How to Deal with Loneliness: 40+ Tips to Never Feel Lonely Again

Feeling lonely had nothing to do with being alone. It’s possible to feel lonely even in a crowd. Certain times you end up feeling isolated, and although there are things you should do when you are feeling lonely, the most important thing is not to let loneliness affect your sense of well-being. Know that loneliness…

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People Age Better If They Have a Purpose In Life

Having a purpose in life may help people maintain their function and independence as they age, according to a new study published in JAMA Psychiatry. People in the study who reported having goals and a sense of meaning were less likely to have weak grip strength and slow walking speeds: two signs of declining physical ability and risk factors for disability.

Purposeful living has already been linked to other aspects of wellbeing, like a longer life, lower risk of disease, better sleep and healthier behaviors. But this study is among the first to examine its connection with physical functioning. That’s an important measure, say the authors, especially as the number of senior citizens in the U.S. grows rapidly. Almost 1 in 3 Americans ages 65 and older says they have difficulty walking three city blocks, according to the CDC.

Researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health analyzed data from a long-running national study of adults over 50. In 2006 and again in 2010, people answered survey questions about their health and wellbeing, and also performed tests to measure their grip strength and walking speed.

About 4,500 adults met the criteria for adequately functioning grip strength at the start of the study, and 9.5% of them fell below that threshold over the next four years. For functional walking speed, about 1,500 adults met the criteria initially, but 47% of them slowed down considerably during the follow-up period.

When the researchers compared people’s physical changes over time with their responses to questions about their purpose in life—whether they go about their days aimlessly or have goals for the future, for example—they found a significant link. Those with a higher purpose in life had a 13% decreased risk of developing a weak grip, and a 14% decreased risk of developing a slow walk, than those with a lower sense of purpose.

For some, having high levels of purpose were even associated with an increase in walking speed over time—an effect equivalent to being 2.5 years younger, the study authors write. The link between purpose in life and walking speed remained after researchers further controlled for preexisting health conditions, depression and health behaviors. The association with grip strength did not remain, suggesting that the effects of purposefulness alone may not be as strong.

MORE: Forgiving Other People Is Good for Your Health

“These findings suggest that sense of purpose, a modifiable factor, may play an important role in maintaining physical function among older adults,” the study authors wrote. Other studies have suggested that people can increase their sense of purpose in life by cultivating hobbies and relationships, helping others and practicing mindfulness.

Because the new study was observational, it was only able to show an association between purpose in life and physical function over time, not a cause-and-effect relationship. And while the potential mechanisms for this link are not fully understood, the study authors say there are likely behavioral as well as biological effects at play.

“People with higher purpose are more proactive in taking care of their health, have better impulse control, and engage in healthier activities,” they wrote. Other studies show that people with purpose-driven lives seem to also have physiological advantages over those without, including lower levels of inflammation.

In a commentary accompanying the study, Carol Ryff, director of the Institute on Aging at the University of Wisconsin, writes that these findings should be replicated with more research. But she also points out several strengths of the study, including that the researchers measured function objectively (rather than asking participants to self-report) and that they tested for but found no evidence of reverse causality—meaning that it’s unlikely that physical function influences purposefulness, rather than the other way around.

“Leading a life of purpose not only feels good and meaningful, existentially speaking,” she wrote in her commentary, “it may also be an area of rich potential in which intervention studies and public health education programs might contribute to improved health of our evergrowing aged population.”

Health – TIME

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Texas Passes Law Significantly Limiting Coverage for Abortion Procedures

On Tuesday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law a bill that forbids insurance providers in the state to cover abortion procedures. Women who want coverage for an abortion will have to purchase supplemental plans, if they are available.

The bill, called House Bill 214, prohibits private, state-offered, and Affordable Care Act (ACA) insurance plans in the state of Texas to cover abortion procedures as part of their general coverage. The bill was heavily criticized by abortion rights advocates and Democrats due in part to the fact that the law does not offer exceptions for fetal abnormalities or for women who are victims of rape or incest. Abortions for medical emergencies will still be covered.

Women who want medical coverage for abortion procedures will have to buy supplemental health coverage if their insurers offer such plans.

Critics have dubbed the law, “rape insurance,” since women will have to anticipate their need for an abortion ahead of time. “Women don’t plan to be raped. Parents don’t plan for their children to be victims of incest,” said state Rep. Chris Turner, who wanted an amendment to the bill that would allow coverage for rape or incest. “Asking a woman or a parent to foresee something like that and buy supplemental insurance to cover that horrific possibility is not only ridiculous, it is cruel.”

