Tag Archives: health

Want to be healthier? You need to be more social


You have to socialize if you want to be healthier. That’s been tough during the pandemic. And it is tough for men in general. As VOX shows, men have fewer friends than ever.

Of course having friends is good, and if you can form new friendships, that’s great. But socializing with strangers is also healthy. This piece, talking to strangers, shows why.

Get out their and make small talk. Smile at people. Thank them for their help. You will be doing them a favour and yourself as well.

Why polio? Why now?

You may have heard that there have been new instances of polio outbreaks. There have been outbreaks in New York, in other parts of the U.S., and the world. If polio largely vanished thanks to vaccines, why is it now back? A good question, and one each of the pieces I’ve linked to tries to answer. The “TL; DR” answer is: it comes down to people being unvaccinated. We have had a rise in people rejecting vaccines for many reasons over the years, and this has lead to outbreaks of diseases that should be all but dead.

I remember getting vaccinated against polio and other diseases when I was young. The one disease I was terrified of was polio. There were lots of stories of people in iron lungs (shown above) that enabled people to live and breathe. The thought of being trapped in such a device made me easily get over any fears of needles and get the vaccine.

I really hope we don’t get a severe outbreak of that disease. No one should suffer with it, especially because there is no reason to.

If you are fearful of it, read those pieces for more information. And make sure whoever needs to gets their shots.

(Image: link to image in the S.A. above)

Summertime fitness links, July 2022


Here’s a list of things on fitness and health I’ve been collecting that you may find useful. It’s summer: at the very least it’s a good excuse to walk more and eat salads more. 🙂

Exercise: a nice list of articles on getting in shape…

Diet/weight loss: four pieces on losing weight

Health in general:

For anyone needing medication in the USA, you need to check this out.

For anyone needing medication in the USA, you need to check out this service provided by the billionaire Mark Cuban: Cost Plus Drugs. They cover a wide range of medication and they clearly illustrate how they go about doing it.

Kudos to Cuban for doing this. It’s a highly practical and substantially useful service for people. I hope it saves people a ton of money. More importantly, I hope it saves and extends the lives of many in the USA.

Two pieces on people Doing the Thing despite Difficulty

Some people find it motivating to see people doing the thing (in this case art and running) despite challenges. If that’s you, then you may find these pieces worthwhile:

I admire people struggling and working to do the thing they love, despite their physical challenges. But I don’t romanticize the physical challenge. And I wish them (and all of us) the best of good fortune in overcoming it.

On retiring my COVID-19 reporting (for now)


Recently I was reporting COVID-19 data daily. I wrote a program called covid.py that scraped the Ontario.ca Covid web site and and pulled out data for hospitalization and cases. It was a rough but useful gauge to see how COVID was going in Ontario, and I was able to get the information in a snap.

Unfortunately the information is no longer posted on the page I was visiting with my code. The data is out there somewhere in the datasets, but I think I will reconsider things before modifying my code. It is a shame that the data is harder to get though.

All these actions by government organizations to make it harder to get data is a bit frustrating. I read people say: you should track the pandemic and make good decisions. It’s hard to do that though when the information is hard to get.

For more information and data:  Government of Ontario data sets on COVID-19 are here. Government of Canada COVID-19 information is here. More on my code, here.

 

How Many Close Friends Do You Need in Adulthood is a good question


How Many Close Friends Do You Need in Adulthood asked The New York Times:

One 2016 study suggested people who have six or more friends have improved health throughout their lives, while a 2020 study by Suzanne Degges-White, professor and chair of the Counseling and Higher Education department at Northern Illinois University, found that middle-aged women who had three or more friends tended to have higher levels of overall life satisfaction.

Hmmm.

Before you dismiss it — I see you, fellow introverts! — go read it. Not everyone needs the same number of friends, nor does everyone need the same type of contacts. But like other parts of our lives, if we neglect our friendships, it has a adverse health on us.

We all need friends. And like exercise, we have to work at it as we get older. When we are younger, it’s much easier to find and make friends. For proof of that, check out this: Who We Spend Time with as We Get Older from FlowingData.

