‘I don’t want to go back to normal’: As pandemic fades, some find anxiety grows

‘I don’t want to go back to normal’: As pandemic fades, some find anxiety grows

Before the pandemic, Kelsey Darragh, a filmmaker and comedian in Los Angeles, dedicated an hour each morning to showering, applying makeup, doing her hair and finding the right outfit.

Now, she just rolls out of bed and puts on something comfortable.

“Having that brain space back in the morning has been so soothing,” the 30-year-old told TMRW.

After a year spent at home, there is finally an end in sight to the COVID-19 pandemic. But for some, the light at the end of the tunnel feels less like a cause for celebration and more like the root cause of growing anxiety. Will we remember how to make small talk? What will it feel like to gather in a crowded bar again? How does one return to business casual after so many months of wearing sweats?

On social media, a chorus of voices has emerged, all sharing similar fears related to the looming end of an unarguably tragic time: “I don’t want to go back to normal,” many people have written on Twitter. It’s a sentiment that previously would have been unthinkable. Who wouldn’t want all this to end? But for some — the lucky ones, in many aspects — the past year has been one spent at home, working remotely, enjoying the closeness of children and partners and having a reason to say “no” to, well, just about everything else.

Anyone else experiencing re-entry anxiety at the thought of things going back to “normal”? 😬

— Kirsten Imani Kasai (@KirstenIKasai)

The idea of the pandemic ending is giving me anxiety.

— Julia Corral (@themexinpdx)

I will not miss the #pandemic though the damn virus will be with us for a long time. I will miss the time with my wife and cats seeing them all day has been awesome! I don’t want to go back to normal in so many levels.

— YA25420 (@ya25420)

“As horrible and tragic as this past year has been, I do believe it was a much-needed reset for so many people,” said Darragh, who suffers from anxiety and wrote a book about mental health during the pandemic called “Don’t F—ing Panic.” “We got to just be gentle with ourselves.”

For Darragh and others, it’s not that they don’t want the virus to go away (they very much do), it’s simply that they’ve gotten comfortable. And just as they’re starting to get used to this new way of living, it’s all going to change again.

Experts say their concerns aren’t trivial.

“This is a global example of what’s called re-entry after trauma,” said Deborah Serani, a psychologist and professor at Adelphi University in Garden City, New York. “The pandemic is a traumatic event.”

And as with any trauma, that re-entry will have to happen slowly.

“It becomes a very anxiety-producing moment in the life of a survivor, when they return to normal,” Serani said. “Except now, with the pandemic, we’re all doing that.”

Experts are particularly concerned about people who have existing mental health struggles.

“We’re worried about those who may have been on the cusp of an anxiety disorder and the pandemic made it worse,” said Serani, author of the children’s book, “Sometimes When I’m Sad.” “If, after a couple of weeks back at work, you find it very anxiety-producing to talk to others, to interact with others, your heart is beating, you’re feeling hot and sweaty or extremely panicked, there may be something more, and it’s a traumatic reaction to the pandemic.”

Much of the anxiety people are expressing has less to do with the virus directly — though those fears exist, too — than with socialization. Some have begun to dread larger gatherings, such as work conferences or weddings. Others wonder if they’ve simply forgotten how to interact with people.

“We’ve become a society that is no longer socialized,” said DeAnna Crosby, a therapist and clinical director of New Method Wellness, a treatment center in San Juan Capistrano, California. “We were so used to communicating with others and socializing appropriately. Because we have been in isolation for over a year, we’ve forgotten many of our social skills.”

This content was originally published here.

87 per cent of musicians say their mental health has deteriorated during lockdown – News – Mixmag

87 per cent of musicians say their mental health has deteriorated during lockdown - News - Mixmag

87 per cent of musicians say their mental health has deteriorated during lockdown.

The finding is from a new report by Help Musicians. The charity surveyed 700 musicians at the start of this year to find out how the pandemic and the lockdown has affected them.

Help Musicians has recorded a 65 per cent increase in requests for mental health support in the last three months.

The charity is calling the findings a “hidden crisis among musicians” with the impact of the lockdown on the music industry and uncertainty around the future a major contribution to mental health issues.

