Category Archives: Education

Why Women Don’t Make the First Move

illustration-of-woman-attracting-a-manThe dating world may be changing with the advent of apps that give people a chance to connect online, but the rules of dating seem to remain constant.  In the 1995 book The Rules, authors Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider argued (and continue to do so) that “the women who played hard to get, either deliberately or by accident, were the ones who got the guys, while the women who asked guys out or were too available were the ones who got dumped.” 20 years later, the context may have shifted, but as Fein and Schneider maintain in their 2013 “Not Your Mother’s Rules” the same principle applies: Women never initiate a relationship, they play hard to get, and they retain an air of mystery until they’ve landed their catch.

Although the 18 years in between books was just barely enough to constitute a generational change, it would seem that your mother’s rules should have changed quite a bit by now. Surely, it’s ok for women to be more assertive in relationships, more honest and forthright about their feelings, and less in need of pretending not to be interested in someone whom they’d like to get to know better.

Highlighting the idea that the gender tables could be turning, the dating app “Bumble” runs on the premise that it’s the men, not the women, who have to wait for their prospective partners to contact them (in same sex pairings among women, either party can do the initiating).  Whitney Wolfe, founder of Bumble, decided that it was time to give those tables a hefty spin.  In addition to changing the gender dynamics of online dating sites, Wolfe decided to make her app a kinder and gentler form of other dating apps, rewarding users who play nicely with extra perks, known as “VIBee” status.

The question then becomes, why haven’t we seen such a development until now, and ultimately- will it work? If you’re a die-hard evolutionary type, you’ll say that men will hunt, and women will be hunted, and such will always be the case. It’s just hard-wired into our hunter-gatherer DNA. Research on the factors that impinge on women and men who seek to initiate relationships suggest that it isn’t simply gender (or sex) per se that influences who does the asking, but psychological factors handed down to generations of girls through socialization.  The traditionally sexy woman defers to a man, allowing him to have the power and therefore be in control.

Would giving women a greater sense of control, then, give them greater power in initiating dating relationships? Bumble bases its philosophy on this idea, but there’s also a science behind it. University of Waterloo Jennifer MacGregor along with Columbia University’s Justin Cavallo, back in 2011, decided to investigate if they could break the rules by manipulating the sense of control a woman would feel when initiating a relationship.

They noted that social expectations lead women to be discouraged from directly pursuing potential romantic partners and “encouraged to resort to passivity or indirect strategies to shape their relationship outcomes” (p. 851).  Women develop a kind of learned helplessness or feeling of futility about changing the status quo which, in turn, perpetuates their conforming to society’s expectations.

Using a sample of 92 undergraduates (50 women, 42 men), all of whom were single, MacGregor and Cavallo first established that there was a positive relationship between feelings of control over relationship initiation and the amount of effort a woman would put into initiating romantic relationships. All is well and good, you say, but correlation does not equal causation, as every psychology student knows.  It’s possible that initiators just tend to feel more in control about their lives in general, and this tendency is reflected in their relationships as well as other aspects of their lives.

An experiment was clearly called for. In phase two of the study, involving a new sample of 98 undergraduates (56 women, 42 men; all single), the researchers manipulated the feeling of personal control by asking participants to recall a time in their lives when they either had control or did not. The event they were to recall was supposed to be positive in nature such as studying hard and doing well on an exam (high control) or lucking out by winning a $5 lottery ticket (low control).

Phase three involved presenting participants with pre-set scenarios and asking if they’d ever been involved in such situations. High personal control scenarios included getting stuck in traffic because you went the wrong way (it was your fault); in low personal control conditions, getting stuck in traffic was due to construction (it wasn’t your fault, just bad luck).

The question of interest is whether participants would be more likely to initiate a relationship after being primed with high vs. low personal control conditions and whether men and women would differ in their response to this manipulation.

As the researchers expected, across the two manipulation conditions, it was the women whose intention to initiate a relationship that peaked under high personal control.  In fact, under a high sense of personal control, men and women were equally likely to take charge in a dating situation.

What’s so surprising about the results is that the manipulation of personal control was ever so slight. For a woman, simply recalling a time you had personal control seems to be enough to counteract your otherwise socially acceptable passivity. As MacGregor and Cavallo conclude (p. 862), “women who generally feel a lack of control over their romantic outcomes may be particularly sensitive to fluctuations in personal control in ways that men are not.”

The upshot of the study is that Bumble, and perhaps whatever else will follow along similar lines in the future, could in fact change the rules. By giving women “permission” to act first, all kinds of new relationships may emerge that would before have been unimaginable.

You don’t have to be hemmed in by society’s restrictions about who asks and who gets asked. Find your own fulfillment in relationships by boosting your own sense of control, and you may be surprised by where it leads you.

Know Thyself: How to Develop Self-Awareness

self_awarenessHow well do you know yourself?  How deeply do you understand your motivations?

 But, do you understand what drives you? Your own self-image? Or how others experience you?

The charge, “Know thyself,” is centuries old, but it has never been more important. Research from psychologist Daniel Goleman shows that self-awareness is crucial for all levels of success. As he outlines in Emotional Intelligence, above an IQ of 120, EQ (Emotional Intelligence) becomes the more important predictor of successful leaders. Developing self-awareness is the first step to develop your EQ.

You can’t gain self-awareness through knowing psychology. Rather, it requires a deep understanding of your past and current self. Experiences shape how we see the world. So, we have to reflect on how the world has shaped us.