It’s been hard for anyone, young or old, to make and keep friends during these pandemic. Especially in places like Toronto, which suffered numerous lockdowns. But the weather is getting nicer, so get outside (literally) and work on your friendships.

Three things to add to your first aid kit for minor mental health issues


Do you think: there are two types of people, those with mental health problems and those with no mental health problems? I used to think that way too. Like an on-off switch. Now I think of mental health as being on a slider switch.

Physical health can be like that. We can have cuts and pains that aren’t life threatening but require some form of physical first aid kit full of bandages and ASA to help us. Similarly, we can have minor bouts of anxiety and depression that also need dealing with. We should have a mental first aid kit to help us with that too.

Here’s three things to consider putting in your mental first aid kit. First, if you are feeling down more than usual, I recommend adding the HALT method. As they explain here,  How To Use the HALT Method When You’re Grumpy | Well+Good:

What Is the HALT Method? HALT stands for: Hungry Angry Lonely Tired The HALT method is based around the premise that you’re more likely to make poor, highly emotional decisions when hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. “The purpose is to help us identify these experiences when we are tempted to engage in a negative behavior and to instead address the underlying issue,” says Kassondra Glenn, LMSW, a social worker and addiction specialist at Diamond Rehab.

I’d add hungry or thirsty. I don’t know how many times I felt down in a minor way, drank some water, then suddenly felt better. Your down moods may be more serious than this, but like any first aid, try that first and see if it helps.

A second thing to put in your first aid kit is movement. Getting out and using your body has well been shown to help with anxiety and depression. Take a look at how much activity (or not) you’ve been doing when you are feeling slightly mental ill. You may need to get out more and move around. Even a brisk walk. For more on how to go about this and why, read: Can Moving the Body Heal the Mind? – The New York Times

The third thing I’d add is logging. Keep track of your moods and feelings and combine that with self care you’ve been applying to yourself. Log your sleep, your eating, your socializing and your movement and combine that with tracking your mood. Then try to apply the things discussed here and see if it changes.

Finally, if you had a headache or some other pain and you treated it and it persisted, you’d go see a doctor (I hope). Likewise with mental pains and sores. If these things don’t help you, go see your doctor. Take care of yourself the best way you can. For physical and mental illness.

On the ethics of the pig heart transplant

David Bennett Sr. has died, two months after receiving a genetically modified pig’s heart. Like any transplant operation, there were ethical decisions to make. If you are an animal rights activist, you have even more ethical decisions to think about. But this particular transplant brings in even a broader range of ethical considerations, which is obvious once you read this: The ethics of a second chance: Pig heart transplant recipient stabbed a man seven times years ago.

I generally have faith in medical professionals to make the right ethical choices when it comes to transplants.  I think he should have received the transplant and a transplant from a pig is acceptable. But read about it yourself and see what you think.

 

Forget resolutions and get healthier any time (My fitness and health links for March, 2021)

Forget resolutions: you can get healthier and fitter anytime. Heck, stop reading this and go touch your toes or head out for a walk. When you finish that you can check out these 20 links to help you with exercising more, weighing less, drinking less, sleeping better or anything else related to fitness and health:

Exercise

  1. This is me:  When the Last Thing You Want to Do Is Exercise.
  2. Not all cardio has to kill you:  Low-Intensity Cardio Training: What Is It & How Does It Work?
  3. These are an old collection of links I’ve gathered that are good:  Are you in terrible shape? Not so terrible but bad enough shape? Do you need help? Here you go
  4. This Simple Piece of Equipment Could Elevate Your Workout. Can you guess?
  5. Especially good for people who can only workout at home:  How to get motivated to start exercising at home.
  6. One home form of exercise you can do:  Embrace winter with this 5-minute outdoor yoga practice to connect with the earth and stand tall.
  7. You will have to go outside for this, though:  Sprints.

