful decisions about both acquiring and discarding possessions. We need to buy less, buy used, and pass our possessions on to someone else when we have stopped using them for their intended purpose.</p> <p><em>Written by <span>Melissa Norberg, Associate Professor in Psychology, Macquarie University and Jessica Grisham, Professor in Psychology, UNSW</span>. Republished with permission of <span><a href="https://theconversation.com/my-possessions-spark-joy-will-the-konmari-decluttering-method-work-for-me-110357">The Conversation</a></span>.</em></p>

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Why being rich won’t make us happier

<p>Decent people take comfort in the idea that money is not profoundly connected with happiness.</p> <p>There are statistics that suggest that as income increases happiness does not rise to an equal degree; and that beyond a modest threshold, money does not make a big difference to one’s happiness.</p> <p>It’s a likeable thesis: it cheers for the underdog. It spits in the eye of money – and most people have been humiliated or disappointed by money at some time or other; there is a pleasure of revenge.</p> <p>Deep down we know that it would be too terrible if money could – by itself – cause happiness, with the clean causal power by which, for instance, alcohol makes us drunk.</p> <p>If money were a sufficient cause of happiness, the world would be truly hellish. If money, gained in whatever way (by undetected fraud, by sheer luck, by being above the law) and spent in whatever way (on tinsel, on securing flattery, on satisfying one’s most irresponsible and transient wishes) reliably produced happiness (the most desirable of all human conditions, the proper objective of our striving), how could one explain such an arrangement? Only a malevolent designer could create such a hideous order of things.</p> <p>But to win this point is not really to achieve much. For the question is not can money pure and simple produce happiness? The question is rather what connections, of more subtle kinds, there may be.</p> <p>By an unfortunate series of cultural events this crucial question has come to seem mean-spirited and philistine. It sounds cruel to ask: how can money produce happiness? Or, more provocatively, how can you buy happiness?</p> <p>In fact, this line of investigation deserves the utmost devotion of philosophical effort; we should treat it with the loving intelligence that went into working out the secret laws of nature.</p> <p>The first thing we have to do is look more closely at the idea of happiness. When we talk of happiness we sometimes mean a state of inner buoyancy, a sensation of inner satisfaction. And one can well imagine that money has only limited long-term effects on such feelings.</p> <p>But that inner state of buoyancy is not the true aim of most people’s lives. Of course, we all want to feel good about ourselves, not worry too much and not be depressed.</p> <p>Unless we have been kicked into desperation by life, we really don’t see the big issue as “how yummy do I feel?”</p> <p>Instead we see the issue as how much do I believe in what I am doing; what is the state of my self-respect? Do I give my life to worthy ends. How fully can I realise my higher nature. Have I served the good I see and the good I long to see?</p> <p>I believe that such concerns are true to human aspiration – and that few people would worry that they will bring with them a fair degree of anxiety, anguish, worry and disappointment. We’re not made of porcelain.</p> <p>In fact, what we usually mean by a happy life is flourishing. Flourishing is a semi technical term – the standard way of stating the realisation of a person’s best potential. If you live in a thuggish culture, or just a vulgar or silly one, it is certainly possible to feel good about yourself; but that would have little to do with realising your best potential or developing and exercising your best capacities. While feeling good about yourself seems to have natural limit, the good exercise of your capacities can always increase.</p> <p>Flourishing – or the larger, deeper ideal of happiness – is like beauty; it is an emergent property. An artist cannot endow a picture with beauty by adding one magical ingredient. But all the elements, worked together in the right way, may produce a ravishing portrait or a gracious still life.</p> <p>It is perfectly clear the mere possession of money does not enable a person to make the kinds of choices, or undertake the kinds of activities that constitute a flourishing life.</p> <p>Goethe provided us with a central metaphor here. In his novel Whilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship – written in the last decade of the 18th century – he writes: “life lies before you, like a huge quarry before an architect. He does not deserve the name of architect unless out of this chance mass of material he can, with maximum economy, fitness and durability fashion a dwelling place” - that is, make a life.</p> <p>The material is diverse - external and internal (character traits, genetic endowment, nurture, historical circumstance …); it is fortuitous because you do not choose it; it is a mass before it is organised. But what you do with it depends upon your ideas, abilities, inspiration, drive, ambition, appetite to face difficulties and overcome them, the beauty of your ideals and the refinement of your taste.</p> <p>His point is that, of course you can have all kinds of resources – and money is just the abstract name for resources – but not know how to use them to make anything wonderful.</p> <p>On the other hand, a skilled person, with the right attitude of overcoming problems and making much out of little, can produce something admirable and fine with apparently unpromising materials. (And how much more, one might think, such a person could do if they were granted a bit more access to the quarry.)</p> <p>Flourishing, in the eyes of Goethe, is not something that happens apart from the resources we happen to have to hand.</p> <p>The mantra of happiness tends to invite us to be poor – to tell us that we already have far too much, and that money, things etc are not ways of being happy. It plays up to inner bolshevism: the idea that a human being really doesn’t need all that much by way of material resources.</p> <p>But, if one thinks, as I do, that every person deserves to live in a city as gracious as Bath, or with as rich a culture as Edinburgh, that many more people need the time to think for themselves and the stimulus and guidance to cultivate their inner lives; that we all need a lot more dinner parties, and many more leisurely conversations in which our minds can meet – then really we are saying that we need two things: we need more material prosperity, we need more resources but we also need to use those resources in a more enlightened way – as architects of our own flourishing.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/1188/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>John Armstrong, Philosopher, University of Melbourne</span>. Republished with permission of <span><a href="https://theconversation.com/a-deficit-of-the-soul-or-why-being-rich-wont-make-australia-happier-1188">The Conversation</a></span>.</em></p>