How can you gain self-awareness?  Here are three steps to start.

1.Understand Your Life Story

Over the past 10 years, psychologists have focused on a new field of research called narrative identity. As Dan McAdams, Northwestern University psychology professor, explains, “The stories we tell ourselves about our lives don’t just shape our personalities –- they are our personalities. ”

Your narrative identity is the story of your life; but it’s more than just a story. How you understand your narrative frames both your current actions and your future goals. As research from Southern Methodist University shows, writing about difficult life experiences improves our physical and mental health. How much you confront your life’s challenges – what I call “crucibles” – defines your level of self-awareness.

So, how can you begin? In Discover Your True North, I give a few questions to start.

Looking at your early life story, what people, events, and experiences have had the greatest impact in shaping the person you have become?
In which experiences did you find the greatest passion for leading?
How do you frame your crucibles and setbacks in your life?

2. Create a Daily Habit of Self-reflection 

Next, you should develop a daily practice of setting aside at least twenty minutes to reflect on your life. This practice enables you to focus on the important things in your life, not just the immediate. Research from Wisconsin’s Richard Davidson demonstrated direct correlation between mindfulness and changes in the brain – away from anger and anxiety and toward a sense of calm and well-being.

Reflection takes many forms. Some keep a journal, some pray, and others take a long walk or jog. Personally, I use daily meditation as my mindful habit. By centering into myself, I am able to focus my attention on what’s really important, and develop an inner sense of well-being.

3.Seek Honest Feedback

We all have traits that others see, but we are unable to see in ourselves. We call these “blind spots.” Do you see yourself as others see you? If not, you can address these blind spots by receiving honest feedback from people you trust.

Receiving feedback is hard. So, focus on psychological triggers that might block your learning. As Harvard’s Sheila Heen argued in “Thanks for The Feedback”, three main triggers prevent our learning: relationship triggers, identity triggers, and truth triggers. If you feel defensive, think back to why you do. Often, we can explain it using these triggers.

Becoming self-aware won’t happen in a day. Rather, it will take years of reflection, introspection, and difficult conversations. As you follow these three practices, you will find you are more comfortable being open, transparent, and even vulnerable. As you do, you will become a more authentic leader and a more self-aware person

8 Negative Attitudes of Chronically Unhappy People

megan-fox-supergirl-originalThe mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.”

―   John Milton, Paradise Lost

“Almost all painful feelings have their source in an incorrect way of looking at reality. When you uproot erroneous views, suffering ceases.”

—   The Buddha, as written by Thich Nhat Hanh

All of us experience negative thoughts from time to time. How we manage our negative attitudes can make the difference between confidence versus fear, hope versus despair, mastery versus victimhood, and victory versus defeat.

Multiple studies have revealed how chronic negative attitudes can adversely affect one’s health, happiness and well-being . Below are eight common negative thoughts of unhappy people.

1.    Self-Defeating Talk

Self-defeating talk are messages we send to ourselves which reduce our confidence, diminish our performance, lower our potential, and ultimately sabotage our success. Common self-defeating talk includes sentence beginnings such as:

“I can’t…”

“I’m not good enough…”

“I’m not confident …”

“I don’t have what it takes…”

“I’m going to fail…”

Would you like it if a friend tells you repeatedly that “you can’t succeed,” “you’re not good enough,” “you lack confidence,” “you don’t have what it takes,” or “you’re going to fail?” Would you consider this person a real friend? If not, why would you want to talk or think this way to yourself? Engaging in habitual self-defeating talk is like having a false friend who puts you down all day long. You become your worst enemy and detractor.     

        

2.    Negative Assumptions

A prevailing form of negative thinking is to take stock of a situation or an interaction, and presume the negative. For many people, this “looking at the glass half empty” attitude is habitual and automatic. One might look at a crowded commute, a rainy day, or paying the bills as automatic negative experiences.

Of course, there’s nothing inherently positive or negative about traffic, weather, or bill paying. As the saying goes, “it is what it is.” It’s the way you choose to relate to your circumstances that makes the experience positive or negative. This choice can instantly make you stronger or weaker, happier or gloomier, empowered or victimized. Given the same situations, one might look at a crowded commute as a chance to listen to relaxing music or practice mindful breathing; a rainy day as an occasion to curl up at home with hot cocoa and a good book; or bill paying as an opportunity to practice the “pay yourself first” wealth building strategy. It’s all in how you choose to relate to the moment.

3.    Negative Comparison with Others

One of the easiest and most common ways to feel bad about oneself is to compare yourself unfavorably to others. We may be tempted to compare ourselves with those who have more accomplishments, seem more attractive, make more money, or boast more Facebook friends.

When you find yourself wishing to have what someone else has, and feel jealous, inferior or inadequate as the result, you’re having a negative social comparison moment.

Research indicates that habitual negative social comparisons can cause a person to experience greater stress, anxiety, depression, and make self-defeating choices.

4.    Negative Rumination about the Past

We should learn from the past, but not be stuck in it. Sometimes life circumstances and personal setbacks can haunt and prevent us from seeing our true potential and recognizing new opportunities. What has already happened we cannot change, but what is yet to happen we can shape and influence. At times the first step is simply to break from the past and declare that it is you, not your history, who’s in charge. Goethe reminds us: “Nothing is worth more than this day.” Don’t dwell on the past. Make better choices today and move on.

“Abraham Lincoln lost eight elections, failed twice in business and suffered a nervous breakdown before he became the president of the United States.” 