96 per cent of musicians said they are worried about their finances while 7 out of 10 said they were unconfident they’d be able to cope financially over the next 6 months. 91 per cent highlighted a lack of certainty about what the future holds.

Over half of the musicians surveyed are no longer making money from music, 56 per cent are relying on Universal Credit and a quarter said they’re thinking of leaving the music industry for good.

Help Musicians Chief Executive James Ainscough said: “We can’t sugar coat these findings – we are facing a mental health crisis amongst musicians on an unprecedented scale. Whilst there may be light at the end of the tunnel with a roadmap out of lockdown revealed, there is still substantial uncertainty around how quickly the music industry can recover, plus the catastrophic impact of the Brexit deal on musicians’ ability to tour. After a year of hardship, the ongoing uncertainty for musicians is taking a huge toll on mental health.”

Help Musicians has recently expanded its mental health support. For more information click here.

This content was originally published here.

Roman Kemp: I’ve been on antidepressants for 13 years – it’s time men discussed mental health

Roman Kemp: I’ve been on antidepressants for 13 years – it’s time men discussed mental health

Roman Kemp is many things: breakfast radio DJ, television presenter, pin-up of Gen Z and son of the former pop stars Martin Kemp and Shirlie Holliman.

At 28, he has carved out a successful TV career, beating stars like Ian Wright and Caitlyn Jenner to be a runner-up on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! and twice hosting London’s New Year’s Eve celebrations.

By anyone’s standards, including his own, he is living the dream. But behind closed doors Kemp has been battling depression for 13 years.

It is a situation that many men face but don’t discuss. In 2019, 4,017 men ended their lives by suicide; the highest number for two decades and the biggest killer of men under 45.

Last year, this hit home, when his radio producer and best friend – Kemp calls him his “brother” – Joe Lyons, was found dead while Kemp was live on air. The shock has moved him to speak out in a new BBC documentary, Our Silent Emergency.

“Since I’ve been 15 I’ve been on my own mental health journey, which starts with being on antidepressants, and moving through staying on antidepressants into my adult life,” Kemp reveals, speaking via Zoom from his home in central London.

“I wasn’t ever ashamed of it with my friends,” Kemp says, “but from a public point of view, did I want the general public to know I was taking antidepressants the whole time? No, because they’d just say, ‘oh, you’re a celebrity kid’.”

He has had many obvious advantages in life: loving parents, numerous friends, good looks and an expensive private education. But as a teenager things took a dark turn, and his worried mother – one half of the former Wham! backing singers Pepsi & Shirlie – forced him to open up to doctors about his private anguish.

His mother’s side of the family has a long history of depression, stemming from a chemical imbalance. It is something that Kemp has inherited.

Each morning he wakes up at 5.15am, takes a vitamin D tablet and sertraline, the antidepressant, then makes the short journey to Capital Radio’s studios in Leicester Square, before millions of people tune in to hear him joke and jostle with some of music’s biggest stars.

“I’d go to work, I’d enjoy my life, I’d be happy, but then I come home, one thing triggers you, and all of a sudden you’re in this different head space, and that’s where it becomes dangerous.”

Without the pills he is “thrown into a dark place”, he says. “

At those moments you do enter that horrendous place in your head, whereby the smallest little problem because the biggest worry on this planet and completely engulfs you. It’s like going up against a horrendous fighter in your head who is just beating you up, and you can’t stop that.”

Kemp has none of the guardedness or self-aggrandising typical of most celebrities, let alone the children of celebrities.

That’s why he wants to use the documentary to tell his story in full – including his darkest episode 18 months ago.

Tears are streaming down his face, he talks of that day. “All these pressures just came on top of me. I remember being in the bedroom, not knowing what to do, and the only thing I could do was going to the floor, on my knees, with my hands around my head, and just crying. I remember saying to myself, ‘What’s the point? Why am I carrying on?’”

The news of Lyons’ death a year after Kemp’s lowest point left him “absolutely destroyed”. “My heart was ripped out of me, complete numbness,” he says.

