Surrounded by Negative People? Here are Some Tips

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well!

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While I was studying Psychology in college one of the topics that really resonated with me was the idea of emotional contagion. As its name implies, emotional contagion is based on the idea that emotions are contagious.

Studies have shown that when we are surrounded by positive people we begin to think more positively and when we are surrounded by negativity we tend to become more negative.

Before going any further, I just want to clarify that the type of negativity that I am referring to is the type of negativity in which the person is feeling negative about the world or about something that is going on in their own life and they might complain a lot to you but they are in no way demeaning you or meaning to cause you any physical and emotional harm.

Basically, emotional contagion is a fancy phrase for explaining that the type of people we surround ourselves with help determine our emotions and outlook on life.

One piece of advice that I constantly hear is that we should try to surround ourselves with positive people and distance ourselves from negative people.

First of all, I definitely think that this advice is easier said than done. Nevertheless, I think that it is certainly possible to gradually distance ourselves from negative friends, acquaintances, bosses, etc.

However, I believe that sometimes it is very difficult, if not impossible, to distance ourselves from those that are more negative. This is especially true if this person is a very dear friend, a significant other, a parent or even a child. In such instances, our conscience will not (and should not!) allow us to distance ourselves from that person.

One of the things that I have been really thinking about lately is: how can we preserve our own happiness and positive outlook without distancing ourselves from the person who is the source of this negativity?

A little Empathy Goes a Long Way

I think that sometimes we have to mentally put ourselves in their position in order to better understand where their mindset is coming from. Often, we may realize that this person has endured certain struggles and challenges that we have never been through. Or perhaps we have been through similar experiences it’s just that this person has had more difficulty coping with the challenge.

Have a Chat

This tip may not work for everyone. However, when possible, I would recommend sitting down with this individual and very calmly letting them know how their negativity is also bringing you down. Most people may not even know that their constant negativity is bothering you! Often, the last thing the loved one wants to do is to bother you or bring you down so this could perhaps be an eye opener for them.

It might be a good idea to discuss many different options during this chat. This also includes the option of that person seeking professional help if necessary.

Self-Care is a Necessity and Not a Luxury

Regardless of our situation, in this fast paced and hard-working world of ours I think that self-care is a must for everyone. We have to dedicate some time to free our minds from everything that worries us or stresses us out.

There are many different approaches to self-care since different methods work for different people. Ideally, self-care is a period of time in which we let go of the worries of the world and focus on relaxing and reflecting on our inner selves or whatever is truly important to us.

Spirituality: Spirituality can be a great means of caring for oneself. Many people swear by the calming effects of meditation. I personally love contemplation. Either early in the morning or right before bed I like to sit by the window and just think about the greatness of the universe or I often spend this time thinking about everything that I am grateful for.

I personally believe in God so when I am going through a particularly difficult time I comfort myself by praying and whenever I am happy I thank Him for my blessings.

Pursue a passion project or a hobby: One of the goals of self-care is to enable you to forget about all of your worries for a while. Pursuing a hobby or anything else that you are passionate about is a great way to relieve stress. Ideally when we are doing something that we really enjoy we are in a state of flow, where we are so absorbed in what we are doing that our mind is only focused on that task and time flies right by.

Exercise: Trust me, I know that exercising is the last thing I think of as being relaxing. However, exercise is a proven mood booster thanks to the fact that increases our brains serotonin level which helps us feel happier.

Spend time in nature: I will be the first to admit that I spend way too much time sitting behind a screen. For our own health and well-being it is vital that we give our eyes and our brain a break by spending time outside. Try to go out for a walk or simply step outside and rest your eyes by looking at a tree, a bird, or the grass. Many people swear by the therapeutic effects of camping. Or you can go on a scenic hike with your friends or solo.

Spend some “me time”: This can include treating yourself to a spa or doing something else to pamper yourself once in a while. Your “me time” could be as simple as watching a movie or your favorite show on Netflix. I realize that watching TV may not be the ideal solution however, it can definitely be enjoyable and relaxing if done in moderation.