— Wall Street Journal

5.    Disempowering Beliefs about Difficult People

Most of us encounter difficult people in our lives. In the face of such challenging individuals, it’s tempting to believe that they are the perpetrators and we are the victims, or that they hold the power with their challenging behavior. Such attitudes, even if justified, are reactive and thus self-weakening.

The key to changing your disempowering beliefs about difficult people is to shift from being reactive to proactive. Whether you’re dealing with a narcissist, a passive-aggressive, a manipulator, or an intimidating and controlling oppressor, there are many skills and strategies you can utilize to stay on top of the situation.

6.    The Desire to Blame

Blame can be defined as holding others responsible for our misfortunes. Some people cast their dysfunctional parents, negative relationships, socio-economic disadvantages, health challenges, or other life hardships as the reason for their unhappiness and lack of success.

While it’s certainly true that life presents many difficulties, and undeniable the pain and suffering they often cause, to blame others as the reason for one’s unhappiness is to cast oneself in the role of the victim.

There are illusory advantages to victimhood, as finger-pointing provides convenient justification for life’s unsatisfactory conditions, and sheds the work necessary to take complete charge of one’s own life and well-being.

However, habitual blaming over time perpetuates bitterness, resentment, and powerlessness, as the victim suffers from what H.D. Thoreau calls “quiet desperation.”

Often, those who are the target of your blame have little idea (or could care less) about how you really feel. You only hurt yourself by being a prisoner of your own bitterness and resentment. Your feelings may be justified, but they will not help you become happy, healthy, and successful. Ultimately, isn’t that what you really want?

“When we blame, we give away our power.”

—   Greg Anderson

7.    The Struggle to Forgive Yourself

All of us make mistakes in life. When you look back at your past deeds, perhaps there were decisions and actions you regret. There may have been unfortunate errors in judgment. You may have caused harm to yourself and/or others.

As you recall these past events, there may be an accompanying sense of self-blame at the blunders made, damage done, or opportunities missed. You might think of yourself as a “bad” or “flawed” person and wallow in guilt. During these moments, it’s extremely important to be compassionate with yourself, knowing that now that you’re more aware, you have a chance to avoid repeating past mistakes, and to make a positive difference with yourself and others.

“Forgive yourself. Everyone makes mistakes — and mistakes aren’t permanent reflections on you as a person. They’re isolated moments in time. Tell yourself, “I made a mistake, but that doesn’t make me a bad person.”

—   Mayo Clinic

8.    The Fear of Failure and Making Mistakes

The fear of failure and making mistakes are often associated with perfectionism (at least in certain areas of your life). You may think that you’re not good enough in some ways, thereby placing tremendous pressure on yourself to succeed.

While setting high standards can serve as an effective motivational tool, expecting yourself to be perfect takes the joy out of life, and can actually limit your greatest potential for success. Multiple studies have shown the correlation between perfectionism and unhappiness (6)(7). Try as we might, it simply isn’t human to be perfect, and certainly not all of the time.

“Given the desire to be valued and appreciated, it’s tempting to try to appear to be perfect, but the costs of such deceptions are high…How can you like yourself when you don’t measure up to the way you ought to be?”   

—  R. Adler and R. Proctor II

The Secret Reason So Many of Us Procrastinate

how-to-stop-procrastinating

There’s no way of telling just how common the procrastination phenomenon is. But given the well-validated theory of psychological reactance, it’s safe to say that at some point we’ve all probably been guilty of it—that is, you have probably delayed something which not only would be good for you to do but which you actually want to do.

In such instances, what best explains your (unconsciously) choosing to sabotage yourself?

Simply put, it’s all about free will—or at least what you believe is your inherent privilege to choose freely what feels right to you. Psychological reactance postulates that we all have an impulse to react negatively to any outside influence that threatens our deep-seated, highly coveted desire for personal autonomy. Whether it’s a matter of dignity or pride, or a strong sense of self-determination, when we know we have to do something because someone whose authority is greater than ours has told us to (or maybe ordered us to) there’s something deep inside us that impels us to resist.

This is the case even when there’s really nothing about the task, project, or assignment that we dislike or find intimidating. In fact, the matter at hand might even be something that, if the circumstances were different, we’d much rather approach than avoid. Moreover, as the substantial literature on this subject has demonstrated, such a noncompliant or rebellious impulse exists largely independent of specific personality variables.

Here’s a simple example of this seemingly perverse dynamic: Say someone presents you with two ice cream cones—one chocolate, one vanilla. On your own, you’d choose chocolate over vanilla virtually every time. But if the individual holding out the two cones actually urges you to take the chocolate—maybe even coming uncomfortably close to shoving it in your face—it’s almost guaranteed that it will suddenly occur to you that you really haven’t had a vanilla cone in ages, and that maybe this would be the perfect time to reintroduce a little novelty in your life. After all, you’ve almost forgotten what vanilla ice cream tastes like since for so long you‘ve acted on your preference for chocolate.

Consider, further, that the more adamantly this person might push you to choose the chocolate cone, the more likely you are to dig in your heels and proclaim that—no—if you’re really being given a choice here, you’ve already decided to take the vanilla. And you’ll probably affirm this choice with a conviction that might surprise even yourself—and a certain amount of self-righteous indignation, too.