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How money can put happiness on lay-by

<p>The fact that that money can’t buy you happiness is generally well accepted. Happiness, it appears, is more about meaning and satisfaction than the acquisition of more stuff.</p> <p>But money isn’t all bad. It can feed your family and pay off your mortgage, so it has its upsides.</p> <p>Reflecting this reality, research consistently demonstrates a non-linear relationship between money and happiness. It shows that those of us who earn too little are unhappy, but so are those of us who earn too much.</p> <p>The most up-to-date figures on this relationship suggest that, in Australia, A$100,000 is the income <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-07-02/researchers-find-money-is-one-of-the-keys-to-hapiness/4793388">“sweet spot”</a> for maximising happiness.</p> <p>So, money in moderation appears to promote the most happiness. Still, perhaps it’s not just how much money we have, but also how we value and spend it that matters for happiness.</p> <p><strong>The pursuit of happiness</strong></p> <p>It is now well accepted that materialism – the love of things – tends to have adverse consequences for well-being.</p> <p>People who hold these values tend to be <a href="http://books.google.com.au/books?hl=en&amp;lr=&amp;id=2ekg225NTSwC&amp;oi=fnd&amp;pg=PR9&amp;dq=materialism&amp;ots=UlM8lIgMzg&amp;sig=cR_E8zJLwU-b9aSsF4UDmWO9GCY#v=onepage&amp;q=materialism&amp;f=false">less happy</a>, depressed and less satisfied with their lives. This fact is best remembered when sitting at the traffic lights in your Toyota Corolla next to a much younger person driving a rather swish looking Mercedes sports convertible.</p> <p>We also know that what people spend their money on is an important determinant of happiness. Money tends to reduce happiness when it is spent on more stuff for ourselves.</p> <p>But money can bring happiness when we spend it on experiences rather than things, use the money to benefit others, and perhaps unsurprisingly, don’t waste it on insurance policies.</p> <p>When we spend money in less materialistic ways, it may actually promote eudaimonia - a sense of well-being and the feeling of flourishing and excelling in life.</p> <p>But is there any hope for those poor materialists? A <a href="http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.1086/669256?uid=3737536&amp;uid=2&amp;uid=4&amp;sid=21102536455223">recently published study</a> suggests there may be.</p> <p><strong>Wanting vs. having</strong></p> <p>Marsha Richins of the University of Missouri examined whether buying things may actually promote happiness.</p> <p>In <a href="http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/669256">three studies</a>, consumers were asked about the emotions they experienced when contemplating an important purchase, while shopping for an important purchase, or when using the product after it was purchased.</p> <p>After grouping the sample according to whether consumers reported either high or low levels of materialism, Richins found materialists experienced more positive emotion when contemplating a future purchase, and a decline in positive emotion after the purchase had occurred.</p> <p>Richins also found that the experience of positive emotion when contemplating a new purchase was related to how transformative materialists thought the new purchase would be.</p> <p>That is, whether they thought the product would make them more likeable, more attractive and closer to their friends. Whether it would mean that they would have more fun and enjoyment in life, and would they be more effective and efficient in their lives.</p> <p>This experience of pre-purchase increases and post-purchase decreases in positive emotion was not evident for lesser materialists, who appear to be emotionally ambivalent about acquiring more stuff.</p> <p>The findings of this research demonstrate that, for materialists, happiness lies in the anticipation, rather than the outcome of spending money on things.</p> <p><strong>Maximising return on investment</strong></p> <p>How can we use this to improve our daily levels of happiness? Here are a few pearls of wisdom (well, at least, for the materialists among us):</p> <p>1) Don’t rush into a purchase. Spend time contemplating how much of a better person the new product will make you first.</p> <p>2) Buy lotto tickets a week before the draw. That’s seven days of happy expectation and probably the only return on investment you will ever receive!</p> <p>3) Revive the lay-by. Putting something behind the counter and paying it off over time should maximise its happiness pay-offs.</p> <p>4) Don’t buy now and pay later. It will not only contribute to the pain of debt, but will rob you of the joy of contemplating the purchase while you diligently save for it.</p> <p>Can money buy happiness? Well, maybe it can.</p> <p>If we don’t have too much of it, spend it on a good meal out or presents for our loved ones, and spend more time contemplating our purchases than shopping for them, we just may be able to maximise the happiness returns on our investments. <!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/15836/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Brock Bastian, Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland</span>. Republished with permission of <span><a href="https://theconversation.com/money-cant-buy-you-happiness-but-it-can-put-it-on-lay-by-15836">The Conversation</a></span>. </em></p>

