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If you’ve ever been in a long-distance relationship or know someone who has, you’ll know it isn’t easy. That being said, there are unexpected life circumstances that separate people from their partners, or they meet someone when they least expect it while in a different place. Whatever the situation, we’ve consulted a relationship expert to find out what you can do to make a long-distance relationship work.

Why are long-distance relationships so complicated?

This may seem like an obvious answer, but many factors make this type of relationship hard. One of the biggest things is, of course the lack of physical intimacy, which is often an essential part of a relationship, says certified sex therapist and couples counselor Jessa Zimmerman. Beyond physical intimacy, not being in the same space as another person can make it easier to become busy with other parts of your life and more difficult to make staying involved in one another’s lives a priority, Zimmerman tells mbg.

What can people do to “make it work”?

“Making it work” looks different for every couple because of the vast amount of variety in partners’ needs and expectations. Some couples may find that both partners “have a higher tolerance for independence and doing their own thing and are very happy on independent tracks and connecting less often,” says Zimmerman, while some partners prefer more involvement or require that in their relationships. Neither is right or wrong. Whatever camp a couple finds themselves in, there are a few tips and tricks for smoother sailing:

1. Establish expectations.

How much communication do you personally need each day? What amount of communication satisfies your partner? As Zimmerman points out, people have different amounts of tolerance for separation and contact—so make sure you’re both on the same page about these expectations from the start. If you haven’t done so already, talk directly with your partner to create a routine that feels good for both of you.

2. Prioritize connecting with your partner.

Recognize that “talking” is different from “connecting.” While phones have made it easier to stay in touch with our loved ones each day, Zimmerman says it often requires more than just a good-night call to stay connected on a deeper level to our partners.

“Remember to really share and consult with each other, console each other, and keep the conversation going on in-depth,” she says. This could sound daunting when you don’t have your partner right next to you, but consider bringing up more meaningful conversations—goals, dreams, obstacles, and challenges. These types of conversations give your partner a chance to be there for you and share what comes up for them. If this feels too out of the blue or uncomfortable, you may try something like TableTopics for couples; these topics are often thought-provoking and could help you learn something new about each other or steer conversations into fresh territory.

3. Put time on your calendar.

It may sound odd to put time on the calendar to connect with your partner, but it’s especially crucial in a long-distance relationship because you don’t have the morning and evening touch-base time that many couples living together have.

The first thing you’ll want to schedule if you have the means is visits to see your partner; this way you can look forward to the next time you’ll be seeing them and plan how to make the most of that in-person quality time.

Between visits, “have a daily anchor that’s your time to connect (over the phone), so whether you’re sitting together over a cup of coffee, watching a TV show together, or checking in around lunch or before bed,” you’ll still be building a more meaningful connection over time, says Zimmerman. If you’re feeling bored of these options, she suggests thinking about your time together as a weekly date, where you and your partner watch a whole movie together, have a more extended conversation, or engage in phone sex or flirtation.

4. Develop trust.

Whether you and your partner were separated geographically after dating for some time in the same place or you began long-distance from the get-go, establishing trust and honesty is crucial. When you’re spending virtual time together each day, you’ll want to have the peace of mind that your partner is remaining loyal to you as you are to them. Having honest conversations about the expectations for your relationships and how things are progressing is an essential step in building this foundation, Zimmerman says.

It comes down to investing time in your relationship.

Just as a couple living together would do, you’ll want to put designated energy toward scheduling your time with your partner, planning how you’ll spend that time, and dedicating some conversations to the topic of trust. A long-distance relationship isn’t easy for many, but making time to connect with each other, both in person from time to time and over the phone, is really the most important step in making it work.

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/how-to-make-a-long-distance-relationship-work?fbclid=IwAR2eGxS-ZKugiq18-BzCyP2S6Q0mxrAeDw9STmyvQOWH4Q8rk1IiYbm_IYs

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Passion and commitment are widely believed to be the foundation of strong romantic relationships.

