June, 2016

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How This App Helped Me Finally Stop Procrastinating + MORE

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Stuck on a Problem? Let Your Mind Wander, Researchers Say

– www.health.com

There’s a reason some people say they get their best ideas when they're running. A new study from researchers at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, and published in the journal Psychological Science, suggests that a clear mind—free of too much chatter—is a more creative one. 

In three different experiments, about 20 people completed the same free association task. (They had to quickly name the first thing that popped into their head after they heard a series of target words.) But in each experiment, the researchers manipulated the "cognitive load" of the participants with various additional tasks. For example, some people were asked to remember a string of two digits (a low cognitive load), while others had to alphabetize the first three letters of each target word (a high cognitive load). 

RELATED: 12 Reasons to Stop Multitasking Now!

What the researchers found was that the participants with lower cognitive loads gave more creative responses. “When you reduce mental [stress], people have a greater tendency to avoid the ‘obvious solution’ and instead access unique thoughts in their mind,” study co-author and PhD student Shira Baror explained in an email to Health. In other words, when your brain is quieter, it can afford to "put aside its stored, immediate, well-earned associations and take a more interesting path of more original associations." 

The study's findings are in line with prior research, says Jonathan Schooler, PhD, a professor in the department of psychological and brain sciences at the University of California, Santa Barbara. In 2012 he led a study that showed the benefits of letting your mind slow down and wander: His team's work suggested that when you're trying to solve a problem, you may get the best creative boost from engaging in a non-demanding task. Think taking a shower, doing light chores—or you know, going for a good sweaty run.

RELATED: How Exercise Makes You More Creative

In fact, that's exactly what Baror suggests when you're stuck in a rut. "Ruminating on the same problem, especially when you're under stress or tension, will not yield creative solutions." Instead, she says, literally walk away, and give your mind the chance to make those seemingly random, unexpected turns that lead to breakthroughs.

 

How This App Helped Me Finally Stop Procrastinating

– www.health.com

I’ve always been a procrastinator. Studying for high school history exams, calling the dreaded cable company, scrubbing my bathroom—you name it, I’ve said, “I’ll do it tomorrow.” So when I heard about a popular task-manager app called 30/30 (iOS), I had to try it out. 

What it does

The app lets you schedule your to-do list in timed intervals. The simple concept: You work on a task for 30 minutes; the app alerts you when your time is up, and you get a 30-minute break (hence the name 30/30).  

RELATED: 12 Ways to Improve Your Concentration at Work

The pros

The interface is so bright and pleasing to the eye, it’s hard not to feel motivated when you open it. I had fun color coding and labeling my tasks with mini icons (say, silverware for the week's meal prep, a piggy bank for managing my budget). You can also choose how you want to be alerted—with a ring, a vibration, or a visual notification. (I found the ring worked best, so I didn't, you know, procrastinate by checking my phone.) If you finish a task early, you touch the check mark, which brings you to the next item on your to-do list. Or, if the timer goes off and you are in the zone, you can hit '+5m' to give yourself an extra five minutes. 

Knowing that I was being timed really motivated me to get stuff done. And knowing that I only had to work in 30-minute bursts helped me get through the really daunting chores (like my taxes). I'd find myself thinking, You probably only have 20 minutes left on the clock, so get as much done as you can and then you can watch an episode of Friends!

I have an unhealthy habit of scrolling through Instagram and obsessively clicking through Snapchat stories to avoid whatever it is I don't want to do. But with this app, I felt like I was always on a mission to beat the clock.

​RELATED: A Standing Desk Won't Help You Slim Down—​But Doing This Will

The cons

One of the app's downsides is that it’s confusing at first. It took me a little while to figure out how to set my tasks and change my settings. But once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty self-explanatory. My other complaint is that there are a lot of interactive options for managing your to-dos. On each task, you can 2-finger tap, 3-finger tap, touch and hold, shake the phone, spread your fingers apart vertically, and more. Each kind of tap and swipe does something different, and there are so many options, it's a little overwhelming.

Who should try it

If you have a serious problem focusing, 30/30 might be yet another source of distraction. But for people like me who need a little extra motivation to get things done, the ticking clock may be just the amount of pressure you need. 

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5 Next-Level Push-Up Variations for Anyone Up for a Challenge + MORE

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Karlie Kloss Says Running the Marathon Was the Best Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show Training + MORE

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Watch Jennifer Lopez Leg Press Nearly 300 Pounds Like It's Nothing + MORE

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This Oil Cleanser Transformed My Combination Skin + MORE

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7 Concealers Makeup Artists Swear By + MORE

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Stuck on a Problem? Let Your Mind Wander, Researchers Saywww.health.com
How This App Helped Me Finally Stop Procrastinatingwww.health.com

The Best Stress Buster You're Currently Not Using + MORE

When it comes to invsablend reviews there are a lot of
sources. Making sure accurate and relevant information is accessible we have
started a review blog to help inform the public. We hope this beauty review
helps to enlighten your life and encourage good health.