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How old is too old to drive?

<p>When Britain’s Prince Philip <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-47236607">crashed his Land Rover</a> into another vehicle on January 17, 2019, many people were surprised that he was still driving at age 97. Many thought that surely someone – the queen perhaps? – would have persuaded him to give it up, or would have "taken away" the keys.</p> <p>Older unsafe drivers are a growing problem, thanks to the baby boom generation. In the US, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/older_adult_drivers/">42 million</a> adults 65 and older were licensed to drive in 2016, an <a href="https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/infographics/concerned-about-driving-safety">increase of 15 million</a> from 20 years ago.</p> <p>Yet who wants to stop driving? It is not only a major symbol of independence but also a needed activity for older people to be able to shop, go to the doctor and maintain social connections.</p> <p>I’m a geriatrics specialist physician, a daughter of parents who had to stop driving. I live in Florida, where <a href="http://elderaffairs.state.fl.us/doea/pubs/stats/County_2017_projections/Counties/Florida.pdf">29 per cent</a> of our drivers are older adults, which everywhere else in the US will experience about 10 years from now. I also serve as editorial board chair of the <a href="https://geriatricscareonline.org/ProductAbstract/clinicians-guide-to-assessing-and-counseling-older-drivers-3rd-edition/B022">Clinician’s Guide to Assessing and Counseling Older Drivers</a>, a collaborative project between the American Geriatrics Society and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA. I have spent a great deal of time training clinicians how to detect and treat factors leading to the loss of driving skills early enough to prevent crashes and the loss of independent mobility.</p> <p><strong>Older drivers by the numbers</strong></p> <p>By 2030, NHTSA estimates that 1 of out of every 4 drivers will be an older adult.</p> <p>About 7,400 adults ages 65 and older were killed, and more than 290,000 were treated for motor vehicle crash injuries in 2016 alone.</p> <p>Males 85 years and older and 20-24 years of age have the <a href="https://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/general-statistics/fatalityfacts/overview-of-fatality-facts/2017">highest crash rates</a>. Age and experience may be a factor here, but far and away the greatest number of vehicular deaths are still from <a href="https://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/alcohol-and-drugs/fatalityfacts/alcohol-and-drugs/2017">substance abuse-related crashes,</a> accounting for 23,611 out of a total 37,133 deaths in 2017.</p> <p>According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/Injury/wisqars/pdf/ICARIS2-PublicUse-DataSet-Documentation.pdf">data</a>, most older drivers have good driving habits. The CDC reports that many self-restrict their driving to conditions where they feel safe and confident, such as avoiding high-speed roads, nighttime driving, bad weather or high-congestion times of day.</p> <p><strong>Know the stop signs</strong></p> <p>Prince Philip announced on February 9, 2019 that he would <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/09/prince-philip-97-gives-up-drivers-license-after-crash.html">give up his driver's license</a>, but only after he and others had suffered serious consequences.</p> <p>So how can others know when it's time to get help or stop driving, for ourselves or for our parents, friends and neighbours?</p> <p>It is all about the skills, not the age.</p> <p>Key warning signs that it may be time to stop include getting lost, failing to obey traffic signals, reacting slowly to emergencies, using poor judgment, or forgetting to use common safety strategies, such as checking for blind spots.