The reality of grieving caught him off-guard and Kemp admits he “felt so angry that he never spoke to me”. “It was hard for me to drop that anger, because every time I would get upset I would think about, ‘How could you leave me? How could you leave us? Your parents and everyone?’”

Out of that confusion was the idea for the documentary, which has been “his therapy”. Kemp covers many aspects of this national crisis: young men bereaved by losing friends, as he has, a man who says a puppy gave him cause to live again, and the gut-wrenching scene of admitting to his own mum how he intended to kill himself less than two years ago.

But nothing hits home more about the need for this documentary – and for youth culture figures such as Kemp to speak out – than his night spent with a specialist mental health emergency service convened in Nottingham.

While he’s there, a 16-year-old boy rings the helpline saying he “wants to die”. A man talks to the boy on the phone in the hope of helping. His colleague, herself a young woman, gets another call. “There’s a suicide risk for a 13-year-old coming in,” she says. “There are definitely more younger people coming through who are struggling at the moment. Thirteen is very young. The youngest we have had is 11, who made an attempt.”

Like the rest of us, Kemp is stunned. More people have experienced a mental health crisis during the Covid pandemic than ever recorded before, with teenage suicides spiking.

“This documentary, if anything, proves to me that mental health issues, or anything of the like, doesn’t wear a uniform,” Kemp says, recalling being oblivious to his own best friend’s struggle. “Just start asking if your mates are OK – really OK. You never know.”

‘Roman Kemp: Our Silent Emergency’ will be on BBC Three on Tuesday and at 9pm on BBC One

To contact Samaritans, call 116 123 or visit samaritans.org

This content was originally published here.

Emotional Responses to ADHD Behaviors are Counterproductive

Emotional Responses to ADHD Behaviors are Counterproductive

Kids with ADHD are often viewed as having behavior problems, in part, because parents and professionals have difficulty parsing out executive functioning, social learning, emotional regulation challenges, and behavior issues. Delayed executive function skills in the areas of emotional regulation, cognitive flexibility, and impulse control often present as behavioral in nature — they appear intentional when they are not.

“Behaviors” are words or actions used to elicit attention or an emotional reaction in others, typically parents. Because of the amount of negative attention that most kids with ADHD receive, many learn that exhibiting negative behaviors elicits undivided attention and emotional behavior from their parents. Kids with ADHD tend to live in intense emotions, so that emotional reactivity is affirming for them.

When kids with ADHD do things impulsively without thinking, there is often no reason behind their behaviors. Telling them to ‘think before they act’ is not helpful because you are asking them to do something that is incongruent with their brain development and ability to use their self-direct talk. These are all aspects of executive functioning.

Keep in mind that kids with ADHD live in strong emotions; getting emotional reactivity from their family members is like pulling those family members into their world of strong emotions. Kids with ADHD prefer positive attention, but they’ll take negative attention if it is all they can get. And kids with ADHD often demand more attention in general than do other kids, so they need a different parenting approach than do their siblings.

This is never about blame or fault. You haven’t done anything wrong; it’s just about taking a different approach.

The most concise and meaningful piece of advice I can share is this: Stop giving attention and emotional reactivity to unwanted behaviors. This does not mean to simply ignore, though sometimes it may. But rather it means learning how to use affective calmness, meaning you don’t respond to negative words or behaviors with emotional reactivity but rather you show a calmness even if you don’t feel calm inside.

The term I use for this with kids is emotional compression. How ever you feel is fine, but you can’t always show how you feel. This applies to parents as well.

Finally, if you are dealing with emotional challenges at home and ADHD medication was recommended as part of treatment, but your child is not medicated, you are most likely not going to see any improvement even when implementing strategies. Furthermore, the long-term outcomes for people with ADHD who go unmedicated are not good.

However, when you learn how to respond to your child’s behaviors differently, you can cultivate positive behavioral changes at home and make life less stressful.

WATCH THE FULL VIDEOS BELOW

Ryan Wexelblatt, LCSW is the facilitator of the ADHD Dude Facebook Group and YouTube channel.


Updated on March 18, 2021

This content was originally published here.