The Best Stress Buster You're Currently Not Using

– www.health.com

If you've ever spent some time doodling with crayons or sculpting a lump of Play-Doh and emerged feeling refreshed and relaxed, science may have an explanation. Researchers found that levels of the stress hormone cortisol (which normally spikes during the fight-or-flight response) went down in a group of 39 volunteers who drew with markers, made collages, or played with clay for 45 minutes.

Although this study, published in Art Therapy, was done in healthy adults, it confirms what Lindsay Aaron sees all the time in cancer patients: "This is a very science-focused study but it's something you see on the outside of the individual, in body language, the emotional state, behavior," says Aaron, a healing arts therapist at Montefiore Health System in New York City. "We're being able to understand what goes on in the neurology."  

Much of the research thus far has been done in people suffering from different health conditions, and usually with much more defined tasks, such as painting a single tile. This study is the first to look at more freewheeling creative expression in healthy people.

RELATED: Pamper Yourself! 8 Natural Stress Relievers

Researchers took saliva samples from 33 women and six men aged 18 to 59 before and after 45-minute sessions with an art therapist, who was present to provide any assistance needed.​ Levels of cortisol in the saliva tend to mirror those in the blood, so are a good measure of how stressed you are.  

The participants were given no specific instructions other than to make anything they wanted with paper, markers, modeling clay, and collage materials. Some made collages out of magazine pages, some made small clay sculptures, and some combined clay, scribbles, and words cut out of newspapers. About half of the participants had little experience making art.

Cortisol levels went down in 75% of participants over the course of a session. Surprisingly, the remaining 25% had higher levels of cortisol than when they started, something the researchers are still trying to understand. It could be that the art led to new learning or self awareness, which raised stress levels. When asked to write about the experience, participants who said they had learned about themselves during the exercise were slightly more likely to have elevated cortisol levels. 

The study included no control group, which means the researchers don't know if the changes in cortisol levels were due to making art or to some other factor, like hanging out with other people, says study lead author Girija Kaimal, assistant professor of creative arts therapies at Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions in Philadelphia. 

RELATED: 25 Surprising Ways Stress Affects Your Health

It's possible that cortisol levels would decrease after an hour of watching TV as well, points out James W. Pennebaker, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin…

Learning Something New? Exercising Could Boost Memory

– www.health.com

Working out might keep the brain sharp, and according to a new study, exercising four hours after learning a task can improve memory.

In the new report, published Thursday in the journal Current Biology, researchers found that exercising four hours after a memory task increased brain patterns associated with memory, and helped people retain information better than people who exercised immediately after or people who did not work out.

Seventy two people partook in a picture-location memory task for about 40 minutes. Then, the people were either randomly assigned to 35 minutes of exercise right away, exercise four hours later, or no exercise at all. Two days later, the people came back to see how well they remembered what they had learned, and their brains were scanned. The people who exercised hours later had better recall and stronger and more clear activation in the areas of their brain associated with memory retrieval.

“There is good evidence from animal data that the release of certain neurotransmitters—dopamine and norepinephrine—leads to a biochemical cascade leading to the production of so called plasticity related proteins,” says study author Guillén Fernández, director of the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition, and Behaviour at Radboud University Medical Center in an email to TIME. “These proteins help stabilize new memory traces, which would otherwise be lost. Physical exercise is at the start of this sequence, because it is accompanied by the release of dopamine and norepinephrine.”

The idea that regular exercise has an impact on brain health, including memory, has been reported in many studies and Fernández says the new report adds to the evidence by showing a single session of exercise can aid in memory retention.

The number of people in the study is small, so it’s hard to say whether people should start pacing workouts exactly four hours after learning something important. Still, the study authors argue that their study is a proof of principal that exercise should be considered as a strategy for long-term memory.

This post originally appeared on Time.com. 

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I Tried the Maelys Booty Mask That Khloe Kardashian Swears By for a Toned Butt + MORE

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6 Plyometric Exercises for a No-Running Cardio Workout + MORE

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Watch Jennifer Lopez Leg Press Nearly 300 Pounds Like It's Nothing + MORE

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9 Bottles of This Dreamy Face Serum Sell Every Minute Around the World + MORE

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The Best Stress Buster You're Currently Not Usingwww.health.com
Learning Something New? Exercising Could Boost Memorywww.health.com

What Is Adrenal Fatigue? The Facts About This Controversial Medical Condition + MORE

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How Your Cube Mate Can Improve Your Concentration

– www.health.com

It may not be an epidemic yet, but concentration appears to be contagious, according to new research.