</p> <p>Vision, cognition and the physical ability to manage the controls to the vehicle are critical functions that we must be able to perform, whether we are young or old in order to drive safely and effectively. Vision is well-recognised as the single most important source of information we use when navigating and making judgments.</p> <p>Having difficulty with daytime sun glare, as was reported in Prince Philip’s crash, or nighttime headlights, brushing into objects on one side, or having to brake suddenly may be signs that something is impairing our ability to perceive road hazards accurately. Regular vision checkups are important to assure that we keep optimal vision for driving.</p> <p>Cognition is essential to processing all the information we receive, ignoring distractions, remembering our route, responding to traffic signals and making good decisions. Medications and medical conditions such as sleep apnea, Parkinson’s disease or dementia can stop us from being able to think and respond well enough to keep ourselves or others safe while driving. Getting a good evaluation from your health care provider can help to minimise these risks and flag situations.</p> <p>Physical abilities such as turning the steering wheel, neck flexibility and detecting where the pedals are correctly are important for operating the vehicle smoothly. Many of the same conditions associated with falls are also related to motor vehicle crashes.</p> <p><strong>Possible solutions</strong></p> <p>People can take brief <a href="https://seniordriving.aaa.com/evaluate-your-driving-ability/self-rating-tool/">self-assessments</a> to get an idea of how they are doing, or ask a trusted individual to rate their driving using a <a href="http://fitnesstodrive.phhp.ufl.edu/us/">tool</a> validated by on-road testing, and discuss the results.</p> <p>A driving rehabilitation specialist may be helpful in identifying problem areas, learning strategies for improvement and rehabilitating rusty or lost driving skills.</p> <p>It may be tempting to get a new vehicle featuring the latest safety features such as collision avoidance sensors, but these are not a substitute for a driver’s own skills. And, sometimes changing vehicles may even create mild confusion in a driver accustomed to a certain vehicle.</p> <p><strong>"Mom, can I take away the keys?"</strong></p> <p>Adult children often want to protect their parents if they notice impairment. It’s important to have open, respectful communication to establish that maintaining mobility and finding alternative means of transportation are key to retiring from driving. These discussions should occur long before there’s a crisis.</p> <p>Being willing and able to stop driving requires having a realistic <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/pdf/older_adult_drivers/CDC-AdultMobilityTool-9.27.pdf">mobility plan</a>. National and local transportation resources can help people get around without driving, but it does take some effort to get used to planning activities well in advance. New skills may be needed, such as learning how to access ride-hailing services like Uber, or someday, managing an autonomous vehicle.</p> <p>Until then, following basic <a href="https://www.healthinaging.org/files/documents/HIA-Tip-Safety_Older_Drivers2017-1.pdf">driving safety</a> strategies and keeping as mentally and physically fit as possible is the best way to help us help ourselves to keep driving for longer.</p> <p><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><em>Written by <span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alice-pomidor-688215">Alice Pomidor</a>, Professor of Geriatrics and Researcher, The Institute for Successful Longevity, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/florida-state-university-1372">Florida State University</a></span>. Republished with permission of <span><a href="https://theconversation.com/how-old-is-too-old-to-drive-111596">The Conversation</a></span>. </em><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/111596/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p>

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12 ways to brighten your morning