Feel free to choose any of these tips that you feel will work best for you or feel free to come up with your own self-care activity.

With Love,

Yasmin

 

 

 

The Top Safety Precaution that Passengers are Avoiding

Hey Everyone.

Hope you’re all doing well!

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A recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reported that four out of five people do not wear their seatbelt when they are sitting in the back seat of a car if it is a short trip or if it is in a Uber, Lyft, or any other similar service.

The report by the IIHS found that the majority of people who do not wear their seatbelt in the back seat believe that it is not necessary to wear a seatbelt because the back seat is much safer than the front seat.

However, research by IIHS engineers and others have shown that this idea is absolutely false. In the event of a car crash unbelted back seat passengers can be violently thrown like a missile to the front.

In 2015 alone 1,018 back seat passengers died because they were not wearing a seat belt.

A separate report conducted in 2016 by the Governors Highway Safety Association found that unbelted back seat passengers were three times more likely to die in a crash.

According to the IIHS the driver can also be severely injured because an unbelted back seat passenger can slam into the drivers seat, pushing the driver into the airbag and steering wheel with a 35  mph impact.

Okay so I have a confession to make. Usually when my whole family and I ride together in a car, my parents are in the front and my two brothers and I are in the back seat. It is often the case that one of my brothers is on one side and the other brother is on the other side and I am in the middle.

I have to admit that when I am in this middle seat I never buckle up because the seatbelt in the middle is, in my opinion, uncomfortable. Although we rarely all ride together, after reading these stats I will definitely be buckling up.

Additionally, it has been reported that Princess Diana was not wearing a seatbelt on the night of her fatal car crash. According to a simulation experiment by CNN her life could potentially have been saved if she was simply wearing her seat belt.

From the bottom of my heart I would like to really encourage all of you my dear readers to please make sure to buckle up whenever you are in a car, no matter how short the trip is. Its something that can be done in a few seconds but it can save your life and even the lives of those with and around you.

With Love,

Yasmin

Study Finds 99 Percent of NFL Players Have This Disease

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well!

A recent study published in the JAMA medical journal revealed that the majority of American football players developed Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). This study is very significant because it is the largest study to ever be conducted on this topic. football-380388_640

Since CTE is a disease that can only be diagnosed after death, this study involved studying the brain autopsies of 202 football players. Out of these 202 players, 177 of them were diagnosed with CTE.

Within this sample some were high school football players, some were college football players and 111 of these were NFL football players. A shocking 99 percent (110 out of 111) of these NFL players developed CTE. Take a look at this very informative CNN article to learn more about the impact and limitations of this study.

CTE is a degenerative brain disorder which means that the symptoms will continually deteriorate over time. Currently, at this time CTE has no known cure. Aside from American Football players CTE is also found in:

  • Boxers
  • Wrestlers
  • Rugby Players
  • Ice Hockey Players
  • War veterans with a history of blast or concussive injury.
  • People who repeatedly bang their heads
  • People who have been physically abused
  • People with uncontrolled epilepsy

CTE is primarily caused by multiple head injuries which cause concussions. A concussion occurs when an individual gets a violent blow to the head which causes the brain to slam against the skull. For example, when football players get a concussion they are usually hit by speeds that range from 17 to 25 miles per hour which is more than 90 times the speed of gravity.

The impact of a concussion can cause bruising of the brain, torn blood vessels, and nerve damage. Some of the immediate symptoms of a concussion include confusion, amnesia, loss of consciousness, ringing in the ears, and nausea and vomiting.

According to the Mayo Clinic the following are some of the symptoms of CTE:

  • Trouble thinking (Cognitive Impairment)
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Depression or apathy
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Difficulty planning and carrying out tasks (executive function)
  • Emotional Instability
  • Substance abuse
  • Suicidal thoughts and behavior

Unfortunately, there is no known cure for CTE but preventative steps can be taken. Since CTE is primarily caused by concussions it is vital to take steps to ideally prevent concussions from occurring in the first place or at least, prevent further injury after a concussion.