Supporters of the bill argue it allows people who do not agree with abortion to avoid subsidizing the procedure.

“As a firm believer in Texas values I am proud to sign legislation that ensures no Texan is ever required to pay for a procedure that ends the life of an unborn child,” said Governor Abbott in a statement. “This bill prohibits insurance providers from forcing Texas policy holders to subsidize elective abortions. I am grateful to the Texas legislature for getting this bill to my desk, and working to protect innocent life this special session.”

According to the Guttmacher Institute, 10 states have laws that prohibit private insurance coverage of abortions, which include: Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Utah.

Health – TIME

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How to Get Rid of Diaper Rash Overnight with Only 1 Ingredient

Every parent wants their baby to stay happy and healthy, and in this “pursuit of happiness,” they seek to leave no stone unturned. But, no matter how cautious you are, there a few problems that every parent will have to deal with at some point of time. One of them is diaper rash, medically known…

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You Really Need to Stop Putting Smiley Faces in Work Emails

Smiley faces may seem benign, but typing them in work emails may be doing more harm than good.

In a new study published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel wanted to find out whether including smileys in work emails actually has an effect on the message. “:)” really does make an impression, they found out—but not the friendly feeling an email writer may intend.

Instead, reading a happy face in the text of a work email made people think that the sender was less competent if the same message did not contain the emoticon, the researchers found. Even though smiles communicate warmth and competence in person, a smiley could make the reader less likely to share as much information in their reply.

MORE: The TIME Guide To Happiness

“Our findings provide first-time evidence that, contrary to actual smiles, smileys only marginally increased perceptions of warmth and actually decrease perceptions of competence,” said Ella Glikson, one of the study’s authors and a post-doctorate fellow at the BGU Department of Management, in a press release. “In formal business e-mails, a smiley is not a smile.”

The researchers conducted three experiments with 549 people from 29 countries.

In one experiment, people read an anonymous work email and then evaluated that person based on their competence. Overall, messages without smiley faces led people to believe the sender was more competent than the same emails with added smileys.

Furthermore, when people were asked to respond to the emails, they included more detailed information in their replies when responding to an email without smileys. “Information sharing was significantly lower in the smiley condition than in the control condition,” the study authors write, suggesting that smiley usage in emails could hinder communication in the workplace.

The use of a smiley also had an effect on the perception of gender. The study found that when the sender’s identity was unknown, the participants were more likely to think emails with smiley faces were sent by a woman. (That assumption didn’t affect that person’s perceived levels of warmth or competence, though.)

Glikson advises people not to let smileys ruin their only chance at a first impression. “In initial interactions, it is better to avoid using smileys, regardless of age or gender,” she said.

Health – TIME

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8 Home Remedies for IBS (Immediate Relief)

Bloating, cramps, diarrhea or constipation, and abdominal pain—all these conditions are quite uncomfortable and frustrating on their own. Imagine what a gut-wrenching experience (pun-intended) it would be if all these flared up together and that too for a long period of time. While you may not even want to imagine suffering from this situation, unfortunately,…

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TIME Health – Cancer

Health – TIME

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How to Earn More Respect from Others: 50+ Things You Should Do

It’s simple! To earn more respect from others, you need to learn to give respect first. Although when you hear it, earning respect sounds simple, but putting it into practice becomes complicated. Respect is earned by respecting both yourself and others. Your ability to earn respect can have an impact on your emotional happiness. Gaining…

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Five People Die After Using Weight Loss Balloons for Obesity

Federal officials are warning health providers about weight loss balloon devices after five people died unexpectedly shortly after being treated with them.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a report that since 2016, five people died after using liquid-filled balloon weight loss system intended to treat obesity. In the procedures, patients are mildly sedated as a deflated balloon made of silicone is inserted through the throat and into the stomach, after which it’s filled with saline to take up space in the stomach. The balloon is designed to remain in place for several months. Four of the deaths occurred after patients used the Orbera Intragastric Balloon System, manufactured by Apollo Endo Surgery, and one took place after a patient used the ReShape Integrated Dual Balloon System, which is made by ReShape Medical Inc.

MORE: I Swallowed a Balloon For Weight Loss and Lost 40 Lbs.

In each case, the person who received the weight loss balloon died within a month or less of having the balloon placed. In three cases, the person died one to three days afterward.

“At this time, we do not know the root cause or incidence rate of patient death, nor have we been able to definitively attribute the deaths to the devices or the insertion procedures for these devices,” the FDA writes, adding that it is looking into two other deaths.