Weight Loss:

  1. Very helpful if you feel stuck:  How shifting your expectations about food can help you lose weight.
  2. 15 Impressive Fitness Goals to Strive for That Aren’t Weight Loss. This is great. For example, stretching and being more flexible.
  3. I felt this was bogus, and so did many who read it:  Mike Pompeo tells The Post how he lost 90 pounds in six months. Glad he got fit, but I think he did that for reasons other than good health, and he lied how he did it.
  4. If you need a challenge:  The 30-Day Well Challenge 

Sobriety:

  1. If you are considering your drinking, think of how it affects others:  My sobriety is not just mine.
  2. This is good:  Reframe: Drink Less & Thrive 17+
  3. As is this:  Should You Try ‘Mindful Drinking’?

Sleep:

  1. A good intro to melatonin. It has not worked well for me, but it might for you:  Melatonin Isn’t a Sleeping Pill. Here’s How to Use It.
  2. My Before-Sleep Ritual Is to Treat Myself Like a Baby. I liked that.

Finally:

  1. Hey, this is good to know:  The Secret to Making Colonoscopy Prep Less awful
  2. I like the qualifiers here:  How to (Try to) Quit (Almost) Anything
  3. Interesting:  Retiring the Cinderella view of the spinal cord as an intrabodily cognitive extension
  4. Also good:  Health Insider – Workout & Nutrition Blog

Why some people in the hospital with COVID despite being vaccinated …

…is explained by this tweet from Dr Jennifer Kwan:

Yes, vaccines great reduce your chances from landing in the hospital from COVID. But it can still happen. Get vaccinated and stay well.

(Image from her tweet)

Notes from having COVID last week

Last Monday (Jan 3) my daughter had a sore throat. She got tested later that evening and was positive for COVID. No one in my house/bubble had symptoms before that, but by Wednesday morning, all but one of us had them.

Our experience with the disease was similar to Liz Renzetti and her family, described here: Opinion: Lessons from the COVID not-so-sick bed – The Globe and Mail.

All of us felt tired and exhibited symptoms associated with COVID. I had a incessant cough, runny nose, stuffy head, and at one point fever then chills. I also slept a lot. Normally I am restless so if I am sleeping that much then I am sick.

We all isolated from each other as much as we could. We had a hepa filter going, and we were all vaccinated (and in some cases boosted). We did what we could to minimize the impact. As it was, the course of the disease took under a week (at least in terms of present symptoms).

People were great in offering us well wishes and close friends offering to bring us food. We were lucky to be able to have food delivered and appreciative of the people who did so.

We only had one rapid antigen test between us. (Good luck getting one of those anywhere.) We were all pretty sick, but we used it and the results were negative. My doctor friend tells me the false negative percentage is 30% (vs 1% false positive).  We acted all we all had COVID anyway and we likely did.

I don’t have any great insights into the disease. Get as vaccinated as you can as soon as you can. Follow local public health guidelines. Take care of yourself and others. Hang in there.

(Photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash )

 

What is healthy? (My fitness and health links for December, 2021)


Here’s some links on fitness and physical health that are not typical. For example, I Did 340 Pushups a Day to Prepare for the TV Version of Prison. Then I Got There. Reading about this:  Emily Ratajkowski‚Äôs New Book Tests The Limits Of Self-Awareness got me thinking about this Dear Younger Me: Lauren Fleshman. Sometimes we push yourselves from the extremes of one form of unhealthiness to another. You may think these  Sample Menus for a 1 200 Calorie Diet can help you lose weight, but if so you should read this: 1 200 Calories a Day Is a Starvation Diet Actually, you may change your mind.

I still think carrying a lot of weight is unhealthy. As did this father: He Struggled to Play With His Daughter So He Turned to the Couch to 5K App to Lose Weight. Find your own level and continually move in the healthier direction.

If you use a fitbit, read this: How Many Steps Do You Really Need Each Day? If you are in the market for one, check this out: Your Fitbit Can Now Let You Know Whether You Snore. If you are looking for new shoes, consider these: Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next Nature Running Shoe via Uncrate.