Many athletes can benefit from sport specific helmets and riders can benefit from bicycle and motorcycle helmets. These helmets may not completely prevent concussions however, research has shown that they can reduce the occurrence of dangerous brain injuries.

This past week many news outlets have been reporting the results of this study and I hope that this post helps to give a bit more information about Chronic Traumatic  Encephalopathy.

With Love,

Yasmin

 

 

 

 

Top Three Tips for Staying Hydrated This Summer

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well!

It’s officially summer and the heat is soaring in many parts of the world including my own city.  For many, summer is a time for relaxing, enjoying the warmer weather, and having fun in the sun. However, with all of this fun comes the danger of dehydration from the intense heat.

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I have to admit that for the longest time I had a false sense of confidence that I would never become dehydrated. Recently, however, I learned my lesson the hard way and this inspired me to do some research and write this post for you so hopefully you can all stay hydrated and healthy this summer.

According to the Mayo Clinic the following are some of the signs of dehydration in adults:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Urinating less frequently
  • Dark colored urine
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion

Here are some tips for staying hydrated this summer:

Drink Water:

I know this one is very obvious but many of us simply forget to drink water and this can lead to trouble. If you’re out and about throughout the day it might be a good idea to carry a bottle with you preferably a BPA free bottle.

Its best to drink water before we get thirsty because by the time we’re thirsty we are already at an increased risk for dehydration. According to the Institute of Medicine the average female should drink about 11 cups of water each day and the average male should drink about 16 cups of water each day. Of course, this is just an average estimate and this will vary on many factors such as your body type, how active you are, and how hot is it outside. This estimate also includes other sources of water including tea or coffee, and the water that is in the foods that we eat.

I know that this might sound a little gross but one of the ways that you can make sure that you are properly hydrated is to look at the toilet the next time you urinate. The color should be a pale yellow.

As with all other good things in life, too much water is not a good thing. Drinking too much water is dangerous and can lead to water intoxication. Also, drinking too much water causes you to lose sodium at a faster rate than your body can replenish and this can lead to hypothermia.

Exercise with Caution:

Exercise has countless benefits for our physical and mental health and well-being. However, in the summer it is especially important to stay hydrated while you are exercising. Some experts point out that during a workout session we can lose up to four pounds of fluid before we feel thirsty. This is why its recommended that we should drink about half a cup of water 15 minutes before starting to exercise then continue to repeat this every 15 minutes during the workout session and then once more after we’ve finished the workout session.

During a particularly intensive workout session water may not be enough to keep us hydrated. This is because when we sweat a lot our body loses electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals that are found in our blood and they help regulate the amount of water in the body and they help transmit nerve signals to our muscles. Drinking sports drinks such as Gatorade and Powerade can rehydrate our body and replenish the electrolytes that we may have lost.

Coconut water is a possible natural alternative to sports drinks. Coconut water has electrolytes such as sodium, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorous. Coconut water is a fairly low calorie drink, it has between 60 to 90 calories. During extremely intensive workouts sports drinks may be your best option. However, these drinks are high in glucose and sodium so if you have diabetes or high blood pressure it is best to talk to your doctor before taking these sports drinks.

While exercising, its good to push ourselves a bit, however, it is vital that we know our limits and we stop before we have reached a certain point. If your muscles feel very tired and/or you feel dizzy then it is definitely time to stop or take a break to hydrate yourself. Muscle fatigue and laziness are signs of dehydration and need to be taken seriously.