It should be fairly obvious that there’s something crucial at stake here—and it’s surely not the ice cream. This is likely a situation calling on you (maybe screaming at you!) to assert your free will over the felt pressure put on you by the domineering directive of the person who’s put himself in the (at least momentarily) “superior” position by making you this offer. If the “tone” of his action feels dogmatic or bullying, your sense of yourself—as a self-respecting, self-determining individual—can’t help but be endangered. So if you’re toavoid such an uneasy, uncomfortable feeling of being manipulated, condescended, or dictated to, you’ll likely conclude (whether consciously or not) that you really have no choice but to opt for the vanilla.

Make sense to you?

This is precisely what the whole social-psychological concept of reactance is about—the [universal] desire to think and behave freely with the corresponding tendency to react negatively to another person’s directives.

Compare this to being told that you must undertake something that, in fact, you want to undertake anyway. The fact that there are now “demand characteristics” added to the project or task may, to whatever degree, make it feel less desirable to you. Comparatively speaking, you’re more likely to find yourself procrastinating—maybe without quite understanding why. After all, you do want to do this thing. Still, your largely unconscious resistance may give you pause. And so, governed by such ambivalence, you may literally have to fight yourself to get started on the project, or to complete it.

In the substantial literature on reactance, there’s actually a term known as reactance procrastination. And there are numerous examples demonstrating the phenomenon: Take the case of an alcoholic who knows he (or she) needs to stop drinking. But one of the psychological (vs. physical) reasons they can’t stop is their feeling—despite its blatantly negative effects on their life, which they’re well aware of—that they should still have thefreedom to drink. This is a rarely acknowledged explanation of why they resist others’ trying to “pressure” them into abstinence. Particularly if, as children, they were abused by their parents, or over-controlled by them (i.e., not allowed sufficient choices), they may feel an urgent inner pressure to proclaim their freedom to drink, despite being vaguely aware that it’s slowly killing them or their protestations to others that they really do intend to stop.

Here’s how one article describes it: “If a person’s behavioural freedom is reduced, or threatened with reduction, the individual feels an increased amount of self-direction in regard to their own behaviour, where they feel that they can do as they like and do not have to do what others tell them. [This situation] also increases the overall attractiveness of that [threatened or] eliminated free behaviour.” And—additionally important in all this—“Psychological reactance may play a [greater] role in procrastination if individuals have rebelliousness, hostility and/or disagreeableness traits.”

Regarding your own possible challenges with procrastination, at least as they relate to reactance, how do you resolve this? It’s mostly a matter of:

  1. Becoming more conscious of why you’re feeling a need to hesitate or delay.
  2. Reminding yourself that undertaking the task in a timely fashion is really in your own best interests.

Essentially, you’re choosing to do it not because of any outward coercion but because it makes perfectly good sense to do it and it’s well within your capabilities and interests. You can pay adequate “homage” to your ambivalence simply by recognizing it—and perhaps even getting yourself to laugh at it.

You’re no longer a child seeking to establish a separate identity from your parents (your original authority figures) by emphatically saying “No!” Therefore, you don’t want such ancient self-confirmation impulses to get the better of you.

9 Things Only Passive-Aggressive People Do

Passive-Agression

While an occasional passive-aggressive approach to life’s problems isn’t unusual, for some people manipulation and indirect communication are a way of life. Passive-aggressive people often go undetected in the office and in their social circles—at least initially—because they disguise their seething hostility with a pleasant demeanor.

Here are nine things only passive-aggressive people do:

1. They Deliberately “Forget” to Do Things

Passive-aggressive people prefer to be viewed as “absentminded” rather than disagreeable. Instead of declining to work on a project, a passive-aggressive co-worker may claim he forgot about the deadline. Or a passive-aggressive friend may say she forgot to make reservations for that restaurant you’d been talking about because she didn’t actually want to go.

2. They Say Yes When They Have No Intention of Following Through

In an effort to look like people-pleasers, passive-aggressive people rarely say no. They may ignore invitations altogether, only to later claim they never received the invite. They often robustly agree to face-to-face invitations—even the things they have no desire to do. To escape their obligations, they may cancel plans at the last minute by feigning an illness or emergency.

3. They Engage in Backstabbing Behavior

It’s not that passive-aggressive people don’t share their opinions—it’s that they don’t share them in an upfront manner. They’re likely to complain to everyone except the person they’re complaining about. Their indirect approach hurts relationships and does nothing to solve problems.

4. They Are Inefficient on Purpose

Passive-aggressive people are stubborn. When they don’t want to do something, they often become as inefficient as possible to avoid getting the job done. Rather than say, “I’m having trouble with this project,” a passive-aggressive person may procrastinate on purpose in the hope someone else will take over.

5. They Mask Their Resentment With a Smile

Passive-aggressive people don’t express their anger or displeasure in an open manner. Many of them have years of resentment and bitterness built up, and it’s often lurking just beneath a phony smile. No matter how much they disagree with what you’re saying, they’ll work hard to appear as though they fully support your statements.

6. They Seek Revenge

Hidden beneath their outwardly agreeable personas is a desire to punish those who have hurt them. Passive-aggressive people often go to great lengths to retaliate against individuals they believe have taken advantage of them. Their plots for revenge are often indirect—an anonymous angry email or a nasty rumor spread throughout the office are just a couple of the approaches passive-aggressive people may take.

7. They Exhibit Learned Helplessness

Passive-aggressive people don’t believe they have much control over the events in their lives. Rather than take steps to solve problems, they convince themselves, “there’s no use trying, because I can’t do anything about it anyway.” Their passive approach unnecessarily subjects them to more hardship and, unfortunately, many of their negative predictions turn into self-fulfilling prophecies.