(Image via Uncrate)

On the passing of Aaron Beck, developer of Cognitive Therapy

Last week Dr. Aaron T. Beck died. He lived a century. As the Times said, his

brand of pragmatic, thought-monitoring psychotherapy became the centerpiece of a scientific transformation in the treatment of depression, anxiety and many related mental disorders

I’d argue he did as much if not more for the health and well being of people than any doctor or scientist.

I highly recommend reading this: Dr. Aaron T. Beck, Developer of Cognitive Therapy, Dies at 100 – The New York Times. I was fascinated to see the pushback he received over time, and how he fought back against. Truly a great man.

 

Eight links to help you have a fitter fall. (Or my fitness and interests for October, 2021)

It’s fall and it’s a pandemic, but gyms are opening wide up and no doubt you (and I) want to get some of our fitness back. Here’s eight links I’ve found recently that could help:

(Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash )

Health and wellness apps can be expensive. Here’s some alternatives

I am sometimes surprised how expensive health and wellness apps can be. If you leave them running on your phone for a year, that can really add up.

And that’s too bad. People can really benefit from such apps, and being short of cash should not be a limit on getting well.

If this applies to you, then you want to check out these 7 Meditation Apps That Are Cheaper (and Better) Than Headspace and Calm .

Headspace and Calm are fine apps. But check out some alternatives.

On clean water, Canada, and the First Nations


We will soon enough have an election in Canada, and I hope this is a major topic during the campaign. No one should have undrinkable water in Canada. We need to do better as a country.

  1. If you want to read more about it, here are three links:What Would It Look Like to Take the First Nations Water Crisis Seriously? | The Walrus
  2. Liberal government will miss drinking water target by years, CBC News survey shows | CBC News
  3. Globe editorial: Since 1977, Ottawa has spent billions trying – and failing – to bring clean water to every reserve – The Globe and Mail

(Photo by manu schwendener on Unsplash )

Can an app stop nightmares?

smart watch
Occasional nightmares? No. But persistent nightmares, possibly.  WIRED magazine has the story, here:  How a Vibrating Smartwatch Could Be Used to Stop Nightmares | WIRED

If you want to access the app, click here.

Fascinating. I hope it helps.

(Photo by Oscar Nord on Unsplash)

You need Vitamin D. Here’s why.

From information is beautiful.

Are you more worried these days? This can help


Are you more worried these days? Ha! I know you are: I see your tweets and your socials! Hey, it’s fine. These are difficult days. That’s not a licence to worry your head off though. Difficult or not, being able to worry less is a good skill to have.

If you don’t think it is a skill you have much of, read this. It will give you good practical tips to deal effectively with your worrying. Better yet, read it with a pen and paper handy; when you are done, write down a practical plan to change your worrying.

Worrying is a habitual way of thinking that can cause you damage. The good news is you can break that habit and change your thinking and have it shift away from worrying.  Worrying is like smoking or eating badly or any other harmful behaviors. Behaviors you can change. So set your mind on a different form of being. You’ll be calmer and more positive soon enough.

(Photo by Henrikke Due on Unsplash)

Two good articles on sleep

Man and dog sleeping

If you are having sleep problems, read #1. If you need to understand why you need to sleep more, read #2.

  1. Shuteye and Sleep Hygiene: The Truth About Why You Keep Waking up at 3 a.m.
  2. Scientists Now Know How Sleep Cleans Toxins From the Brain | WIRED

I especially liked #2. I had a long held belief that is why we sleep. It’s satisfying to see it established by science.

We all need clean and shiny brains. To do that, get some sleep.

Gardening as a form of mental wellness

Gardening is a tricky hobby. I’ve always associated it with older people. Which makes some sense: if you go to a gardening center in spring, it will be packed mainly with old folks. This is a bad prejudice to have. As this article by Samin Nosrat showed me, gardening can be a great activity to help with one’s mental wellness.