<p>Here are ways to make sure you wake up on the right side of the bed and ease into your day with a positive, calm attitude.<br /><br />Remember: Stress and anxiety wreak havoc on your immunity. Enter your day happy and relaxed, and you greatly increase your chances of a healthy, productive day.</p> <div class="view view-article-slider view-id-article_slider view-display-id-article_slider_block view-dom-id-711d7061b965954d4d5f6cec9d4b9966"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>1. Go to sleep with your blinds or curtains open</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>That way, the natural light of the rising sun will send a signal to your brain to slow its production of melatonin and bump up its production of adrenaline, a signal that it’s time to wake up.</p> <p>When the alarm goes off, you’ll already be half awake.</p> <p>Even better: Go to bed early enough so that waking up when the sun shines through your window still gives you the recommended seven hours of shut-eye.</p> <p>If you maintain this routine, it’s likely that you can start relying on your biological clock rather than an alarm clock. </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>2. Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>This way, you don’t have to jump out of bed and rush through your morning.</p> <p>You can begin your morning by lying in bed, slowly waking up. Stretching. Listening to the news headlines. Mentally clicking off what you’re going to wear, what you’re going to do, what you’re going to have for breakfast.</p> <p>It’s just as important to prepare yourself mentally as physically for your day.</p> <p>These few minutes in bed, before anyone else is up, are all yours.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>3. Stretch every extremity for 15 seconds</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>Try this even before you open your eyes.</p> <p>Lift your arm and begin by stretching each finger, then your hand, then your wrist, then your arm.</p> <p>Then move on to the other arm.</p> <p>Then your toes, feet, ankles, and legs. Finally, end with a neck and back stretch that propels you out of the bed.</p> <p>You’ve just limbered up your muscles and joints and enhanced the flow of blood through your body, providing an extra shot of oxygen to all your tissues.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>4. Stick a chair in the shower and sit</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>Use one of those plastic chairs you can buy at any hardware store.</p> <p>Let it warm up under the spray for a minute, then sit in it and let the spray beat on your back.</p> <p>It’s simultaneously relaxing and energising, like getting a water massage.</p> <p>After a couple of minutes, you can swing the chair out of the way and commence with washing.<span> </span>If you have time, you could give yourself an invigorating facial massage.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>5. Read a motivational quote every morning</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>This can provide a frame for the day, a sort of self-talk that keeps you motivated in the right direction as opposed to the negative thinking of the morning news.</p> <p>Another option: Use a motivational mantra that provides a meditation-like burst, or read or recite a poem that helps you focus.<a rel="noopener" href="https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46473/if---" target="_blank" title="" data-original-title=""></a></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>6. Take a vitamin</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>Keep a multi-vitamin out on  he kitchen counter by the coffeepot so you remember to take one every morning.</p> <p>More than 20 years of research led to a major recommendation in one of the country’s premier medical journals suggesting that every American take a multivitamin as part of a healthy lifestyle.<span> </span>You could also whip up a vitamin-packed strawberry and yogurt smoothie.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>7. Eschew any decisions</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>For truly relaxing mornings, reduce the number of choices and decisions you make to zero.</p> <p>Go about this two ways: First, make your morning decisions the night before: what clothes to wear,<span> </span>what breakfast to eat, what route to take to work, and so on.</p> <p>Second, routinize as much of your morning as possible.</p> <p>Really, there’s no need to vary your breakfast, timetable, or bathroom ritual from one morning to the next.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>8. Cuddle with your grandkids</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>Few things are more stressful in the morning than waking up an overtired fifth grader or a snoring high schooler. Yet this is one of the few times you can catch your child still vulnerable.</p> <p>Sit on their bed and gently smooth their hair as you softly waken them. Or, if you’re dealing with a very young child, lie beside him and gently hug him awake.</p> <p>Such a moment will send a quiet surge of joy through your entire day and will become all too rare in all too short a time.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>9. Spend 5 to 10 minutes listening to music</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>Or sitting on the deck or porch just thinking.<span> </span>Some people mediate for a short while in the morning.</p> <p>This allows the creative thinking that takes place during the night to gel and form into a plan of action, grounding you for the day.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>10. Wake to the smell of coffee</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>Really great coffee. Buy the best coffee you can afford<span> </span>- fresh beans are preferred - and put twice the amount you’ve been using into your coffee maker, the one you bought specifically because it has an alarm that can be set to start brewing times.</p> <p>The strong scent of strong coffee will pull you out of bed like a fishhook in the back of your pajamas.</p> <p>Plus, if you’re going the caffeine route, morning is the best time for it.</p> <p>Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant that acts in many ways like other stimulant drugs such as increasing your muscular activity.</p> <p>Even better: A study of 18 men found that caffeine improved clear-headedness, happiness, and calmness, as well as their ability to perform on attention tests and to process information and solve problems.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>11. Brush your tongue for one minute</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>There’s no better way to rid yourself of morning breath and begin your day minty fresh and clean.</p> <p>After all, more than 300 types of bacteria take up residence in your mouth every night.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>12. Use real sugar in your coffee, or drink an orange juice</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>When researchers at the University of Virginia tested the memories of healthy 60- to 80-year-olds, they found those who had a small amount of sugar in the morning (the experimenters compared sweetened to unsweetened lemonade) even before breakfast had better memory recall that day on into the following day.</p> <p>We’re talking small amounts, however, about a teaspoon or less;<span> </span>so put down that doughnut.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>This article first appeared in </em><span><em><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/conditions/mental-health/12-ways-brighten-your-morning">Reader’s Digest</a></em></span><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><span><em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA87V">here’s our best subscription offer.</a></em></span></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