But a relationship is made of two unique individuals, and personality traits these individuals possess or lack can often make a relationship more likely to endure.

In a recent study, we found that one trait in particular – humility – is an important indicator of successful relationships.

AN HONEST VIEW OF SHORTCOMINGS

Humility can sometimes be confused with low self-esteem, low confidence or meekness.

But researchers have come to realize that being humble generally indicates the presence of deeply admirable personal qualities. It means you have the ability to accurately assess your deficiencies without denying your skills and strengths.

For example, you might recognize that you’re smart but realize it would be absurd to call yourself all-knowing – especially when the scope of human knowledge is so vast. This is an honest and sober view of your shortcomings.

As the philosopher Jason Baehr has argued, “To be humble is to be attentive to and disposed to ‘own’ one’s limitations, weaknesses, and mistakes. A humble person does not ignore, avoid, or try to deny her limits or deficiencies.”

If you’re humble, you lack a host of negative qualities, such as arrogance and overconfidence. It means you can acknowledge mistakes, see value in things that are riddled with imperfections and identify areas for improvement.

THE LINK BETWEEN HUMILITY AND FORGIVENESS

Humility appears to be a huge asset to relationships. One study found that people tend to rate this quality highly in their significant other. It also found that someone who is humble is more likely to initiate a romantic relationship, perhaps because they’re less likely to see themselves as “too good” for someone else.

But in our study, we wanted to explore the link between humility and forgiveness in couples.

Humility is tricky to measure; we worried that people who were arrogant might presumptuously declare their humility, while people who were actually humble would, as a sign of their humility, downplay this trait.

So we approached this question by asking each partner in a romantic relationship about their own and their partner’s humility. We hoped that even if a truly humble person didn’t consider themselves humble, at least their partner would recognize this trait.

We asked 284 couples from the Detroit metropolitan area questions about how humble they were, how humble they thought their partner was and if they were likely to forgive their partner if they did something that was hurtful, like insulting them.

We found that people who felt their partner or spouse was humble were more likely to forgive them following a hurtful situation. This wasn’t true, however, of those who felt their partner or spouse was arrogant. Many of our respondents with arrogant partners indicated that because their partners were less likely to admit to any personal failings, they were less likely forgive them.

Interestingly, the strength of an individual’s social network can play a role too. If someone has a humble partner, they’re more likely to forgive that person. If someone has a lot of close, supportive friends and a humble partner, they’ll be even more likely to forgive that partner after he or she has screwed up. But if your partner is arrogant, it doesn’t matter how many great friends the couple has, they’ll still be less likely to be forgiven.

The ability to forgive is so important because pain is an inevitable part of any relationship. People mess up. They might say something they don’t mean, be unknowingly inconsiderate or forget an important event. So when looking for a partner, it’s probably a good idea to find someone who recognizes that making mistakes is part of being human.

Source: http://spsp.org/news-center/blog/trait-romance-conv?fbclid=IwAR2fLY2jsTsV36e8nV2UMVr4UFszMkc7cue-ealGqj7wStVGPKgWn3BZFlA

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The other day I felt a twinge in my shoulder. At least, I think it’s my shoulder—it’s that spot between my spine and the curve of my shoulder blade, the area I can barely reach and have never figured out how to stretch. (I usually call it my upper back.) It started hurting, as it does most days, and all I could think about was how I wish I didn’t have to sit all the time.

And then I thought, Wow, I’ve spent so much of my life sitting. I sat on the ground playing games as a child. I sat at a desk for 12-plus years of school. I slouched my way through endless lectures at college. I sat down for meals. I sat down to study. And now, as a writer, I sit more than ever. I writhe around in my desk chair for hours trying to find a comfortable position. No matter how I sit, something (somehow) hurts, and no matter how upright I think I am, I’m just not. I see it in photos, and I feel it in my body. My posture is terrible, and it’s taking a toll on my life.