8. They Go to Great Lengths to Avoid Confrontation

Even when they’re deeply offended, passive-aggressive people avoid direct confrontation. Sometimes, they offer incongruent communication, by saying things like, “That’s fine. Whatever!” or “Well, if you don’t care about my feelings, then I guess you don’t need to do that.” They allow others to treat them poorly, and they refuse to admit their feelings are hurt.

9. They Manipulate People

Passive-aggressive people struggle to ask for what they want, and they resort to manipulative tactics to get their needs met. Instead of asking for help carrying a box, a passive-aggressive person may complain, “I’m probably going to hurt my back carrying that box upstairs all by myself.” They don’t mind others feeling sorry for them or taking pity on them–as long as it works to get their needs met.

Addressing Passive-Aggressive Behavior

If you’re prone to taking a passive-aggressive approach to life, there are steps you can take to become more assertive. When your words are in line with your emotions and your behavior, you’ll enjoy a much more authentic life.

If you spot signs of a passive-aggressive co-worker, friend, or family member, be willing to hold that person accountable. Allowing passive-aggressive people to shirk responsibility or avoid confrontation only reinforces their behavior.

Is This the Best Reason to Finally Start Doing Yoga?

YogaBeginners340

Have you ever wondered why people who do yoga often look younger than their age or get sick less often? A new study might have some answers.

The study, in the July 2015 Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, found that 12 weeks of yoga amped up the body’s natural defense system against toxins. Yoga raised the level of natural antioxidants in the body and strengthened the immune system.

What are antioxidants and why are they important for our health? When we process food for energy or are exposed to toxins like air pollution or ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun, our body produces byproducts called free radicals. These chemicals circulate through our blood and damage DNA, cells, and tissues. Scientists call the harmful process unleashed by free radicals “oxidative stress.” The effect of oxidative stress on the body has been linked to issues like heart disease, cancer, and even eye problems like glaucoma.

Antioxidants(link is external) like vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene, as well as minerals like selenium and manganese, neutralize free radicals in the body. The list of antioxidants is long and diverse, including proteins, enzymes, and substances like glutathione, coenzyme Q10, lipoic acid, flavonoids, phenols, polyphenols, and phytoestrogens.

Eating foods rich in antioxidants like olive oil, nuts, fruits, vegetables, and even chocolate, has been linked with better memory(link is external) and heart health. Polyphenols, a type of antioxidant found in green tea, are thought to help prevent cancer(link is external). Antioxidants on theskin(link is external) help prevent the effects of aging caused by UV damage, such as sunspots and wrinkles. Now yoga can be added to your list of natural “antioxidants.”

The new study found that 12 weeks of yoga led to higher levels of antioxidants in the body and lower signs of oxidative stress compared to running, cycling, or jumping rope. Not only that, but the immune systems of people who did yoga improved. People in the yoga group did 90 minutes of yoga class weekly with a teacher and 40 minutes at home at least three times a week over 12 weeks.

If you want to try to experience the same effects, make sure to try a well-rounded yoga program that includes more than just yoga postures. The study’s weekly class included:

  • 35 minutes of poses (asanas)
  • 30 minutes of yoga breathing exercises (pranayama)
  • 25 minutes of meditation including a loving-kindness (Metta) meditation and a self-awareness exercise focused on a non-judgmental attitude.

Yoga, unlike the other types of exercise, led to lower levels of nitric oxide, a chemical that, in excess, acts as a harmful free radical in the body. Yoga was also uniquely linked tolower signs of harmful oxidative stress in the body, including lower levels of the byproducts malondialdehyde and F2-isoprostane and the stress hormone adrenaline.

Our bodies have natural antioxidant defense systems that combat oxidative stress. Yoga increased these natural antioxidants in the body, including higher levels of the protein glutathione and an enzyme called glutathione peroxidase. Glutathione levels went up for both the yoga group and the regular exercise group, but much more so in the yoga group.In fact, yoga more than doubled the presence of the natural antioxidant protein glutathione in the body. This supports an earlier small study which similarly found higher antioxidant levels after six months of yoga.

Yoga also strengthens your immune system, which has many players, including defense proteins called cytokines. The 12-week study found that yoga led to higher levels of important cytokines (interleukin-12 and interferon-c), supporting the idea that doing yoga regularly reduces stress on the body and builds your immune system.

If you’re looking to boost your antioxidants, you can reach for a handful of blueberries and dark chocolate, but you can also roll our your mat and try some daily yoga, too.

10 Things To Stop Doing If You Want To Love Your Body

real-women-dove

If you are struggling to love yourself or your body, you can let go of certain things in order to reach the love you desire. Here are 10 things to stop doing today if you want to truly accept and love your body (and, well, all of yourself).

1. Stop blaming your body for the bad things in your life.

It’s not your body’s fault. Instead say, “Thank you, body, for being with me on this journey.”

2. Stop letting a look or comment from someone else determine how you feel about yourself.

That person probably wasn’t judging you. You are judging yourself. Instead say, “Self, I forgive you. I send you love.”

3. Stop thinking you aren’t in the body you are supposed to have.

You are in the best body for you. Let your body be your teacher and guide you to more love.

4. Stop letting the number on the scale or your pant size define you.

You are more than any number. What matters most is how you feel, not how you look.