The alert from the FDA does not mean that the agency has definitively proven that the balloons caused the deaths, but that they are looking into it. The agency recommends that doctors closely monitor patients who are using these devices.

Health – TIME

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Why Some States Are Raising the Age to Buy Tobacco

Oregon became the fifth state to raise the age for buying tobacco products to 21.

Under a bill signed by Gov. Kate Brown this week, store clerks who sell traditional tobacco products such as cigarettes and cigars as well as those who sell vapes to people under 21 will face fines ranging from $ 50 up to $ 1,000 for multiple offenses.

The state joins neighboring California as well as Hawaii, New Jersey and Maine on the list of those that have recently raised their smoking age to 21, part of a nationwide movement to reduce tobacco use among younger Americans.

Rob Crane, President of Tobacco21, which advocates for raising the smoking age to 21, said that stopping people from trying tobacco early may help prevent addiction down the road. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 90 percent of adult smokers began smoking before the age of 20.

“We are programmed as adolescents to try new things, which is a perfect recipe for dangerous things,” he said.

Advocates argue that raising the age to buy tobacco will help reduce smoking. One study published in the journal Tobacco Control found that after the Boston suburb of Needham raised its sales age to 21, teen smoking was cut in half.

A 2015 Institute of Medicine report found that increasing the minimum legal age for smoking would help stop younger teens from starting because they would not be as likely to be in the same social networks as adults over the age of 21, so it would be harder for them to obtain tobacco. Researchers estimated that if the tobacco sales age was raised to 21 nationwide, it would lead to a 12% decrease in adult smoking by the time today’s teens have grown up.

But not everyone is sold on the idea.

Alex Clark, the Executive Director of the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association, which advocates for users of smoke-free tobacco products including e-cigarettes, argued that raising the smoking age would lead to more “black market activity” as people under the age of 21 seek out alternative sources of tobacco.

Still, at least one vaping company backed the age restrictions.

JUUL Labs, which sells vaporizers, has raised the minimum age to buy its products online to 21. In a statement to TIME, CEO Tyler Goldman emphasized that his company sells products “designed for existing adult smokers to switch.”

Health – TIME

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How to Get Rid of Silverfish: 8 Pesticide-Free Ways

Have you ever noticed holes in your favorite cashmere sweater or the silk blouse that you had carefully stored away in your wardrobe? Have you ever felt the sting of opening a classic edition of your favorite book, only to find it riddled with holes? All these are signs of a silverfish infestation. Silverfish or…

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Around 4 in 5 Americans Want the Effort to Repeal Obamacare to End, Poll Finds

WASHINGTON — Message to President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans: It’s time to make the Obama health care law more effective. Stop trying to scuttle it.

That’s the resounding word from a national poll released Friday by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. The survey was taken following last month’s Senate derailment of the GOP drive to supplant much of President Barack Obama’s statute with a diminished federal role in health care.

Around 4 in 5 want the Trump administration to take actions that help Obama’s law function properly, rather than trying to undermine it. Trump has suggested steps like halting subsidies to insurers who reduce out-of-pockets health costs for millions of consumers. His administration has discussed other moves like curbing outreach programs that persuade people to buy coverage and not enforcing the tax penalty the statute imposes on those who remain uninsured.

Just 3 in 10 want Trump and Republicans to continue their drive to repeal and replace the statute. Most prefer that they instead move to shore up the law’s marketplaces, which are seeing rising premiums and in some areas few insurers willing to sell policies.

Ominously for the GOP, 6 in 10 say Trump and congressional Republicans are responsible for any upcoming health care problems since they control government. That could be a bad sign for Republicans as they prepare to defend their House and Senate majorities in the 2018 elections.

And by nearly 2-to-1, most say it’s good that the Senate rejected the GOP repeal-and-replace bill last month.

Trump has been publicly browbeating Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to continue trying to pass legislation tearing down Obama’s 2010 overhaul. After using Twitter to blame McConnell for last month’s Senate failure despite years of GOP vows to repeal it, Trump suggested Thursday that McConnell should perhaps step aside if he can’t push that and other legislation through his chamber.

On three separate attempts in late July, McConnell fell short of the 50 GOP votes he needed to pass legislation scrapping Obama’s law. With a 52-48 GOP majority and Vice President Mike Pence available to cast a tie-breaking vote, McConnell has said he’s moving onto other matters unless “people can show me 50 votes for anything that would make progress.”

With the Kaiser survey consistently showing clear overall public support for retaining Obama’s law, the numbers help explain why some centrist Republicans who rely on moderate voters’ support opposed repeal or backed it only after winning some concessions.