Now to be clear: I’ve had bad posture for years. I was regularly told, “Sit up, shoulders back.” But during those years I did nothing because honestly, nothing hurt. It wasn’t until college that I started having back pain, and I thought it was because I carried a heavy bag (which I would later learn was part of it but not all of it). Perhaps the worst part is that I thought it would go away on its own. I sought out minimal help—a few chiropractor sessions, sports massages, and a brief stint at physical therapy—but nothing seemed to help, so I stopped. And because of that, I still have back pain.

That’s how I ended up direct messaging Sarah Kostyukovsky, P.T., DPT, OCS, and certified personal trainer for Mom In Balance on Instagram. She gave me incredible advice for fixing my posture, no trendy treatment or back brace required (I had in my head I would need a back brace). So if you, like me, have poor posture or any sort of back pain, Dr. Kostyukovsky has some advice—and it would be smart of us (all of us) to take it.

What is “bad posture”?

I’ve always thought of bad posture as slouched shoulders and a caved in chest, but as Dr. Kostyukovsky says, it’s much more than that. “Posture is all about alignment. Our skeletal system is the base for our muscular system, and correct posture is ideal alignment of our bones so that our muscles can act most efficiently.”

In other words, when our bones are aligned, the right muscles are activated, which allows us to sit up straight. Being in, or “having,” good posture means that we’re maintaining the natural curvatures in our spine and activating the muscles that keep us upright—which, in turn, puts less stress on our bodies.

No, it’s not just about pulling your shoulders back.

In fact, that’s some of the worst advice you can give someone trying to fix their posture. “If you tell someone to stand up straight or sit up straight, they automatically just throw their shoulders back and stick their chest out,” Dr. Kostyukovsky says. “That’s not the proper way to correct your posture.”

“It’s all about maintaining those curves in your spine—in our neck and upper back and our lower back/lumbar spine.” To do this, she recommends getting a chair that has lumbar support built-in, buying a lumbar support cushion, or simply rolling up a towel and placing it under your lower back while you sit in your chair. Easy enough, right?

Does strengthening your core help?

While there are plenty of reasons to strengthen your core, doing so doesn’t guarantee proper posture. Why? Because if you’re already sitting in poor posture, you aren’t engaging your core anyway.

“Doing core movements in workout classes is important because you want to maintain core strength, but if you’re sitting in poor posture, you’re not going to use your core like you should,” Dr. Kostyukovsky says. “So even if you work out five times a week doing core strengthening, if you then sit at a desk all day in bad posture, you’re not able to activate your core.”

“For example, if you’re slouching, it’s impossible to engage your core. But if you’re sitting up in good posture—sitting on the right part of your pelvis with the natural curve in your lower back and in your upper back and neck, engaging your core is so much easier.”

So while core strength is important to our day-to-day lives and functioning, it’s not going to magically cure your posture on its own.

OK, so what does help? What can I do?

Whenever I’ve seen a specialist, from chiropractors to private Pilates instructors, I’ve asked them what I could do at home to improve my posture. To my surprise, I wound up with a lot of non-answers—the kind that make you nod your head when you hear them but make no sense when you try to piece them together later. Fortunately, Dr. Kostyukovsky had real answers and exercises that I could do on my own to improve my posture.

Her first piece of advice is to strengthen your upper back because those are our posture muscles (and they’re often neglected in our workouts and day-to-day lives). “Being on our computers and on our phones, we’re constantly in a rounded position. The muscles between our shoulder blades get lengthened and weak because we’re constantly in a forward flexed posture. Upper-back strengthening is important to counteract our constant rounding and for the maintenance of upright position.”

That said, if you have to be at a computer for work, she recommends doing some gentle stretches during the day to get yourself out of the rounded position more often. Thoracic extensions and standing scapular retractions will engage the muscles between your shoulder blades (and remind them of their purpose, which is to hold you upright).

In terms of workouts, Dr. Kostyukovsky recommends Pilates and yoga. “Pilates is amazing for alignment and postural strengthening. Yoga, if you’re doing it correctly, is also great for spinal mobility and upper-back strengthening. Think chaturanga, spinal twists, downward dog.”