She starts:

Last winter I suffered a devastating bout of depression. Unable to do much else, I took to the neglected beds of the vegetable garden I share with my neighbors. Weeding and composting for hours a day, I was regenerating both the soil and something deep in myself. It felt so crucial to my well-being that sometimes I wore a headlamp to extend my work time past the waning daylight.

It’s worthwhile reading the entire article. She makes a great case for the goodness that gardening can do for you. After you finish it, you may want to rush out to a garden center and get started on your own garden and improved mental health.

(Photo by Benjamin Combs on Unsplash)

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Sweden: how not to deal with a pandemic

It’s not good to be too confident with making pandemic assessment, but the evidence is that Sweden has failed in their approach to dealing with it. According to this, via Sweden Has Become the World’s Cautionary Tale – The New York Times:

This is what has happened: Not only have thousands more people died than in neighboring countries that imposed lockdowns, but Sweden’s economy has fared little better.

“They literally gained nothing,” said Jacob F. Kirkegaard, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. “It’s a self-inflicted wound, and they have no economic gains.”

The experiment was Lose-Lose: they suffered more deaths and their economy is worse off.

There is much to be learned from what happened in the Nordic countries. We are learning at the expense of the Swedish people. Read the article for more details.

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No area should get cocky when it comes to their dealing with the coronavirus

Because as this shows, How California went from a coronavirus success story to a new hot spot – Vox,  all you need to do is let your guard down and the disease comes back. I am reading stories of many places having surges and many places are having to go back into lockdown. I understand why people want to read stories of places like New Zealand where life has returned to normal. Life hasn’t returned to normal: all places have done is managed through strong measures to stop it from spreading in their area. Meanwhile it is spreading to other areas of the globe, like India. All it will take is enough relaxing of controls and it could come back stronger.

We know very little about this disease. Social distancing and masks seem to be helping to control it. That’s what we have for now: some level of control. No medicine is coming to help us yet. No mutation is coming to blunt it yet. We may have a long way to go.

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For the few (I hope) young people who think they have nothing to fear from COVID-19

I recommend you read this: ‘Feeling Like Death’: Inside a Houston Hospital Bracing for a Virus Peak – The New York Times.

Sure, your survival rates may be higher than someone much older than you. But that doesn’t mean you still can’t suffer intensively and be weakened for much longer in the future.

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Your brain is dirty. There’s only one way to clean it

Sleep. At least according to this:  ‘Waves’ of fluid clear the brain of toxins during sleep, say researchers – Big Think.

When you sleep, your brain is designed to wash away toxic chemical buildup in your brain. If that toxic buildup is allowed to stick around (due to lack of sleep), bad things happen to your brain and you.

So clean your brain. Get some sleep. See the article to understand more of this.

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How giving up coffee affects you


This may not be something you want to try during the pandemic, but if you ever thought about giving up coffee or any other form of caffeine, read this: This Is What Happens to Your Body During a Caffeine Detox.

I was impressed by how detailed the article was. Also how your nervous system changes over time. Remarkable!

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Lighten your mental load by lifting a physical one: lift weights to lift depression

You may hate lifting weights, but if you struggle with depression, even from time to time, then you should consider it.

More details, here: Resistance Training May Help Relieve Depression (Time)

What are you looking at in terms of exercise? It says:

He recommends following the guidelines provided by the American College of Sports Medicine: doing strength training at least two days per week by performing eight to 12 repetitions of eight to 10 different strength-building exercises each time.

Sounds hard, but it isn’t. And if you need some exercise routes, go to Darebee and find some routines you need.

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Why running may help your brain

Based on this older study (For Your Brain’s Sake, Keep Moving – The New York Times), it seems like running helps the brain grow better. It’s a good read. It may also explain, at least in part, why people’s brains are not doing so great lately with the lockdown due to the pandemic.

We rightly attribute running to helping our muscles and our cardiovascular system. It seems to help our nervous system as well. Try to get out and move if you can.