Mind

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4 ways to keep your mind young

<p>We may not have any choice about growing old, it’s the most inevitable thing about our lives. But we do have a choice about how we grow old. We can choose to live a healthy, fulfilling life. Here are four tips to get you on the right track today.</p> <p><strong>Tip 1: Eat healthy and fresh food</strong><span> </span><br />We’ve heard the expression 'You are what you eat' and you only have to look inside a healthy person's fridge or pantry to see it’s true. We are lucky to live in a country where fresh, healthy food is available and affordable.</p> <p>But there are also some wicked temptations around too! So when loading up the trolley at the supermarket, balance the fruit, vegetables and lean protein with the odd naughty treat. Eat less sugar, flour and fatty foods, and more fish, nuts and seeds - and of course, drink plenty of water.</p> <p><strong>Tip 2: Find a physical activity you enjoy</strong><br />Physical exercise is important for all of us, regardless of how old we are. We now know that physical exercise is even more important than it was when we were young for optimum health and longevity. A daily walk or swim can make all the difference to how we feel. Exercise makes your legs feel stronger, your body feels lighter and you have more energy. The secret is to find an activity you enjoy. It could be dancing, playing a sport or being active with your friends, partner or grandchildren. What do you most enjoy?</p> <p><strong>Tip 3: Do something new each week</strong><span> </span><br />Why not try something different every week to keep life interesting? Life is too short to get caught in a dreary routine so get ready to break old habits. Take a different route home, jump on a bus trip to go somewhere you've never been, phone a friend you haven't seen for ages, or cook something exotic and invite friends around to try it out. Don’t be afraid to move out of your comfort zone. Explore your nearest city, visit the cinema or local theatre. Join a club or an evening class where you might make new friends. Most importantly, enjoy yourself! What do you want to try next?</p> <p><strong>Tip 4: Keep your brain active</strong><span> </span><br />Finally, mental stimulation is important for healthy ageing. One of the activities I always recommend is<span> </span><span>puzzling </span>– of course! Countless puzzlers have written to tell me how much solving crosswords and puzzles has helped them to stay mentally fit, as well as passing the time in a satisfying way.</p> <p>Crosswords are fun, they are inexpensive (compare a crossword magazine to the price of a cup of coffee or a greetings card) plus they give your 'grey matter' a good workout. Doctors recommend crosswords for stroke patients, because it helps them to regain their literary skills. And you learn some interesting facts along the way. You might even win a prize in a crossword competition!</p> <p>Other ways of 'waking up your brain' is to try learning a language, or playing a musical instrument. Engage in a game of Scrabble, chess or Mahjong. Take up painting or drawing. It doesn't matter if you think you're not very good at it, it's just for fun. And you will get better as you go. Read a newspaper from cover to cover, try memorising the shopping list and leaving it at home. Even using the opposite hand to the one you usually use, in simple tasks, can be beneficial.</p> <p>However, the most important thing is to be positive and have fun. As the years go by we can all inevitably get a few aches and pains, but when they hit try to remember the lines of this beautiful poem:</p> <p><em>Solitude</em><span> </span>by Ella Wheeler</p> <p><em>Wilcox Laugh, and the world laughs with you;<span> </span><br />Weep, and you weep alone.<span> </span><br />For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth<span> </span><br />But has trouble enough of its own </em></p> <p>What is your best tip for keeping both mind and body healthy? Let us know in the comments.</p> <p><em>Written by Christine Lovatt. Republished with permission of <span><a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/health/wellbeing/4-ways-to-keep-your-mind-young.aspx">Wyza.com.au</a></span>.</em></p>

Mind

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How keeping someone else's secret could hurt your mental health