This could help explain why some of us (think coffee shop worker bees, and fans of the open-office floor plan) are more productive around other people—at least other people who aren't slacking off.

"Our findings might also suggest that we will copy low effort too, so it's not as simple as 'studying together is better,'" lead author Kobe Desender, a doctoral researcher in the cognitive psychology group of the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences at Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium, told Health in an e-mail. "But working in the vicinity of highly motivated people might be wise."

Research had already shown that having another person nearby can affect how well you perform. But does what the other person is doing have any influence? To find out, Desender and his co-authors conducted two experiments.

RELATED: 4 Simple Tricks to Improve Your Concentration

In the first, 38 volunteers sat side by side in pairs, each duo sharing a computer and a keyboard. They were asked to respond to certain colors appearing on the screen by hitting pre-specified buttons on the keyboard. The task became more difficult for participant A but stayed the same for participant B. Regardless, participant B tended to match his or her effort to participant A even though B's task remained the same.

The second experiment was the same as the first, except this time a cardboard wall divided the computer screen in half. That way participants could not see what their matched pair was doing, and the researchers could determine that Participant B's improved performance was due to mental effort, and not just seeing the partner's tasks.

Either way, the result was the same—and not too different from the findings of other "social contagion" studies which have suggested, for instance, that obesity may be contagious.

When one person in a group gains or loses weight, friends tend to follow suit. "How your partner, friend, or Weight Watchers [buddy] is engaging with the world, the task that they're doing is going to have some impact on you and your behavior," Aaron Heller, PhD, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, told Health. (Heller wasn't involved in the current study.)

RELATED: 21 Signs You've Found Your FItness Swole Mate

There's no good explanation for why mental effort may be contagious, at least not yet. It's possible that we pick up on scent cues emanating from our neighbors, or even their body posture. "Some postures are indicative of increased effort," says Desender. "But [this is] very speculative." 

Who knows—there may even be an evolutionary perk to matching the level of exertion of the person in the next cave, er, cube…

What Is Adrenal Fatigue? The Facts About This Controversial Medical Condition

– www.health.com

It seems like everyone's talking about adrenal fatigue, and it's pretty easy to see why. The condition's extremely-common-yet hard-to-pin-down symptoms include fatigue, body aches, trouble sleeping, and dark under-eye circles, and adrenal fatigue wraps them up in a tidy diagnosis that can supposedly be treated with a cocktail of supplements.

Thing is, there's no scientific evidence this condition actually exists.

An alternative medicine specialist named James L. Wilson first introduced the concept of adrenal fatigue with his 1998 book, Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome. The condition, as he explained it, is a group of non-specific symptoms associated with "below optimal adrenal function resulting from stress." When the adrenals (small glands that sit on top of the kidneys and produce vital hormones and help the body to regulate metabolism and respond to stress) are overtaxed, he argued, we can suffer from everything from "'gray' feelings" to the inability to leave bed for more than a few hours. Wilson offered "unique dietary supplements" as the remedy.

Nearly two decades later, there's still no way to test for the condition. What's more, researchers have uncovered no concrete evidence that stress actually does drain the adrenal glands. The Endocrine Society, a group representing more than 18,000 physicians and scientists around the world, doesn't mince words in its fact sheet: "'Adrenal fatigue' is not a real medical condition. There are no scientific facts to support the theory that long-term mental, emotional, or physical stress drains the adrenal glands and causes many common symptoms."

RELATED: 17 Surprising Reasons You're Stressed Out

"The symptoms people experience [when they believe they have adrenal fatigue] are very real, and sometimes it's difficult to have symptoms and not have a diagnosis, so that could be where the persistent myth of 'adrenal fatigue' syndrome comes from," says Salila Kurra, MD, co-director of the Columbia Adrenal Center and assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City.

There really is harm in believing that myth and "waiting for the research to catch up," as some people put it, says Marilyn Tan, MD, an endocrinologist with Stanford Health Care and clinical assistant professor of medicine at Stanford School of Medicine in California. "Symptoms of fatigue, body aches, trouble sleeping, indigestion, and nervousness are non-specific and could be due to a variety of other diseases, including sleep disorders, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, and thyroid disease," she explains. "To attribute all symptoms to a single diagnosis of 'adrenal fatigue' risks missing the detection of other treatable underlying diseases."