5. Stop judging yourself by what you can’t do and instead celebrate what you can.

Don’t be so hard on yourself. The limitation is in your mind. Start saying “I can” and watch how your life transforms.

6. Stop being mean to yourself when you look in the mirror.

You are more beautiful than you can truly see.

7. Stop joining in when your friends compare and trash their own bodies.

You hurt yourself when you bash yourself with others. Instead, celebrate your natural beauty and each other’s successes.

8. Stop thinking your looks are more important than how you feel.

Your health is not determined by your size. Focus on feeling good and everything returns to balance naturally.

9. Stop waiting to reach your goal to enjoy your body.

Your life is happening now. You can choose to hate yourself or love yourself. Choose love.

10. Stop thinking you don’t matter because of the size your body.

Life is far too hard as it is without you being at war with yourself. When we get the inside right, the outside will fall into place.

Enjoy the miracle that is you.

20 bad habits you need to quit now

bad habits

Satisfying late night cravings with pizzas and chocolate cake might be a tempting way to end each day, but it’s not doing your body any favours. It can impact you and your overall health on a long term basis.

Unintentionally, at times we end up hurting our body and our health on a daily basis due to our habits. Today, Dr. Vihang Vahia – Psychiatrist at Breach Candy Hospital, Mumbai, lists out the top 20 bad habits that you need to quit today. If you have any of these habits, then it’s never too late. Reverse these habits and start enjoying a healthy and happy life today

Bad habit to quit for a healthy living # 1: Nose/mouth picking

This annoying and silly habit of ‘digging gold’ is one of the worst habits that goes unquestioned. This habit is not only bad for your health but it is also against common social etiquette. Picking your nose can spread various infections like cold and flu, as cold virus is passed into your body through the mucus. After touching several things and then taking the same finger into your nose, you will land at the doctor’s clinic. Hence, stop this awkward habit of pulling sticky substance from your nose, or fetching left over food strands from your mouth.

Bad habit to quit for a healthy living # 2: Binge drinking

Binge drinking, causes many deaths and hospitalisation all over the world says – Dr. Vihang. Binge drinking causes long term health problems like liver trouble and immediate problems like weight gain, dizziness and fatigue. To save yourself from such damage, the key is limitation.

Bad habit to quit for a healthy living # 3: You became an ‘Owl’ at night

Many of us, burn the midnight oil for exam preparations and work. But if this becomes routine, you will damage your body in the long run. Without 6-8 hours of good sleep, you are damaging your immune system and other body processes and systems. Due to lack of sleep, your immune system becomes weak and thus produces fewer ‘germ fighters’ – lowering your tolerance for withstanding common bugs in your environment. To fight against various diseases, it is necessary to at least get a minimum of 7-8 hours of good sleep on most nights of the week. A good night’s sleep also helps you stay awake and fresh throughout the day.

Bad habit to quit for a healthy living # 4: I am so ‘lonely’

Dr. Vahia says – the key for good health is a healthy and fresh mind. If your mind is unhealthy, it will affect your immune system and put you at several health risks. If you spend most of your time obsessing over your loneliness, and any other social challenges, or whatever could cause feelings of despair and frustration, then you are harming your mental health, detaching yourself from people, and stressing your mind and body.

Bad habit to quit for a healthy living # 5: Wearing headphones for long hours

Headphones or earphones are the sole companions for some of us throughout the day. We listen to music to pass time, while travelling or while working out. But, if you have plugged in for hours, with no breaks, then you need to keep this habit under check. Dr. Vihang says – listening to loud music via earphones, can cause hearing loss. He further adds – headphones aren’t the culprits, it is the volume and the hours that can land you in trouble. Besides, ignoring minor symptoms of hearing loss is also one of the biggest criminals.

Bad habit to quit for a healthy living # 6: TV trouble

Sitting for hours on the couch, watching that idiot box can put your heart and eyes at risk. Watching too much TV can put you at an increased risk of heart attack, stroke and obesity. The more you are glued to the TV, the more immobile life will affect your levels of fat and sugar in your blood. Besides, it also strains your eyes and causes damage to the refractive lens.

Bad habit to quit for a healthy living # 7: Wearing heels

Women who wear heels on a daily basis, do lots of harm to their bodies. Dr. Tina Mahendraker – Physiotherapist, Mumbai says – high heels can affect your posture, put pressure on joints – which can cause arthritis, back pain and tendon injuries and other heels related accidents. Thus to prevent such horrible effects on your health Dr. Tina says – limit your heels to not more than 1.5 inches, and wear insoles to reduce the pressure on your joints.

Bad habit to quit for a healthy living # 8: Carrying an extra heavy bag

We love to carry our world wherever we go, because we can’t afford to miss a single thing. This habit of hauling the world with our (lots and lots of) worldly things on the back or shoulder causes lots of harm to our health. Carrying heavy bags can cause various long term effects like serious back pain, neck pain and poor posture – says Dr. Tina. Hence, to avoid ageing your body prematurely, do yourself a favour and empty that bag.

Bad habit to quit for a healthy living # 9: Sleeping with Makeup

Many girls have a habit of sleeping with their makeup still on. Whatever the reason could be, this habit can cause grave damage to your skin. Sleeping with your makeup on, leads to clogged pores, congested skin and spots. Besides, mascara and other eye makeup can cause irritation, which can also lead to vision loss.

