Trying to Be Happy Is Making You Miserable. Here's Why + MORE

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My Day Job as a Fitness Trainer Helped Me Build Confidence as an Artist


This story is part of Health’s #RealLifeStrong series, where we are celebrating women who represent strength, resilience, and grace.

On the streets of industrial Brooklyn, it's not unusual to see construction workers wielding blowtorches. But refreshingly, behind one of those welder's masks is painter-sculptor Kennedy Yanko.

Seven years ago, Yanko was living in the dressing room of a basement apartment and working as a personal trainer, as she tried to make her mark on the competitive New York art scene. “[Fitness] was informative to the work that I was doing as a painter,” she says. Training taught her the discipline and endurance she needed to continue refining her artistic process, she explains.

Today Yanko runs her own art studio in Bushwick, where she reshapes found industrial materials into striking painted sculptures. Her work has been featured in the contemporary art fair VOLTA NY, and in Mashonda Tifrere’s Art Lead Her, a platform that celebrates and promotes female artists around the world.

RELATED: This Instagram Artist’s Illustrations About Life and Mental Health Will Help You Feel 'Normal'

With success has come pressure, of course.  “Every day is an adventure and is constantly changing. However, when I make work that feels powerful to me, it’s a driving force that dissolves any lingering anxiety,” she says. Also helpful: meditation. Yanko relies on her meditation practice to relieve stress, and hone her artistic intuition. “I feel like I have more clarity in my life, and my decision-making is quicker,” she says.

Then there are the physical demands of her job. Once she’s found her materials, Yanko will torch them, pound them with a sledgehammer, and do whatever else it takes to get the look she wants. She then incorporates her flowing signature paint skins, to contrast the enduring quality of the reshaped industrial artifacts.

Whether it’s learning how to weld or working with demolition teams, Yanko seems to thrive when subverting gender stereotypes. “I think if you’re trying to make your way in a male-dominated field the best thing to do is, not to separate yourself,” she says. Though she feels that when it comes to her art, being a woman is actually an advantage in this day and age. “People are interested in what females are doing. They want to see what’s happening on the other side—and they need to.”

Yanko currently has an installation on display at BRIC called “Feel For,” which combines moss with the ceilings of old tenement buildings.

For more of her inspiring story, check out the video above.

We want to hear more amazing stories about #RealLifeStrong women. Nominate yourself—or a friend or family member—here…

This New Retinol Alternative Is Perfect for Anyone With Sensitive Skin


As much as we love over-the-counter retinol and prescription retinoids—the powerhouse ingredient is often hailed by dermatologists as a holy grail anti-ager—we know that these products aren't easy to add to your routine.

They don't always play well with others, for one; you shouldn't use retinoids when also using exfoliants, drying agents, or benzoyl peroxide, since the combination can cause irritation. Retinols and retinoids are also not safe to use during pregnancy. And they can trigger some frustrating side effects (like red, peeling skin) when you first start using them, particularly if you have sensitive skin or conditions like eczema and rosacea.

If you've been hesitant to jump on the retinol bandwagon for any of these reasons, take note. One of our favorite skincare brands just launched an alternative to retinol that's perfect for anyone with sensitive skin or any other disqualifier who still wants to fight signs of aging.

Ole Henriksen's Glow Cycle Retin-ALT Power Serum ($58; just launched a few days ago, but it's already amassed an impressive five-star rating on And for good reason: The serum is packed with potent anti-agers, including AHAs to exfoliate, red algae to firm, edelweiss stem cell to soften fine lines, and the brand's new star ingredient, bakuchiol—a natural retinol alternative derived from the babchi plant. Bakuchiol helps tackle a host of complexion concerns, including uneven skin tone and wrinkles, but without some of retinol's more irritating side effects.

Glow Cycle Retin-ALT Power Serum can be applied day or night. For an extra dose of moisture at nighttime, though, you can follow with the brand's Transform Plus Goodnight Glow Retin-ALT Sleeping Crème ($55; This is a heavier night cream packed with nourishing ingredients (bakuchiol, along with red algae, glycolic and lactic acids, and extract of hibiscus flower, lemon, sugarcane, and chamomile) to help you wake up to softer, brighter-looking skin.

"Bakuchiol has recently been known as an ingredient that has similar effects as retinol," says New York City–based dermatologist Debra Jaliman, MD. "Studies have shown that [it] helps prevent fine lines and wrinkles, helps with pigmentation, elasticity, and firmness." 

As for the gorgeous lavender hue of both products? The color actually helps counteract redness and impart an instantly noticeable glow. Also good: Unlike retinol, both formulas are safe to use during pregnancy, and like all Ole Henriksen products, they smell completely amazing.

Trying to Be Happy Is Making You Miserable. Here's Why


The Declaration of Independence guaranteed Americans the right to pursue happiness, and we haven’t stopped looking for it since. But despite the college courses, research labs and countless self-help books dedicated to that search, only 33% of Americans actually said they were happy in a 2017 survey.

A new paper may help explain why: We’re trying too hard.

The research, published in the journal Emotion, found that overemphasizing happiness can make people more likely to obsess over failure and negative emotions when they inevitably do happen, bringing them more stress in the long run.

“Happiness is a good thing, but setting it up as something to be achieved tends to fail,” explains co-author Brock Bastian, a social psychologist at the University of Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences in Australia, in an email to TIME. “Our work shows that it changes how people respond to their negative emotions and experiences, leading them to feel worse about these and to ruminate on them more.”

The study involved two separate experiments. In the first, a group of Australian psychology students were asked to solve 35 anagrams in three minutes — but, unbeknownst to them, 15 couldn’t be solved. Thirty-nine of the students completed this task in a room decorated with motivational posters, notes and books. The proctor in this room was also told by the experimenters to speak cheerfully, and to off-handedly mentioned the importance of happiness. Meanwhile, another 39 students completed the same test in a neutral room, with a neutral proctor. A third group of 38 students completed a solvable task in a room that emphasized happiness similarly to the first room.

Afterward, the researchers asked all students to do a breathing exercise, during which they were periodically asked about their thoughts. Compared to the other two groups, students who performed the impossible task in the “happiness room” were more likely to think back to their failure and get stuck on these negative thoughts, which was in turn associated with feeling more negative emotions. Those who completed the impossible task in the neutral room and those who completed the solvable task in the happiness room did not differ significantly in how much they thought back to the exercise.

In a second experiment, the researchers asked about 200 American adults how often they experienced and thought about negative emotions, as well as their views on how society perceives those emotions. Participants who said they felt like society expects them to be happy, or looks down on emotions such as anxiety and depression, were more likely than other respondents to stress about feeling negative emotions, and to experience reductions in well-being and life satisfaction as a result.

“When people place a great deal of pressure on themselves to feel happy, or think that others around them do, they are more likely to see their negative emotions and experiences as signals of failure,” Bastian says…

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My Day Job as a Fitness Trainer Helped Me Build Confidence as an
This New Retinol Alternative Is Perfect for Anyone With Sensitive
Trying to Be Happy Is Making You Miserable. Here's

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