While poor posture can be frustrating and cause you discomfort, it is a curable condition—all we have to do is care enough and do the necessary work to fix it. Give the above exercises a try (those extensions and retractions require no equipment!), and we hope to see you next time in good health and great posture.

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/how-to-finally-fix-your-bad-posture?otm_medium=onespot&otm_source=inbox&otm_campaign=Daily+Mailer&otm_content=daily_20190319&otm_click_id=1ff1c4cc2cd65482b132f61e13d822a1&os_ehash=4366f4a34c67ce527584ae17c656bb4bd17ce861

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Experts explain what essential oils can (and can’t) do for your health.

Essential oils are having a major moment: They’re now found in everything from air fresheners to beauty products. Yet aromatherapy (using essential oils to heal the body and mind) isn’t new; it’s been around for centuries throughout Europe and Asia. Oils extracted from plants are popped into products that promise to improve sleep, calm anxiety, soothe digestive distress, and promote good skin.

But essential oils and some of the products they’re found in aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, which makes knowing which to buy and how to safely use them confusing—plus they come in different formulations.

Check out what the experts say about which types of essential oils are worth your money—and which you should give a hard pass.

Oils you inhale

Proponents say breathing in essential oils from the bottle or a diffuser (a few drops of oil in water creates a fragrant vapor) elicits desirable feelings like relaxation and alertness via scent molecules that trigger brain regions related to emotion, heart rate, blood pressure, and hormones.

What we know: Research is promising. A research review by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University found that inhaling oils and using them in massage alleviated depression, and a meta-analysis in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that lavender and chamomile helped sleep.

Should you try them? Yes, but the oils are strong, so children, pregnant or nursing women, and senior citizens should take a pass. For therapy on the go, dilute a drop of essential oil in 17 drops of a carrier oil (such as jojoba or coconut oil) and dab it under your nose, recommends Ginger Ravencroft, founder of Ravenscroft Escentials.

Brands to consider: Popular brands SajeDo Terra, and Young Living are available online; prices vary by oil type and bottle size.

Oils applied to your skin

Products with essential oils—deodorants, shampoos, masks, facial mists—claim to fight odors and acne, rejuvenate hair and skin, and relieve pain through the chemical composition of the oil’s parent plant.

What we know: Tea tree oil is anti­microbial and has long been used to treat acne, rosacea, and dandruff. Peppermint oil may help reduce pain due to its menthol content, and oils of eucalyptus and rosemary are believed to have anti-inflammatory properties that may ease pain and soothe eczema.

Should you try them? Sure, but the same exceptions apply as with inhaled oils, and mixing with a carrier oil is key. Avoid the sun if using citrus oils—they’re photosensitizing, so exposure to sunlight when using them could cause skin burns.

Brands to consider: Ravens­croft Escentials serums and mists; The Body Shop’s Tea Tree Skin Clearning Clay MaskAvalon Organics hair productsSchmidt’s natural deodorant.

Oils you ingest

Consuming essential oils is said to improve digestion and immunity and support overall metabolic function.

What we know: Research is scarce. Some may burn the mouth or esophagus, and the National Capital Poison Center warns that taking the wrong essential oil or too much can be toxic.

Should you try them? No. “I don’t recommend it,” says Yufang Lin, MD, an integrative medicine specialist at Cleveland Clinic, except for those under the care of a trained herbalist or doctor.

Brands to consider: Visit the American Herbalist Guild to find a professional to guide you.

Source: https://www.prevention.com/health/a26678041/do-essential-oils-work/

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Almost every patient I see has some degree of chronic inflammation. That’s especially concerning since chronic inflammation is a chief driver for nearly every disease on the planet, including obesity. It contributes to numerous gut problems including dysbiosis, or gut imbalances that lead to problems like leaky gut.

Sometimes finding the sources of chronic inflammation can take some detective work. For one patient, we discovered that hidden black mold in her house from an old leak was creating it. Others may work in factories, where their occupational exposures can exacerbate inflammation.