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Sweden is acting as a control for social distancing

There will be much discussion about social distancing in the future, and much of that discussion will center on whether or not it has been worth it. One of the ways to better discuss this is to be aware of what Sweden has done. Here’s some key points from this piece Coronavirus: Is Sweden have second thoughts on lockdown? | The Independent:

Sweden, in contrast with most of Europe, has not enforced a lockdown on its citizens. In the balmy Easter weather, people sit and soak in the spring sunshine.

Despite the mounting concerns of experts both at home and abroad, Sweden continues what Anders Tegnell, the country’s chief epidemiologist, has called a “low-scale” approach. He insists this “is much more sustainable” in the long run.

But Sweden’s cases are rising. The country of some 10 million now has more than 10,000 cases and 887 deaths. Its total death toll is higher than that of all the other Nordic countries put together.

The government has said repeatedly that the main cornerstone of their strategy is to protect the elderly. Since the beginning of the crisis, they have been asked to stay home but despite these measures, the virus has spread to one-third of nursing homes in Stockholm, which has resulted in a spike in fatalities.

Prime minister Stefan Lofven recently admitted in an interview with daily Svenska Dagbladet that “Sweden has not succeeded in protecting it’s elderly”. Mr Lofven also warned citizens to prepare for possibly up to “thousands” of deaths.

In the long term Sweden may ultimately have less deaths and suffering because of their hands off approach. Right now, they are doing much worse than other countries practicing social distancing.

It has been very hard for people to social distance but they have because they believe it is worth it. Sweden is now acting as a control in this global experiment and may save many lives globally by showing that social distancing is the way to go. I hope they end the experiment soon.

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On ventilators

I’m not a ventilator expert, but I am curious as to what it takes to get more to patients who are sick due to COVID-19. This will give you some answers as to what it takes to get more out there: Why U.S. hospitals don’t have enough ventilators – The Washington Post

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Five ways to think about flattening the curve and other things related to COVID-19

Chances are you’ve seen this chart: it’s strongly related to the justification for all the dramatic changes that have been happening. Now there’s some counterarguments that it will not work: Squashing the curve? | plus.maths.org

First off, the chart is a model, and like all models, it makes assumptions. For COVID-19, the first  assumption it makes is that the outbreak will rise and then drop off. I am not sure this is true, and I don’t know if anyone else is certain either. There are good reasons to make this assumption, but certainty will come later.

Another big assumption this chart makes is that social distancing will bring the cases down so that there is enough health care capacity to handle it. I think social distancing will bring things down, but the health care capacity could still be overwhelmed.

Is social distancing useless then? I think that is the wrong question, and the wrong way of thinking about things. So how should you think about things?

First: think skeptically. I would say you should keep an open mind but be skeptical about information on the Internet. Things are changing all the time, and there is so much we don’t know. Be doubtful of anyone with strong certainty about this.

Second: think optimistically. My thinking was pessimistic before, but I think I am changing to being optimistic about how we deal with the disease. There are lots of positive signs out there and there are many people working to get more resources thrown at this.  It will make a difference.

Third: think maximally.  Continue to wash yourself with soap often. Continue to practice social / physical distance. Continue to do anything that a recognized authority says will help. More action is better than little or no action. Some action may be no better than eating chicken soup, but you don’t know. Just make sure you are following a recognized authority.

Fourth: think practically. You have to make tradeoffs. Some people have to travel outside to get to work or get groceries.  Try to minimize them. But don’t beat yourself up either. Do the best you can. Be cautious, but don’t panic.

Fifth: think and act healthy. The better you take care of your health, the better off you will be. There are other ways to get sick besides COVID-19 that could also land you in the healthcare system. That won’t help.

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How to wash your hands better


The number one thing you can do to stay well is wash your hands often, and chances are you are doing it wrong by missing spots. For more on how to do it right, see: Map of Areas Most Often Missing During Handwashing

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How should you exercise as you get older?

Like nutrition advice, exercise advice seems to change as often as clothing fashion changes. It can be hard to keep up, and easy to get skeptical that any advice is solid. However, if you want to keep up and are not skeptical, read this: How Smart Exercise Keeps You Younger for Longer.