Strikingly, while large majorities of Democrats and independents back efforts to sustain the statute, even Republicans and Trump supporters lean toward saying the administration should try making the law work, not take steps to hinder it.

But in other instances, Republicans and Trump supporters part company with Democrats and independents and strongly back the president’s views. For a White House that often seems more concerned with cementing support from Trump’s loyalists than embracing the political center, that might help explain Trump’s persistence on the issue.

For example, 6 in 10 Republicans and Trump backers want the GOP to continue its repeal and replace drive in Congress.

And around two-thirds from those groups want Trump to stop enforcing the tax penalty Obama’s law levies on people who don’t buy coverage. Analysts say that would roil insurance markets because fewer healthy people would buy policies, leaving them with greater proportions of expensive, seriously ill customers.

Trump has frequently tried pressuring Democrats to negotiate on health care by threatening to halt federal subsidies to insurers. While around 6 in 10 overall say Trump should not use such disruptive tactics, a majority of Republicans back that approach.

The companies use the money to trim out-of-pocket costs for deductibles and copayments for around 7 million low- and middle-income people. Since insurers are legally required to reduce those costs, they say blocking the subsidies would force them to increase premiums for millions who buy private insurance, including those whose expenses aren’t being reduced.

The poll found that 52 percent have a positive view of Obama’s law, a 9 percentage point increase since Trump was elected last November.

The Kaiser Health Tracking Poll was conducted Aug. 1-6 and involved random calls to the cell phones and landlines of 1,211 adults. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3 percentage points.


Health – TIME

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How to Use Hydrogen Peroxide for Skin, Teeth, Hair and Ears

What if someone told you that little brown bottle of first-aid water under your bathroom sink could lighten your hair as well! Well yes, hydrogen peroxide or the first-aid water (as it is ideally known) could do a lot more than just fizz up and disinfect a wound! If you’ve ever had your hair dyed in…

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Don’t Have Time to Exercise? Do This for 10 Minutes

In the fitness world, the word “miracle” gets thrown around like a two-pound dumbbell. But when it comes to high-intensity interval training (HIIT), a very short workout, the benefits you’ve heard about are both legitimate and—we’ll say it—miraculous.

HIIT is a combination of brief, very-high intensity bursts of cardio exercise followed by equal or longer periods of rest. Think 30 seconds to a minute of sprinting, followed by a minute or two of walking or slow jogging. Repeat this cycle for just 10 minutes, and you’ll complete a HIIT workout.

“We now have more than 10 years of data showing HIIT yields pretty much the exact same health and fitness benefits as long-term aerobic exercise, and in some groups or populations, it works better than traditional aerobic exercise,” says Todd Astorino, a professor of kinesiology at California State University, San Marcos, who has published more than a dozen study papers on HIIT.

Whether your goal is to improve your fitness, lower your risk for cardiovascular disease, lose weight, strengthen skeletal muscle or help get your blood sugar under control, a few minutes of HIIT seem to be as effective as much longer periods of moderate-paced running, cycling, swimming or other forms of traditional cardio. For well-trained athletes, HIIT may be the best way to elevate your physical performance.

MORE: The TIME Guide To Exercise

One small study of healthy but sedentary people found just one minute total of HIIT performed three days a week for six weeks was enough to significantly improve blood sugar scores and aerobic capacity, a measure of physical fitness. The study participants completed 10- to 20-second bouts of “all-out” cycling on a stationary bike, each broken up by a couple minutes of rest. The total workout time, start to finish, was 10 minutes.

Other research finds that HIIT may outperform traditional cardio when it comes to fat loss. A HIIT-induced surge in your body’s levels of growth hormones and other organic compounds “can increase fat burning and energy expenditure for hours after exercise,” says study author Stephen Boutcher, an associate professor of medical sciences at the University of New South Wales in Australia.

It doesn’t just work for the young, fit and healthy. Among people with heart disease, HIIT improves cardiorespiratory fitness nearly twice as much as longer stretches of moderate-intensity running, cycling or other aerobic exercises, one review study concluded.

MORE: Why You Don’t Have to Exercise Every Day

How can HIIT do so much good in so little time? During very intense exercise, “the heart cannot pump enough blood to satisfy all the muscles,” says Ulrik Wisløff, a HIIT researcher and head of the cardiac exercise research group at the Norwegian School of Science and Technology. This lacking oxygen delivery to the muscles starts a “cascade of molecular responses in most organs of the body” that produces a greater training response than more leisurely bouts of exercise, he says.