Eat Your Fruits and Veggies

According to the National Institute of Health about 20 percent of our daily water intake comes from the food that we eat. During these hot days it is it is vital that we include and/or increase the amount of fruits and veggies in our diets because they contain electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Fruits and vegetables have a high water content. Here are the fruits with the highest water content:

  • Strawberry (92 percent water)
  • Watermelon (92 percent water)
  • Cantaloupe (90 percent water)
  • Peaches (88 percent water)
  • Pineapples (87 percent water)
  • Oranges (87 percent water)

Note: Bananas and dates should also be consumed because they contain potassium.

Here are the veggies with the highest water content:

  • Cucumbers (96 percent water)
  • Lettuce (96 percent water)
  • Celery (95 percent water)
  • Radishes (95 percent water)
  • Tomatoes (94 percent water)
  • Cauliflower (92 percent water)
  • Bell Peppers (92 percent water)
  • Spinach (92 percent water)

Of course fruits and vegetables should be consumed in moderation. Fruits are high in sugar. Also, those people that are on a blood thinning medication such as Warfarin should be careful because some fruits are blood thinning and some vegetables are high in Vitamin K.

Bonus tip: Try adding some sea salt to your food. Sea salt not only adds flavor but it is also has sodium and potassium which can help you stay hydrated.

I hope you found these tips to be helpful in keeping you hydrated this summer!

With Love,

Yasmin

The #1 Myth about Stress

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well!stress

Stress needs know no introduction. We have all been through some sort of a major stressful episode in our lives and many of us face some form of stress on a daily basis. We have also heard of how dangerous stress can be for both our physical and mental health and well-being.

However, Stanford University lecturer and health psychologist Kelly McGonigal Ph.D. argues that it is not the actual stress that is dangerous for us and can make us sick rather, it is how we think about and perceive stress that can make it harmful for us.

She cites a study conducted in 2012. This study tracked 30,000 Americans for a total of eight years. Towards the end of each year the participants were asked two questions. First they were asked: “How much stress have you experienced in the past year? Then they were asked: “Do you believe that stress is harmful for your health?”.  Each year researchers used public death records to find out how many of these people died that year.

As we might expect the people who reported that they experienced a lot of stress in the last year had a 43 percent increased risk of death.

However, this increased risk of death was only true for the people who also believed that stress was harmful for their health.

The people who experienced a lot of stress but did not view this stress as being harmful were not more likely to die. These people actually had the lowest rate of death compared to everyone else in the study (even compared to those who had only a little bit of stress but viewed stress as being harmful).

The researchers of this study generalized the results of this study to the overall American population and they estimated that each year nearly 20,000 people die not from the actual stress but the belief that stress is harmful for them.

The major takeaway from this research is that changing how we think about stress can make us healthier and actually improve our stress response.

When we are going through a stressful episode we experience certain physiological changes such as a faster heart rate, faster breathing and sweating. Normally, we interpret these physical changes as a sign of weakness and thus we may start getting anxiety.

Now that we are equipped with this new knowledge, the next time we are experiencing a stressful episode and we are experiencing our heart pounding or any other signs of stress we should practice thinking of these signs as helping energize our body and helping us to face the challenge that we are about to face.

In fact, a study done by Harvard University demonstrates that thinking differently about our stress response really does help us deal with the stress in a healthier manner. In this study participants were taught to view their stress response as being helpful and not dangerous. Then when the experiment started they were all placed in a stressful environment (they had to perform various challenging tasks such as arithmetic in front a number of “judges”). The results of the experiment showed that those who viewed their stress response as being helpful were less anxious, less stressed out, and more confident.

Perhaps one of the most interesting findings of this Harvard study was that those who viewed stress in a positive manner had their physical stress response actually change. Under normal stressful conditions when our hearts are pounding, our blood vessels really tighten up and constrict themselves and over the course of a lifetime this type of stress reaction can lead to heart disease. Those with a positive attitude about stress still had a pounding heart however, their blood vessels were much more relaxed and this is a much healthier state to be in.

Without a doubt, long-term stress or a lifetime of stress, can cause health complications however, this research gives us hope that we can prevent some of the detrimental effects of stress by simply changing the way we think about stress.

With Love,

Yasmin