<p>Being told a secret can feel good – it means that you are worthy of being trusted with sensitive information. However, keeping other people's secrets can also take a toll on your mental health, research has revealed.</p> <p>According to the study published in the <span><em><a href="http://www.columbia.edu/~ms4992/Pubs/2018_Slepian-Greenaway_JESP.pdf?utm_source=General+list+-+Experts+Alert&amp;utm_campaign=ffc2156140-Experts+Alert_COPY_01&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_term=0_c9912b2edd-ffc2156140-89893337&amp;ct=t(Y_COPY_01)">Journal of Experimental Social Psychology</a></em></span>, we're the keeper of around 13 personal secrets on average at any given moment, but also keep 17 secrets of others' at the same time – totalling 30 secrets in all.</p> <p>"We know a little bit about how people feel about keeping their own secrets, which is often weighed down, burdened," Katharine Greenaway, from the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, one of the study’s co-authors, told the <span><em><a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-13/the-mental-cost-of-keeping-someone-elses-secret/10777296">ABC.</a></em></span></p> <p>"We were interested in whether that burden might actually transfer over when someone else tells you a secret."</p> <p>For the research, Greenaway and colleague Michael Slepian interviewed more than 600 people using a questionnaire that classified 38 different kinds of secrets – including personal secrets, such as health issues and addiction – and secrets that involve other parties, such as infidelities and theft.</p> <p>However, they found that the burden comes not from the category of secrets, but from the significance of the secrets themselves.</p> <p>Secret-holders who feel close to the confider are more likely to feel more burden, especially if the secret is related to the people both parties know of.</p> <p>"It's a very social thing, keeping a secret … You need to know who knows the secret, who to guard that information from and of course to not stray to topics of conversation that might reveal the secret," Greenaway said.</p> <p>"It can be really socially taxing as well as personally taxing."</p> <p>But secrets are not always a burden. While negative secrets tend to weigh you down, positive secrets can have exciting and energising effects, as they are likely going to be revealed anyway, Greenaway said.</p> <p>There are more positive sides to having someone confide their secrets in us. Sharing secrets can result in a closer relationship, as it increases feelings of intimacy.</p> <p>"Even though we feel burdened, we can also have this offsetting of that cost by feeling a greater sense of intimacy or closeness with the person who had confided in us," said Greenaway.</p> <p>She also said taking in people’s secrets "distinguishes you from others". The research identified that people who we choose to confide in tend to be "compassionate", "empathetic" and "kind". Other types of individuals that are generally trusted with others' secrets are the assertive kind, who Greenaway said "are the people that are going to get us the help that we need".</p> <p>Do you keep anybody else's secrets? Do you find it a burden? Share your thoughts in the comments.</p>

Mind

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Easy tricks to improve a bad mood

<p>Having a rough day? It will only take five minutes to cure it, a study has revealed.</p> <p>Researchers from the University of Regina, Canada, have found that our mood can be improved by spending just five minutes in nature.</p> <p>The <span><a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/figure/10.1080/17439760.2018.1557242?scroll=top&amp;needAccess=true">study</a></span>, which was conducted on 123 university students, found that being in an urban park for five minutes inspired more positive emotions than being in a windowless room. While negative emotions were lowered in both situations within a few minutes, spending time out in nature encouraged more significant improvements in the participants’ mood.</p> <p>"There are two important take-homes," one of the study’s co-authors, Katherine D. Arbuthnott, told <span><em><a href="https://www.psypost.org/2019/01/spending-just-5-minutes-in-contact-with-nature-boosts-your-mood-study-finds-52948">PsyPost</a></em></span>.</p> <p>"The first … when you need an emotional boost, the fastest and easiest way is to spend a few minutes with nature. Actually, being outside is the best, but even contemplating a picture of a natural scene will make a difference.</p> <p>"The second is that, since contact with nature is so beneficial to our emotional health, preserving our local natural spaces is an important public health goal."</p> <p>The trick works for the time-poor, as five minutes is all that is needed. The study discovered that increasing the contact time with a natural environment to 15 minutes did not increase the mood benefits markedly.</p> <p>If the weather's not allowing for an enjoyable time outdoors, you can try socialising. According to a 2014 study published in the <span><em><a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2014-42183-008">Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin</a></em></span>, chatting with a friend or family member for five minutes could do wonders to your mood as well.</p> <p>What's your trick to deal with a bad mood? Share your tips in the comments.</p>

Mind