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Evidence that Love Does Conquer Fear

Remembering that you’re loved can reduce your brain’s threat response.

Everyone faces stressful times, but new research shows one way to mentally fortify yourself beforehand. Researchers found that if subjects are shown brief images of people receiving love and support just prior to seeing threatening images, the brain`s threat monitor (the amygdala) doesn`t fire. The love reminder helps shield and restore nerves during stress, particularly for anxious people.

PositiveTip: For peak mental health, meditate on the love of others and remember that God’s “perfect love casts out fear”.

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The Health Benefits of Walking Groups

Group walking can boost health by reducing BP, body fat, and cholesterol.

Are you having trouble sticking to a regular program of physical activity? Researchers in the U.K. found that a walking group may provide you the support you need, along with lower blood pressure, lower resting heart rate, lower body fat, and lower cholesterol. This meta-analysis of 42 studies demonstrated the dramatic improvement in health walking groups bring--with almost no adverse effects. The walking ranged from low to high intensity.

PositiveTip: Gather friends and neighbors together and walk for better health!

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Powdered Alcohol?

Would snorting Palcohol make you drunk?

Have you heard of Palcohol? State lawmakers are hoping to prohibit this unapproved powdered alcohol product from being sold in stores. Each single-serving pouch dissolves in water and contains the amount of alcohol found in a single shot of liquor. It is purported to come in vodka, rum and a variety of mix-drink flavors. The manufacturer, Lipsmark, has touted it as a new way to get drunk.

PositiveTip: Your help is needed to stop powdered alcohol products from becoming legal. Let your state legislators know your objections.

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Sleep Can Improve ADHD Symptoms

A behavioral sleep management plan may improve ADHD symptoms.

A randomized Australian trial of 250 children with ADHD, most taking stimulants, and all experiencing moderate-to-severe sleep problems found a behavioral sleep intervention program resulted in significantly better improvements in parent-reported ADHD symptoms than the usual care group. Sleep problems, behavior, memory, and quality of life were all improved. Families were educated on normal sleep, sleep cycles, and sleep hygiene; then given a behavioral sleep plan.

PositiveTip: Just 10 minutes longer sleep per day can make a big difference in the ADHD child and the family.

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Intense Sitting is Unhealthy

Long periods of daily sedentary behavior subtracts from the benefits of physical activity.

Think your morning exercise routine will counteract all the sitting you do each day? Think again! A large meta-analysis of 47 studies found increased sedentary time was associated with significantly increased risk for all-cause mortality, cardiovascular and cancer mortality--independent of regular exercise. Cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes incidence was higher also. Increasing exercise blunted, but did not eliminate, these excess risks. 

PositiveTip: One hour of physical activity per day is not an excuse to sit the rest of the day!

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Moderate Exercise Yields Big Time Benefits

Just 6 miles of slow running per week yielded huge benefits.

Healthy, low-risk people derive tremendous benefits from moderate physical activity. A study of 13,000 runners found those in the lowest quintile (fewer than 6 miles or less than 52 minutes per week) experienced the greatest reductions in total mortality (30% less) and cardiovascular mortality (45% less). It did not have to be fast: a few miles at a moderate to slow pace yielded maximal benefits!

PositiveTip: The best exercise is the one you will do regularly! Just do something: walking, moderate running, swimming.

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Lifestyle Matters!

Forty years of lifestyle changes in communities reduce morbidity and mortality.

A 40 year community-based effort in a rural Maine (U.S.) county to help residents control elevated blood pressure and cholesterol, stop smoking, eat healthfully, and exercise more appears to have yielded significant benefits. Compared with other counties in the same state, Franklin's residents have lower mortality rates and fewer hospitalizations resulting in savings of $5.4 million in hospital charges annually after adjusting for income.

PositiveTip: Simple, positive lifestyle changes yield big benefits over time!

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Energy Drink Use and Risk of Alcohol Abuse in Youth

Youth who recently consumed energy drinks are at higher risk for binge drinking.

Consuming energy drinks within the past 7 days significantly increased the risk of youth who have ever used alcohol to mix energy drinks and alcohol (27% vs. 7%). In the same national survey, youth 15 to 17 years old who had consumed energy drinks in the past 7 days were more than 2 times as likely (34% vs. 15%) to binge drink (consume 6 or more drinks in a row).

PositiveTip: Avoiding all energy drinks is best policy for youth (and adults)!

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How to Avoid Bad Health Advice Online

The worst weight-loss websites often appear on the first search page.

Health news researchers rated the weight loss advice on 103 websites according to evidence-based criteria. Health blogs, government, medical and academic websites had the highest quality information while 80% of websites were below average. Unfortunately, 90% of all clicks usually originate on the first page of search results, which is where websites with poor information and unrealistic weight loss claims were most likely to appear.

PositiveTip: Read internet health advice critically, check the sources and skim (or skip) the first page of search results.

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Fit and Fat or Fit and Lean?

Healthy obese people were 8x more likely than the nonobese to become unhealthy in 20 years.

Almost 32% of obese adults who did not have multiple metabolic risk factors at baseline had developed them in 5 years time. The percentage rose to 40.9% in 10 years, and 51.5% after 20 years. This data was gathered from the long-running Whitehall II study in Britain. Only one in 10 of these people lost enough weight over 20 years to become healthy nonobese people.

PositiveTip: Healthy lifestyles almost always result in both relative leanness and fitness.