Living 2.0

Insights for a Better Life

Category: Health & Wellbeing (page 1 of 27)

People are feeling pressured to be perfect, and it’s killing them

» Instead of trying to be the best, do your best. Knowing that you’ve done the best you could do, with what you have, under the circumstances, even if it falls short of other people’s expectations, is really the only thing you can ask of yourself.

Christie Aschwande, writing for Vox »

Perfectionism is a broad personality style characterized by a hypercritical relationship with one’s self, said Hewitt, who co-authored Perfectionism: A Relational Approach to Conceptualization, Assessment, and Treatment. Setting high standards and aiming for excellence can be positive traits, but perfectionism is dysfunctional, Hewitt said, because it’s underscored by a person’s sense of themselves as permanently flawed or defective. “One way they try to correct that is by being perfect,” Hewitt said.

[…]

Curran and his colleague Andrew Hill gathered data from more than 40,000 college students who had taken a psychological measure of perfectionism between 1989 and 2016. In 1989, about nine percent of respondents posted high scores in socially prescribed perfectionism, but by the end of the study, that had doubled to about 18 percent, he says. “On average, young people are more perfectionistic than they used to be,” Hill says, and “the belief that other people expect you to be perfect has increased the most.”

The rise in perfectionism is especially troubling because it has been linked to an array of mental health issues — a meta-analysis of 284 studies found that high levels of perfectionism were correlated with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, deliberate self-harm and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The constant stress of striving to be perfect can also leave people fatigued, stressed and suffering from headaches and insomnia.

[…]

Striving for perfection isn’t the same as being competitive or aiming for excellence, which can be healthy things. What makes perfectionism toxic is that you’re holding yourself to an impossible standard that can never be achieved — essentially setting yourself up for perpetual failure.

Hair dyes and straighteners linked to higher breast cancer

Many hair products contain endocrine‐disrupting compounds and carcinogens.

Rosie McCall, writing in Newsweek »

Women who regularly use permanent hair dye could be increasing their risk of breast cancer up to 60 percent, according to scientists writing in the International Journal of Cancer.

A study based on the medical records of more than 45,000 women found a positive correlation between permanent hair dye and breast cancer—particularly among those who are black.

While the paper is based on patterns and trends and, as such, doesn’t confirm a direct cause, it adds to research suggesting there may be carcinogens lurking in commonly-used beauty products.

Read the whole article in Newsweek »

Source » International Journal of Cancer

More » NPR, Fast Company

The link between gratitude and generosity

Volunteering at a food bank is one way people feel rewarded by giving.
AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

Christina Karns, University of Oregon

‘Tis the season when the conversation shifts to what you’re thankful for. Gathered with family and friends around a holiday feast, for instance, people may recount some of the biggies – like their health or their children – or smaller things that enhance everyday life – like happening upon a great movie while channel-surfing or enjoying a favorite seasonal food.

Psychology researchers recognize that taking time to be thankful has benefits for well-being. Not only does gratitude go along with more optimism, less anxiety and depression, and greater goal attainment, but it’s also associated with fewer symptoms of illness and other physical benefits.

In recent years, researchers have been making connections between the internal experience of gratitude and the external practice of altruism. How does being thankful about things in your own life relate to any selfless concern you may have about the well-being of others?

As a neuroscientist, I’m particularly interested in the brain regions and connections that support gratitude and altruism. I’ve been exploring how changes in one might lead to changes in the other. Continue reading

Life expectancy in the U.S. is getting shorter » Alcohol related liver disease and deaths on the rise

Reuters »

Americans today are expected to live shorter lives than just a few years ago, in contrast with trends seen in other developed nations, and rising deaths from alcohol-related liver disease may be partly to blame, researchers say.

Analyzing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they found that U.S. deaths from alcohol-related liver disease (ALD) are at their highest levels since 1999 and have risen every year since 2006 in nearly every racial, ethnic and age group.

[…]

The researchers analyzed causes of death for people aged 25 and older in the two decades since 1997, and found that 2017 had the highest rates of death from ALD, at 13.1 per 100,000 deaths in men and 5.6 per 100,000 in women. That compares to 1999 ALD mortality rates of 10.6 per 100,000 in men and 3.3 per 100,000 in women.

Mortality rates and recent increases in ALD diagnoses were particularly pronounced among middle-aged adults, Native Americans and non-Hispanic whites, the researchers report in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

Read the whole article at Reuters »

Related » CBC News » U.S. life expectancy being driven down by middle-aged deaths, study suggests

Air pollution causes brain structure changes that resemble Alzheimer’s disease

Nicholas Bakalar »

Over 11 years of follow-up, they found that the greater the women’s exposure to PM 2.5, the tiny particulate matter that easily penetrates the lungs and bloodstream, the lower their scores on the cognitive tests.