Bad habit to quit for a healthy living # 10: Snacking, even if not hungry

If you disrupt your regular eating pattern, then your body will no longer send hunger signals and you may end up eating even when you are full. This extra eating can flood your body with extra calories and unhealthy ingredients, which can further cause serious chronic health problems like diabetes, heart problems and acidity.

Bad habit to quit for a healthy living # 11: Can’t live without a smoke

In every health tip, behind every cigarette pack, we read this,’ Smoking kills’, but people still persist with the smoking habit. Dr. Sunesara says – smoking even a single cigarette a day, can cause blood clots, which may prevent swift flow of the blood and hence develop plaque in your arteries and blood vessels. Besides, you may also damage the life of the non-smoker who is living with you.

Bad habit to quit for a healthy living # 12: Lying constantly

Surprised to see this one on a healthy living post? Those minute white lies can cause serious damage to your health. If you lie constantly, you will have constant fear of the truth being disclosed, this will create a feeling of stress in you, says – Dr. Vihang. Stress, is the worst thing for your body, as it damages your heath due to the release of stress hormones. Besides, it further leads to headaches and anxiety.

Bad habit to quit for a healthy living # 13: You live on medicines

If you pop a pill for regular headaches, menstrual cramps or normal tummy trouble then you need to stop now. Constant pill popping is an extremely harmful habit that will put your health at stake. Dr. Sunesara says – if you are eating a balanced nutritious diet then you don’t need extra nutrients. If the intake of any nutrient increases, it may create severe side effects. Hence, always check with your doctor, before popping any pill.

Bad habit to quit for a healthy living # 14: Skipping breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – says Ms. Eileen – Nutritionist, Mumbai. If your entire breakfast comprises one cup of rushed coffee and a toast, then you’re setting yourself up for an unhealthy future. This will affect your digestive system. Besides, it will also harm your energy reserves and negatively affect your metabolism. If you skip your breakfast, you are likely to eat more during the other meals and this can lead to weight gain. Eileen says – the key to a good breakfast is a balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates.

Bad habit to quit for a healthy living # 15: You are in love with junk food

Fast food is rich in trans fat, sugar, spices and artificial preservatives. But a life dependent on constant fast food will add to your waistline and cause serious health problems like high cholesterol, diabetes and heart problems in the long run. As fast food is rich in bad fat, it raises the bad cholesterol in the body and leads to the hardening of the arteries, which can further cause plaque deposits. Hence, switch to a healthy diet and protect yourself from weight gain and other serious health problems.

Bad habit to quit for a healthy living # 16: Nail biting

This habit of using your teeth to cut your nails, just for time pass or due to extreme nervousness, can cause germ entry into your body. Dr. Sunsesara says – your hands are constant travellers, they pick several things throughout the day, and then taking these nasty, germ-filled fingers into your mouth can make you bed-ridden for days, due to cold or flu. So, stop this dirty habit right away.

Bad habit to quit for a healthy living # 17: Ignoring sex

Whatever the reason for a low libido might be, whether too much work or stress, avoiding sex altogether for many days and months at a time is not good. Sex is good for you and your health. It helps to improve your immune system and relationship. But if you are not interested in this pleasurable act, then you need to talk to your doctor immediately. Because, a low libido can be beyond stress, it can be caused due to an under active thyroid, hypertension or simply a hormonal imbalance.

Bad habit to quit for a healthy living # 18: Fast eating

Eating at lightning speed due to work pressure or lack of time can adversely affect your digestive system. You should take at least 20 minutes to finish each meal. If you just gulp your food, without chewing it properly, it can cause acidity, bloating and excess gas in your stomach. Hence, slow down and enjoy your food.

Bad habit to quit for a healthy living # 19: Being in an unhealthy relationship for a long time

If you are in a relationship wherein you don’t manage to get your share of joy and happiness, then it’s better to leave the knot at that moment itself. If you have been suffering an unhealthy relationship for a long time, i.e., a relationship that is abusive verbally or physically, or encourages you to participate in unhealthy activities, then you’re harming your health. An unhealthy relationship causes stress and this further lowers your blood pressure, immunity and digestive system.

Bad habit to quit for a healthy living # 20: Picking at your skin

If there is some flaw on your face, you must resist yourself from constantly stressing on it. If you constantly keep worrying about acne by touching it, it will act up more. Besides it will lead to scars and inflammation. Hence, stop picking at your face to avoid worsening skin issues.

You Don’t Need to Have Racism in Your Heart to be a Racist

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From time to time some nations face a tragedy that focuses our collective attention on the problem of racism. And though some of us respond to these situations with a willingness to openly and critically evaluate the aspects of our culture that contribute to racism, many people go the other direction. They quickly deny that racism is still a major problem and go to great lengths to generate non-racist explanations for racist behaviors.

There are a number of reasons people want to deny racism exists. We want to believe the world is fair and just and the existence of racism undermines these beliefs. We prefer to avoid negative emotions and racism is upsetting so we try to avoid thinking about it. We gain self-esteem and a sense of identity from our culture so we are motivated to see our culture as moral and good. And so on.

A big part of the problem is that to combat racism people need to understand it and many people do not. Many seem to believe that racism is solely a reflection of a conscious thought process or a core belief. To be racist means to have racism in your heart, to have deeply held negative beliefs about another race.

From this perspective, racism is limited to fringe groups such as white supremacists and those rare individuals that seem to still be living in the past and clinging to antiquated views on race. From this perspective, racism is rare because most Americans don’t believe that people should be evaluated based on their race. In fact, racism angers most Americans. So if most Americans do not consciously hold racist beliefs and they find racism to be very upsetting, racism must not be that big of a problem, right?