Yet for almost everyone, inflammation stems from multiple culprits, including poor diets, the overprescribing of antibiotics, chronic stress, insufficient sleep, and environmental exposures.

The good news is that, with the right strategies, you can start healing your gut and heal your body of inflammation, pain, and other miseries.

Chronic inflammation doesn’t happen overnight, nor does reversing it, especially if you’ve been very inflamed for a long time. But by incorporating all (not just one—remember, there’s no easy way out!) of these strategies, you will begin taming your inflammation and start seeing results in as little as two weeks.

Once you’ve healed, you’ll notice the symptoms that were nagging you, like unexplained fatigue and mental fog, will have disappeared or become unnoticeable. In my practice, I’ve found that calming down the immune system and chronic inflammation can take approximately four weeks. If you have a long-standing health condition like an autoimmune disease, full healing usually takes anywhere between three and six months or longer. Be patient with yourself because healing is never continuous—it happens in what I call “the quantum steps of healing.” You may feel no progress has been made, then all of a sudden, three months in, you’ll experience a sudden improvement in all of your symptoms. Dedication without expectations is the key to healing.

You’ll begin taming your inflammation and start seeing results in as little as two weeks.

Once you’ve healed, keeping up with a strict plan may be burdensome, but I encourage you to hold on for a little bit longer. As a rule of thumb, stick with the plan for another two to three months after you feel your best. At that point, you can experiment with an occasional cheat, but keep a journal of what you’re eating and how you’re feeling to make sure your symptoms don’t start creeping back in. If you don’t want to end up back where you started, treat your body with care and respect.

Try following these seven simple healing practices, and note how quickly you notice changes in your own body:

1. Focus on your diet.

Taming chronic inflammation starts with what you put on the end of your fork. In other words, your best defense to fight inflammation starts with your very next meal or snack. Researchers find that a pro-inflammatory diet significantly increases weight gain and your risk for being overweight or obesity.

The best way to shift that balance is to eat fewer inflammatory foods and much more anti-inflammatory food. The latter include wild-caught fish, loads of nonstarchy vegetables, low-sugar fruit like berries and avocado, raw nuts and seeds, and cultured and fermented foods. Stop and consider, for instance, that our ancestors ate nearly an equal ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids—whereas today we are eating 20 times (sometimes higher) of inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. We’re eating fewer anti-inflammatory foods, but the inflammatory ones we consume (sometimes from not-so-obvious sources like almond milk or factory-raised eggs) can crowd out the healthy ones.

Take soybean oil, prevalent in pretty much any restaurant you eat, which can decrease the amounts of the anti-inflammatory fatty acids EPA and DHA. Even if you’re avoiding the usual suspects like sugar, gluten, and other high-sensitivity foods I often talk about, inflammatory foods can be slipping into your diet. Grain-fed meats, vegetable oils, roasted nuts and seeds, and pretty much any processed food in your grocery store fuels inflammation.

2. Heal your gut.

You cannot fix inflammation without fixing the gut. When your gut lining is disturbed, it cannot absorb nutrients optimally and inflammation develops. Eventually problems like leaky gut lead to food sensitivities and even autoimmune disease.

A downward spiral occurs as gut inflammation becomes systemic (or full-body) inflammation, creating pain, headaches, and other symptoms that you might never suspect originated in your gut.

Healing gut inflammation requires time and patience. The right protocol eliminates food sensitivities, incorporates plenty of anti-inflammatory foods, and includes gut-supporting nutrients like L-glutamineprobiotics, and prebioticsHere’s a three-day plan to get you started.

3. Get the right nutrients.

If you’re not eating an anti-inflammatory diet and incorporating other lifestyle strategies delineated here, taking supplements that can lower inflammation won’t help much.