After excluding cases of dementia and stroke, they also found a possible reason for the declining scores: The M.R.I. results showed that increased exposure to PM 2.5 was associated with increased brain atrophy, even before clinical symptoms of dementia had appeared. The study is in the journal Brain.

“PM 2.5 alters brain structure, which then accelerates memory decline,” said the lead author, Diana Younan, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Southern California. “I just want people to be aware that air pollution can affect their health, and possibly their brains.”

Read the whole article at the NY Times »

Published article in the journal Brain » Particulate matter and episodic memory decline mediated by early neuroanatomic biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease

Video » Causes of Death in Comparison

The number one cause of death worldwide are cardiovascular diseases, by a mile.

Sedentary lifestyles of adolescents jeopardizes their health

More than 80% of young people between ages 11 and 17 are not exercising enough, according to a World Health Organization-led study based on data from 1.6 million people in 146 countries.

Sarah Boseley, writing in The Guardian »

Dr Mark Tremblay, of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute in Canada, said in the Journal that physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for premature death worldwide.

“The electronic revolution has fundamentally transformed people’s movement patterns by changing where and how they live, learn, work, play and travel, progressively isolating them indoors,” he said.

People sleep less, sit more, walk less frequently, drive more regularly and do less physical activity than they used to.

“They are increasingly moving from one country to another, from rural to urban areas, from outdoors to indoors, from standing to sitting, from walking to driving, and from active play to digital play.” These changes, he said, could have profound effects on human health.

Stephanie Nebehay and Kate Kelland, writing for Reuters »

In the United States, despite a national plan promoting physical exercise since 2010, obesity rates have risen among adolescents, especially those who eat food high in salt and sugar, studies show.

The WHO study, published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal, said many sports in the United States seem designed to attract boys more than girls. The inactivity rate among American girls was 81%, compared to 64% for boys.

Riley said that as teenage activity levels stagnate, rates of weight gain and obesity are growing: “These two phenomenon are of concern. We need to do more if we want to halt the rise in obesity … and promote better rates of physical activity.”

Melissa Davey, writing in The Guardian »

That four in every five adolescents do not experience the enjoyment and social, physical and mental health benefits of regular physical activity is not by chance, but a consequence of political choices and societal design.

More » CBC

Even among smokers, people who eat more fiber and yogurt may be less likely to develop lung cancer

Lisa Rapaport »

Compared to people who never ate yogurt, those who consumed the most yogurt were 19% less likely to develop lung cancer, the analysis found.

People who had the most fiber in their diets, meanwhile, were 17% less likely to develop lung cancer than those who ate the least fiber.

And individuals with the highest fiber intake and highest yogurt consumption were 33% less likely than those with the lowest consumption of both to develop lung cancer, the study team reports in JAMA Oncology.

Read the whole article at Reuters »

Apple is removing vaping and e-cigarette apps from the App Store

As deaths related to e-cigarettes increase, Apple is taking a stand.

Ina Fried, Mike Allen »

Apple in a statement to Axios: “We take great care to curate the App Store as a trusted place for customers, particularly youth, to download apps. We’re constantly evaluating apps, and consulting the latest evidence, to determine risks to users’ health and well-being.”

  • “Recently, experts ranging from the CDC to the American Heart Association have attributed a variety of lung injuries and fatalities to e-cigarette and vaping products, going so far as to call the spread of these devices a public health crisis and a youth epidemic.”
  • “We agree, and we’ve updated our App Store Review Guidelines to reflect that apps encouraging or facilitating the use of these products are not permitted. As of today, these apps are no longer available to download.”

Read the whole article on Axios »

More » NY Times, The Mac Observer, The Mercury News, The Verge

Related »

Reuters » U.S. vaping-related deaths rise to 42, cases of illness to 2,172

CBC » U.S. teen gets double lung transplant after ‘enormous’ vaping damage

Coconut oil is marketed as healthy, but it has more saturated fat than butter or lard

Katie Pedersen, Chelsea Gomez, Asha Tomlinson »

It’s regularly touted as a “superfood” or a “healthy fat” and is found in supermarkets and health food stores across the country.

But coconut oil is made up almost entirely of saturated fat. In a 14-gram tablespoon, about 13 grams — over 90 per cent — is saturated fat.

That’s nearly double the amount in the same volume of butter, 2.5 times as much as lard, and more than six times the saturated fat of olive oil.

Read the whole article on CBC »

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