Confusing matters, there is a similarly-named condition that's widely accepted in the medical community, with research supporting its existence: adrenal insufficiency…

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How Your Cube Mate Can Improve Your Concentrationwww.health.com
What Is Adrenal Fatigue? The Facts About This Controversial Medical Conditionwww.health.com

Are You Too Hard on Yourself? This Study Explains Why + MORE

When it comes to invsablend reviews there are a lot of
sources. Making sure accurate and relevant information is accessible we have
started a review blog to help inform the public. We hope this beauty review
helps to enlighten your life and encourage good health.

4 Simple Tricks to Improve Your Concentration

– www.health.com

Do you find yourself powering through work one minute and watching cat videos the next? That sounds about right: A study last year by Microsoft discovered that the average attention span is eight seconds. (Curse smartphones!) Refocus with these four adjustments.

1. Take a break

Give yourself two short breathers over the course of an hour. While that may sound counterintuitive, research shows that periodic diversions make it easier to zero in on one thing for a longer amount of time. Why? The brain gradually gets habituated to whatever the stimulus is (say, doing your taxes), so you need to stop and “reactivate” your goal from time to time to maintain your concentration.

RELATED: The 5 Steps to Quitting Anything Gracefully

2. Turn off your cell phone

It’s not just making a phone call or sending a text message that distracts you from what you’re doing: A study out of Florida State University revealed that people who merely received text or call notifications committed more mistakes on a computer task they were working on than those who did it free of phone interruptions. On deadline? Put the iPhone on silent and stash it away.

3. Reel in your multitasking

Eating dinner, watching TV, and also skimming a report? Stick to two activities (or one!): Your brain can’t handle more than two big tasks simultaneously, suggests a 2010 study in Science. Why? A part of the brain called the medial prefrontal cortex helps divide the work so that half the region attends to one task while the other focuses on the second one, leaving no room to juggle a third.

RELATED: How to Fall Asleep Fast, According to 6 Health Editors

4. Practice mindfulness

During breaks at home or on the job, take some steady, deep breaths and simply concentrate on your inhalations and exhalations. The Buddhist technique has been shown to improve mental performance by helping ground your mind in the present, instead of letting it wander throughout the day.

Are You Too Hard on Yourself? This Study Explains Why

– www.health.com

When you screw up—think misplaced keys, missed deadline, missed opportunity—do you accept it as a misstep and move on? Or do you beat yourself up for not being on top of your game?

A team of psychologists recently published findings in the journal Self and Identity that help explain why some of us are prone to do the latter.

For the study, 161 adults between the ages of 17 and 34 completed a questionnaire that measured their capacity for self-compassion. They also filled out a survey about their values, including what they wanted out of life, and the behaviors or traits they believed were necessary to achieve those things.

Finally, the participants were asked to imagine themselves in two scenarios: One in which they acted with self-compassion, and another in which they were self-critical. Then they described how they would feel about themselves after each scenario.

RELATED: 9 Ways to Silence Your Inner Critic 

The researchers found that across the board, the study participants recognized that self-compassion is generally a good thing—but not necessarily for themselves.

Participants who were less self-compassionate thought that practicing self-care would negatively impact their performance. They said being kind to themselves after a failure, rejection, or loss would make them feel less conscientious, less ambitious, and less motivated. They also saw self-criticism as “a sign of strength and responsibility.” In other words, they believed being tough on themselves made them tougher, better, and more driven.

But those folks might want to start cutting themselves some slack: The researchers note that people who are rich in self-compassion typically possess better emotional health. They benefit from higher life satisfaction, and a lower risk of depression and anxiety. They also tend to have a sunnier outlook, and to cope better when crap (inevitably) happens.  

If you're in the habit of treating yourself harshly, try shifting your perspective on what self-criticism actually does for you, suggests Ashwini Nadkarni, MD, a psychiatrist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital who was not involved in the study. “You might think [being self-critical is] motivating, and in the short term, it can be. But in the long run, the things that you tell yourself—I should be a better mother, I should have a better job—are demoralizing,” she explains. Over time, that type of self-flagellation can lead to burn out, and keep you from reaching the goals you were pushing so hard to achieve in the first place.

RELATED: 8 Promises Every Woman Should Make to Herself

Below, Dr. Nadkarni offers her four-step plan for practicing more self-kindness and understanding:

Be aware. In order to change a behavior, first you need to be convinced it’s a problem…

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Do These At-Home Blowout Tools Really Work? + MORE

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4 Simple Tricks to Improve Your Concentrationwww.health.com
Are You Too Hard on Yourself? This Study Explains Whywww.health.com