But combined with the right diet, supplements can help tame inflammation. Among the favorites I use in my practice daily are:

  • Curcumin: Turmeric is that beautiful yellow-orange spice, but its main claim to fame is curcumin, which provides anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and gut-healing benefits. Sprinkle organic turmeric powder onto all your food, but to get the full anti-inflammatory benefits, consider a concentrated curcumin supplement.
  • Fish oil: The two main, anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), are important anti-inflammatory promoters in the body that are often deficient in the American diet. Studies have shown that these omega-3s help reduce inflammation in the gut and elsewhere. Make sure you source the right type. I only recommend practitioner-grade supplements.
  • Probiotics: These healthy microorganisms support optimal gut-flora balance, but evidence shows they can also reduce inflammation. It’s always best to source a high-potency probiotic from a reputable company that focuses on gut health. Read my guide to choosing probiotics here.

4. Avoid environmental toxins.

Many of the over 80,000 chemicals we are exposed to daily have not been tested for human safety. They are everywhere: in our furniture as fire retardants, in cosmetics as heavy metals, in our household cleaners as emulsifiers, and in our food as preservatives. These toxins create all sorts of problems. They disrupt our hormonal balance, keep our immune system revved up, and increase our risk for diseases including cancer and autoimmune disease. Chronic inflammation plays a role in all of these problems.

Just like we are all inflamed, we are all toxic. To reduce that toxic load, you’ll want to minimize the toxins you’re exposed to daily that are under your control.

That might mean becoming more mindful about what cosmetics you use, what household cleaners you keep around, and what skin products you spread on your body, as well as drinking clean, filtered water, eating mostly organic plant foods, and if you are a meat eater, mainly consuming clean protein sources like pasture-raised meats.

You’ll also want to eat plenty of detoxifying foods, including leafy and cruciferous greens, along with spices like turmeric. Once or twice a year, consider working with a professional to incorporate a plan that provides your cells the nutrients they require to optimize detoxification. And a gut cleanse is a great way to clean out the pipes and dump some of those accumulated toxins.

5. Move your body.

Research shows that regular exercise protects against chronic low-grade systemic inflammation present in diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. I like to use the word “movement” as opposed to “exercise” because movement encompasses a broader array of activities.

Yours might include yoga, brisk walking, or weight resistance exercises. Research shows high-intensity interval training, which is fast and effective, can reduce the inflammation that contributes to disease like cancer. But remember this—if you’re a CrossFitter or do any high-intensity exercise, then stock up on the anti-inflammatory nutrients I mentioned above. Moderate exercise reduces inflammation, but extreme exercise (like marathon training and Tough Mudders) will increase inflammation.

The important thing is that you do something that challenges your body without abusing its limits.

6. Manage your stress.

Stress is a major and underestimated factor that affects inflammation, even when all other lifestyle behaviors (like diet and exercise) are on point.

Stress increases inflammation, regardless of how good you’re being with your diet. It activates the fight-or-flight response that makes you feel like you’re under attack when you’re not. It can lead to elevated blood pressure, palpitations, and reduced blood flow to the intestines, resulting in poor digestion and assimilation of nutrients.

Some of my patients live under and handle such elevated levels of stress on a daily basis they consider it normal. They have become desensitized to the thought of stress, but their bodies have not been desensitized to the ravages of stress. Essentially, they’ve ceased to notice what a huge impact stress has on their lives. I often point out to my patients how full their plates are and how even if the load they carry (between work and social life) feels “normal,” it shouldn’t be their “normal.”

Start by saying “no” and creating more space in your life for rest and relaxation.

7. Sleep more.

Forty percent of Americans get less than the seven hours of recommended sleep per night. When compared to the amount of sleep Americans got in 1942, we are getting one hour less per night. That’s outstanding considering modern technology should be making our lives easier, not harder. The problem is the health ramifications of sleep deprivation.

Studies support what I see regularly in my practice: Sleep deprivation can trigger or exacerbate inflammation. Multiple mechanisms are at work here. Sleep loss adversely alters the body’s inflammatory markers, but then you are more prone to make unwise food choices, fuel up on caffeine to get through the morning, and feel more stressed throughout your day with less sleep. Keeping inflammation under control requires eight to nine hours of solid, uninterrupted sleep every night.