Exercise of any intensity switches on genes that increase the growth of mitochondria—the power generators of the cells—and triggers all of the other beneficial biological changes linked with physical fitness, says Astorino. “But to activate these genes with traditional cardiovascular exercises, you have to do fairly large or long bouts,” he says. With HIIT, it appears that even very short bouts of training can switch on those genes, so it’s an efficient workout.

HIIT can work for a wide range of people. But how you should practice it depends on your fitness level.

The key to HIIT is pushing your heart rate up above 80% of its maximum, Astorino says. “Subtract your age from 220 to estimate your maximal heart rate,” he says. (A heart rate monitor can provide an accurate assessment. But if you’re really sucking wind after pushing yourself, you’ve probably hit your target, Astorino says.)

MORE: 7 Surprising Benefits Of Exercise

If you’re fit, try sprint interval training. After walking or slow jogging for a few minutes to warm up, sprint as hard as you can for 30 seconds, then recover for four minutes by walking or jogging slowly. Complete four to six sets of this sprinting-recovery program. (For an even faster version, keep the warmup, then complete three sets of 20-second sprints, each separated by two minutes of recovery, Astorino says.)

If you’re overweight or obese and you haven’t exercised in months, sprinting isn’t necessary (or safe for your joints). Instead, 30 seconds to four minutes of brisk walking on an inclined treadmill or hill should be enough to push your heart rate up into the HIIT zone, Astorino says.

You can also practice these programs with a stationary bike, rowing machine or in the pool. Any form of cardio can push your heart into the HIIT zone, Wisløff says. (This fact sheet from the American College of Sports Medicine offers more in-depth details on how to design a HIIT program.)

And yes, HIIT is safe. Wisløff and colleagues analyzed nearly 50,000 hours of HIIT data collected from cardiovascular disease patients in Norway. In seven years of data, he turned up just two instances of (non-fatal) cardiac arrest.

He says people with unstable angina or serious heart issues should speak with their doctor first. But, in general, “it’s much more dangerous not to perform HIIT than to perform it,” he says.

Health – TIME

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You Asked: How Many Calories Does Sex Burn?

Of all the ways a person could sweat, a roll in the hay is one of the most fun. But does sex actually burn a good number of calories?

Not as many as you think—but you can up your burn by doing it a certain way.

One study found that sex burned more than 100 calories, at least for men. A team from the University of Montreal compared the calorie expenditure of running to that of sex and found that—no surprise—running far outpaced the latter. Women burned an average of 213 calories during 30 minutes of light running, while men burned 276. Sex, on the other hand, demanded 101 calories from men and just 69 from women, burning an average of 3.6 calories per minute.

Why was sex a better workout for the guys? “Men weigh more than women, and because of this, the energy expenditure will be higher in men for the same exercise performed,” says study author Antony Karelis, a professor of human kinetics at the University of Montreal. Men may also be more physically active during sex, he says.

Even though sex is not the world’s best workout, it would still be nice if you could count on scorching 70 to 100 calories whenever you and your partner hopped in the sack. But you can’t always depend on it.

MORE: Here’s How Much Sex You Should Have Every Week

Sex sessions in that study typically lasted 25 minutes including foreplay, which is far longer than average. One study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the average bout of sex lasts just six minutes (although that number did not include foreplay).

The bedmates in the study, who were 23 years old on average, may also have been having more vigorous sex than the typical person. A study in American Journal of Cardiology found that the pre-orgasmic stage of sex—which, let’s face it, is most of it—requires barely more energy than you’d get walking. Especially among older couples in long-term relationships, sex is unlikely to crank your heart rate or energy output.

However, you can hack your sex life. The number of calories burned during sex varies widely from one session to another, Karelis says, so if you’re sweating and breathing hard at the end of it, you’ve probably burned more. Positions also matter: Research suggests that being on top requires more energy than being on the bottom.

Though we’re not suggesting it, sex with a forbidden mate may also increase your calorie burn. One study in the European Heart Journal found that 75% of sudden deaths from a heart attack during sex involved an extramarital partner. Exciting sex seems to crank your heart rate more than a run-of-the-mill romp, and so may provide a better workout.

But even if your sex life doesn’t burn a ton of calories, it’s still great for you. Regular sex is linked with lower rates of some cancers, as well as improved mental health and mood. Because it sends relaxing, feel-good chemicals through your system, sex also promotes sleep.

Those should be all the reasons you need to get it on more often. You can always go for a run afterwards.

Health – TIME

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