 Wrong. You don’t need to have racism in your heart to be racist. Racism can and often does occur without racist intent.

Consider, for instance, research demonstrating that people are quicker to shoot a potentially threatening person in a computer simulation if that person is black. In these studies, people are making rapid decisions. They don’t have time to reflect on personally held beliefs. They are just instinctively acting. And their actions are racially biased. In other words, people can act racist even when they do not have time to consciously think about their attitudes regarding race.

Or consider studies in which job candidates with black-sounding names are less likely to get called for interviews than candidates with white-sounding names even though they are equally qualified. Perhaps some of these employers are purposefully being racist. But many of them may not even realize that their decisions are being influenced by race. That is, they may not be able to consciously identify why one candidate just feels more appealing than the other.

In other studies, researchers found that doctors asked to look at health histories were less likely to recommend certain medical treatments if the patient was black. Again, most of these physicians probably do not see themselves as racist individuals.

This type of bias has even been found in environments that people often view as extremely progressive. In one study, university professors were more likely to respond to an email from a potential future student if the student had a white-sounding (and male) name.  These professors could probably not articulate the exact reasons why they were more responsive to white male students. And I am sure most of them would be very upset to know their behavior was racially biased.

These are just a few examples. Trust me, I could keep going. The point is that people can engage in racist behavior even if they do not intend to, and even if they are not aware of it. These kinds of behaviors are what psychologists refer to as unconscious biases. They reflect behaviors that occur without thoughtful reflection or deliberation.  These behaviors often align with racial stereotypes and are exhibited even if individuals believe these stereotypes to be inaccurate.

So what are we to do? The first step involves getting people to accept the idea that the problem of racism does not simply boil down to whether or not people believe themselves to be racist. Thankfully, most people appear to be sincerely disgusted by the idea of racism. This is good. But we need to do more.

It is not enough to be opposed to racism. We need to understand that racism can exist without conscious deliberation, that racial bias is still dramatically impacting the lives of many minorities in America even though most Americans are against racism. We need to act less defensively when race appears to be an influential variable and be willing to critically evaluate a situation based on evidence, not just on feelings or personal beliefs. And we need to embrace the idea that, as a nation, we do not need to have racism in our hearts to be racists. Good intentions are not enough. We need to thoughtfully and systematically combat the stereotypes, traditions, and policies that allow racism to continue to thrive.

 

 

How to Convince Someone to Trust You Again

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After breaking someone’s trust and confidence in you, it will take a lot of patience and determination for that special person to regain trust in you again. With perseverance and determination, it is possible to turn a person’s disappointment in you around and make your relationship better than before.

Convince Them With Your Actions

Understand the importance of trust. Relationships are meaningless without trust. It kills both the partners deep inside.

Blame yourself. The reason why you are having a trust deficit is only you. You have to realize and accept your mistakes before you can move forward. You need to understand that it was you who goofed up and the only one who can be blamed for it is you.

Don’t do it again. This is the single most important thing. If you act again in a manner which defies trust of your partner then you might do an irreparable damage. Make sure you don’t do anything which betrays your friend. Sooner or later (s)he will surely come to know and then things might go beyond your control.

Do it by your deeds. The only way to get back the trust is by your deeds. Your words or assurances won’t really help the situation as you have already lost your credibility. Firstly you actually need to feel sorry deep inside and understand your mistakes. Then vow not to repeat them. You need to make sure you understand how important that relationship is for you only then can you act to improve upon it. You can’t again disrespect your friend and at the same time plan to gain his trust back. You have to genuinely act in a manner which would gain you the trust back.

Be patient. It is a slow process, and you’ll have to be patient and consistent. Your patience and perseverance are determined by how important the relationship is for you in your life. There is nothing more important in a relationship than trust.

Be ready to sacrifice. In order to gain the trust back, you need to make real sacrifices. Like canceling something that you wanted out of consideration for the other person. Let your friend get a feeling that you are all for him/her, but make sure you don’t mention that it was for him/her that you sacrificed your wishes. Doing so may have a counter effect and undo all the process made. You need to let go of other temptations in your life.

Think about what you did. Now that someone has lost trust in you, you need to think about how you lost that trust, where you went wrong, and how to earn back their trust.

  • Was this a one time incident, or a pattern of let downs? You may need to allow time to “cool off” before going forward. Be prepared to have all your defenses down. If you go in angry and frustrated, you will not succeed and will probably make things worse.

Surprise them frequently. Get them coffee, make them small inexpensive gifts, go out of your way to do things that show how special your friend is to you. Little actions such as these go a long way in showing a person that you’re truly sorry for your actions and want to make amends.

Surrender your privacy. Give them access to all your e-mail and Facebook accounts and show them your call history on your cell phone. Show them you have nothing to hide and aren’t doing anything behind their back.

  • Make sure this is within reason. It is not necessary give them access to your bank accounts.

Limit your time away. If you have to spend time away, do everything in your power to make sure you are not doing anything untrustworthy or dishonest. Text your friend or speak to him/her frequently just to check in, let your friend know you care, and show interest in their interests.

Offer to make amends. Make a plan to make up for your actions. Suggest a remedy. For example, if you failed to show up for a planned movie night, offer to take your friend to a different movie – your treat. If you put someone else before your best friend, put them in the forefront as often as possible.

  • Remember that not everything can be made up–at least not right away.