Sleep hygiene is important. At least one hour before bedtime, shut down your electronics, block out sleep-disrupting blue light by putting on your blue-spectrum-blocking glasses, dim the lights, and pull up a good book to read (on paper).

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/how-long-it-takes-to-heal-inflammation?otm_medium=onespot&otm_source=inbox&otm_campaign=Daily+Mailer&otm_content=daily_20190317&otm_click_id=0c6ce84de6904ebfbb472ecdc389ea84&os_ehash=4366f4a34c67ce527584ae17c656bb4bd17ce861

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Listen, we all have those days when every little thing seems to be going wrong, and so we’re just feeling grumpy as hell. It happens to even the brightest rays of sunshine among us. But those of us who tend to dwell in their bad moods for an extended amount of time should take caution: A new study just published in the journal Science Advances found our negative emotions—even just incidental frustration due to a spilled cup of coffee or getting stuck in a traffic jam—can actually have a significant impact on our social judgment. Specifically, those negative emotions can make us less likely to trust people.

In an experiment that I’m surprised anyone volunteered for, researchers spent some time riling up a group of (willing!) participants in a lab setting by threatening to give them tiny, unpleasant electric shocks—and sometimes following through on that threat. When participants were adequately pissed off and anxious, they then were asked to participate in a trust exercise where they had to decide how much money they wanted to invest in an unknown partner who may or may not pay them back. Compared to people who hadn’t been made upset before taking part in the trust exercise, the folks in a bad mood trusted their partner significantly less.

The researchers also had these upset participants hooked up to an MRI scanner while they did the exercise, and the scans showed their negative emotional state seemed to be directly affecting their brain functioning. One brain region called the temporoparietal junction, which is involved in understanding other people’s thinking, was “significantly suppressed by negative affect,” a news release explains, and that region’s connection to the amygdala (which evaluates social threat) was also shuttered. For the folks who hadn’t been aggravated beforehand, the strength of temporoparietal junctions’ connection to other parts of the brain involved in social recognition actually predicted how much they trusted their partners.

In other words, a person’s frustrated mood essentially short-circuited their brain in a way that led them to not trusting the people around them.

“Negative affect suppresses the social cognitive neural machinery important for understanding and predicting others’ behavior,” the researchers said in the news release. “Negative emotions, even if they are incidental, may distort how we make important social decisions.”

Being able to trust other people is crucial for maintaining our daily relationships with everyone from our co-workers and friends to our family and lovers. Feeling like you’re under threat from everyone around you is a fast track to unnecessary conflict and self-isolation. If you’re someone who tends to simmer and stew in their frustrations or anxieties, it’s important to recognize how that negative energy can be affecting your relationships—even if the thing that set you off has nothing to do with anyone you’re interacting with. Studies like this one show how much our emotions can affect our brain itself, which in turn affects our judgment and behavior toward others.

No one’s saying you need to be happy 24/7 or all your relationships will suffer. This research just suggests there’s a lot of incentive for trying to develop positive ways to respond to life’s most annoying happenings, from spilled coffee to scheming scientists trying to shock you with electricity.

Instead of letting the emotions eat you whole in such instances, psychologist and life coach Danielle Dowling, Psy.D., recommendsmaking a point to simply acknowledge your emotion, sit with it, and then release it. “Practicing mindfulness enables you to calm stress and soothe yourself,” she writes. “In a state of mindfulness, you make space to step back, reflect, and thoughtfully respond—rather than spontaneously react—to the varying ups and downs of life.”

When in doubt, keep a trusty meditation app and some soothing essential oils ready on hand to help yourself rebound and get back to a better place quickly.