My take, which is a variation of this, is simple: do a range of exercises, from cardio, to strength, to stretching to balancing. A fitness routine that includes all this is better than a fitness routine that just focuses on one or two areas. And any fitness routine is better than no fitness routine.

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What is pink noise and why you might need it if you have trouble sleeping or relaxing

I was aware of white noise, but I didn’t realize there is a range of noises associated with colour:

Both pink and white noise are members of an entire color family of sound including black and brown noise. Sounds are assigned these colors based on how energy is distributed over several frequencies, according to Healthline.com. White noise, for example, is comprised of energy that is equally distributed across all audible frequencies. Brown noise, sometimes called red noise, consists of higher energies at lower frequencies—think thunder and deep, roaring sounds.

Pink noise, on the other hand, is a shade deeper than white noise. It’s similar to white noise in that it includes all audible frequencies; however, unlike white noise, energy is not distributed equally among them.

I have found that the rain sounds I listen to are more pink noise than white noise, and I prefer it for sleeping. If you are having trouble sleeping or relaxing, try listening to some pink noise.

For more on it, see: Pink Noise Sleep Benefits | Apartment Therapy

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Is warning people about how much exercise it takes to work off a meal a good idea?

According to this, it is: ‘Four hours to walk off pizza calories’ warning works, experts say – BBC News. For example, if you were to buy a pizza or a chocolate bar, they argue that…

Appreciating it would take four hours to walk off the calories in a pizza or 22 minutes to run off a chocolate bar creates an awareness of the energy cost of food, they say.

That’s true. But it’s also not a great comparison. It’s pretty much a given that exercise is not a great way of losing weight, so most foods will come across as requiring a lot of exercise to work off the food. And it may be a lot more exercise than most people do. This will just end up shaming more people than it benefits.

I think a better approach would be to highlight what percentage of your recommended caloric allowance a selection of food is. I believe this would be much better. Foods have something similar already: they tell you what percentage of vitamins, fibre, etc. a selection of food provides for your diet. They could do the same thing with calories. Hey, on some days when you hadn’t had much to eat, something that provides you 50% of your daily calories may be fine.

No matter what, providing health guidance is never simple. But if I had to decide, I’d go with percentages.

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How to make your brain healthier

Easy. Follow these five tips:  ‘I’m a neurologist, and these are the 5 things I do to keep my brain healthy’ | Well+Good

Some of them are easy and obvious, some not. And some are a 2 fer: exercise your body and you help your brain, too.

 

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Even weekend exercisers get to live longer

Image of person running

Hard to believe, but according to this:

Working out only on the weekends or otherwise compressing your total physical activity into one or two prolonged runs or a single vigorous basketball or soccer game each week could lessen your risks of dying prematurely almost as effectively as more frequent, shorter workouts spread throughout the week, according to an interesting new study of the so-called weekend warrior phenomenon.

So you had a bad week and never hit the gym once. Don’t despair: sneak a weekend workout in and do yourself a favour.

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On being grateful (and a good alternative to it)


I have read in many places that it is good to be grateful. To be thankful. Here is one such article: What Does It Mean to Be Grateful? – Mindful. If that works for you, then I recommend it.

I find a simpler and just as effective approach is to acknowledge when something is good. Wake up feeling rested? Say “This is good”. Enjoy your cup of coffee or tea or even just being up? Acknowledge that “This is nice”. As you go through your day, make an effort to consciously acknowledge all the good things big and small in your life. You’ll find many. And if you can’t, that’s ok too. Work to appreciate the good things in the bad. Rainy, overcast day? Good for flowers. Monday? A new week to do something good. Etc. If you struggle to think of any, talk to a friend or some other council.

You have lots of good things in your life. As you appreciate them, you will better appreciate your life in general. And that too is good.

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How to Harness Your Anxiety


Easier said than done, I know. But worth addressing. And not impossible. Good luck! Anxiety may seem like a tiger, but it can also be a horse: you can get a grip on it, break it, and use it to your advantage even.

How to Harness Your Anxiety – The New York Times