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Category Archives: Mental Health
With the Christmas season upon us, chances are good that your stress level has gone up significantly. Purchasing gifts, decorating your home, preparing family events, sending cards and planning for travel only adds to the chaos of year-end reports, increased workloads, social events and other typical December stressors. Even worse, the holidays are a time when many people start to suffer from anxiety and depression. It’s estimated that around 10 percent of people suffer from seasonal affective disorder, and many more suffer from a milder but still troubling condition colloquially referred to as the “winter blues.” So what could be done to reduce stress during the holiday season? Well, according to an encouraging new study, it may truly be better for your health to give than to receive.
There are many factors that come into play when considering why you or someone you know may be overweight. Unhealthy lifestyle choices like smoking or not getting enough sleep can contribute to a high body weight, while medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure can enable obesity as well. Of course, the most well-known factors for maintaining a healthy body weight involve getting enough exercise and regularly consuming a healthy diet. Apart from all of these, however, there’s one factor that is often overlooked when it comes to weight loss: the brain. Although it’s not widely understood, mental health issues such as depression have been linked to weight gain. This causes some to ask: could it be possible that the opposite is true as well? In other words, is a positive, in-the-moment mental outlook linked to lower body weight? A new study says it’s possible.
It’s a situation almost everybody has found themselves in at one time or another: you have a stressful day at work, you go home, collapse on the couch, and reach for the ice cream. Or potato chips. Or cookies. You end up eating most – if not all – of the pint/bag/box. If you’re trying to maintain a healthy diet, you’ve just obliterated any chance of meeting your daily goal. This phenomenon, commonly referred to as “stress eating,” “emotional eating” or, more colloquially, “eating your feelings,” is a real issue that’s been fairly widely studied. Most studies have shown that the stress hormone cortisol is responsible for stress eating. However, a new study published in the journal Neuron suggests that the problem is actually quite a bit more complicated. It also suggests that stress can lead to an overall reduction in self-regulatory behavior, which can affect more than just food choices.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Americans are currently living longer than ever. While this is great news, it also signals a need for increased understanding of elderly health issues and resources for dealing with them. In particular, longer life spans necessitate a continued need for research into cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s prevention. As of now, 5.3 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s, and it’s the sixth leading cause of death. Plenty of studies suggest different methods for preventing Alzheimer’s, such as learning a second language or making sure you get enough vitamin D. However, not everybody develops Alzheimer’s as they get older – but many elderly people will experience cognitive decline of some sort. What can be done in those cases? A new report from the non-profit Institute of Medicine describes some prevention strategies.
Everybody knows that exercise is one of the fundamental aspects of living a fit and healthy lifestyle. Just some of the benefits of exercise include weight control, disease prevention, energy boosting, stress relief and sleep improvements. It’s been proven time and time again that a lack of exercise can lead to poor life quality and early mortality. A sedentary lifestyle can even be more damaging than obesity. Plenty of research has indicated that exercise can be effective in treating specific conditions as well. It’s been proven to help with depression, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and many others. It also can improve memory and brainpower. Unfortunately, a new study says that many medical schools simply aren’t teaching doctors to use exercise in their treatment plans. The results of the study might be indicative of a problem within the culture of the medical industry.
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