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/negative-emotions-trust-people-study?otm_medium=onespot&otm_source=inbox&otm_campaign=Daily+Mailer&otm_content=daily_20190316&otm_click_id=7dc3245edab3f60759e3c122bcf10b51&os_ehash=4366f4a34c67ce527584ae17c656bb4bd17ce861

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Intelligence Test (Photo By BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images)

Story highlights

  • The research suggests that genes aren’t what’s driving the decline in IQ scores
  • “It’s not that dumb people are having more kids than smart people,” researcher says

IQ scores have been steadily falling for the past few decades, and environmental factors are to blame, a new study says.

The research suggests that genes aren’t what’s driving the decline in IQ scores, according to the study, published Monday.
Norwegian researchers analyzed the IQ scores of Norwegian men born between 1962 and 1991 and found that scores increased by almost 3 percentage points each decade for those born between 1962 to 1975 — but then saw a steady decline among those born after 1975.
Similar studies in Denmark, Britain, France, the Netherlands, Finland and Estonia have demonstrated a similar downward trend in IQ scores, said Ole Rogeberg, a senior research fellow at the Ragnar Frisch Center for Economic Research in Norway and co-author of the new study.
“The causes in IQ increases over time and now the decline is due to environmental factors,” said Rogeburg, who believes the change is not due to genetics.
“It’s not that dumb people are having more kids than smart people, to put it crudely. It’s something to do with the environment, because we’re seeing the same differences within families,” he said.
These environmental factors could include changes in the education system and media environment, nutrition, reading less and being online more, Rogeberg said.
The earlier rise in IQ scores follows the “Flynn effect,” a term for the long-term increase in intelligence levels that occurred during the 20th century, arguably the result of better access to education, according to Stuart Ritchie, a postdoctoral fellow in cognitive ageing at the University of Edinburgh whose research explores IQ scores and intelligence and who was not involved in the new study.
An intelligence or IQ test.

Researchers have long preferred to use genes to explain variations in intelligence over environmental factors. However, the new study turns this thinking on its head.
Intelligence is heritable, and for a long time, researchers assumed that people with high IQ scores would have kids who also scored above average. Moreover, it was thought that people with lower scores would have more kids than people with high IQ scores, which would contribute to a decline in IQ scores over time and a “dumbing down” of the general population, according to Rogeberg.
Anyone who has seen the film “Idiocracy” might already be familiar with these ideas. In the scientific community, the idea of unintelligent parents having more kids and dumbing-down the population is known as the dysgenic fertility theory, according to Ritchie.
The study looked at the IQ scores of brothers who were born in different years. Researchers found that, instead of being similar as suggested by a genetic explanation, IQ scores often differed significantly between the siblings.
“The main exciting finding isn’t that there was a decline in IQ,” Ritchie said. “The interesting thing about this paper is that they were able to show a difference in IQ scores within the same families.”
The study not only showed IQ variance between children the same parents, but because the authors had the IQ scores of various parents, it demonstrated that parents with higher IQs tended to have more kids, ruling out the dysgenic fertility theory as a driver of falling IQ scores and highlighting the role of environmental factors instead.
What specific environmental factors cause changes in intelligence remains relatively unexplored.
Access to education is currently the most conclusive factor explaining disparities in intelligence, according to Ritchie. In a separate study that has not been released, he and his colleagues looked at existing research in an effort to demonstrate that staying in school longer directly equates to higher IQ scores.
But more research is needed to better understand other environmental factors thought to be linked to intelligence. Robin Morris, a professor of psychology at Kings College in London who was not involved in Ritchie’s research, suggests that traditional measures of intelligence, such as the IQ test, might be outmoded in today’s fast-paced world of constant technological change.
“In my view, we need to recognize that as time changes and people are exposed to different intellectual experiences, such as changes in the use of technology, for example social media, the way intelligence is expressed also changes. Educational methods need to adapt to such changes,” Morris said.

Source: https://edition.cnn.com/2018/06/13/health/falling-iq-scores-study-intl/index.html?fbclid=IwAR09PXY3TrGGkbXX_FiD2wKiBGzkF-hObxiDEcfn8GibONNmfHWVaW3NJqE

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