It might seem crazy – The pandemic has changed the shape of global happiness | International | The Economist

It might seem crazy - The pandemic has changed the shape of global happiness | International | The Economist

THE COVID-19 pandemic has done nothing good for the mood of Park Ha-young, an undergraduate at Seoul National University. She spent much of last year worrying about the disease, and her chances of spreading it: “I was terrified of becoming the person to cause a huge outbreak.” Her freedom has been drastically curtailed. The government determines whether she can see friends or attend classes, leaving her frustrated and unable to make plans. She is beginning to worry about finding a job after she graduates.

Politicians and officials frequently talk about how covid-19 affects public health and the economy. But for most people those are abstract considerations. What they experience each day are moods—the sense of being anxious and sad, or, if they are lucky, cheerful and optimistic. To mark World Happiness Day on March 20th, researchers linked to the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network have tried to pin down these moods and examine how the pandemic has changed them.

Gallup, a pollster, asks the same questions in scores of countries. The most revealing one tells people to imagine a ladder, with steps numbered nought to ten. The top rung represents the best life you could have, the bottom rung represents the worst. What rung are you on now?

People’s responses to that question, known as a Cantril ladder, suggest (rather surprisingly) that the world was about as happy in the teeth of an awful pandemic as it was before the coronavirus struck. The average score across 95 countries, not population-weighted, crept up insignificantly from 5.81 in 2017-19 to 5.85 in 2020. But the pattern of life satisfaction has changed. Covid-19 has made old people more cheerful. A few countries have had some of the happiness squeezed out of them; others have amassed more of it.

Covid-19 threatens the old far more than the young, with the risk of death after contracting the disease doubling for every eight years of life. Yet the old have cheered up. Globally, between 2017-19 and 2020 happiness was boosted by 0.22 points on the Cantril ladder among people over the age of 60. Celina Beatriz Gazeti dos Santos, a 64-year-old psychologist in São Paulo, ticks off a list of things that might dampen her mood—the pandemic, widespread corruption, a dislikeable government, others’ misery. Yet she proclaims herself increasingly happy and optimistic all the same.

In Britain, a country with excellent happiness data, everyone has slipped, but some more than others (see chart 1). There, and in other rich countries, the age profile of happiness before the pandemic struck was roughly U-shaped when plotted on a graph. People began their adult lives in a cheerful state. They became glummer in middle age. Then, after about the age of 50, they started to became happier again. If they made it to a very advanced age, however, they fell back into the doldrums.

Today the pattern is an upward slope. The young are less satisfied than the middle-aged, who are less satisfied than the old. That might be put down to Britain’s vaccination programme, which has targeted the old first. But the pattern has barely changed over the past year. Months before Britons became familiar with what some call “the Pfizer” and “the AstraZeneca”, something had shifted.

Video-conferencing software has enabled many old people to stay in touch with their families—sometimes better than before the pandemic. In countries that locked down, they have the pleasure of knowing that society made sacrifices to protect them. And as John Helliwell, an economist at the University of British Columbia who wrote part of the World Happiness Report points out, the old feel healthier. Globally, 36% of men over the age of 60 said they had a health problem last year, down from an average of 46% in the three years before. Among women, the share with health problems fell from 51% to 42%. Old people probably are not actually healthier. Rather, covid-19 has changed the yardstick. They feel healthier because they have dodged a disease that could kill them.

Meanwhile the young have had a rough year. Many lost their jobs—in America the unemployment rate for people aged 20 to 24 shot up from 6.3% in February 2020 to 25.6% two months later (it fell back to 9.6% last month). In some rich countries young women have had a particularly hard time. They often work in sectors, such as hospitality, which have been shut down. When schools close, many are lumbered with more than their fair share of child care.

They also have busy social lives. Having lots of friends seems, counter-intuitively, to have made the pandemic harder. One study of Britain by Ben Etheridge and Lisa Spantig, both at the University of Essex, found that women with at least four close friends slumped more than anyone during the spring 2020 lockdown. “People who are used to seeing lots of friends really suffered—and women and younger people have more friends,” says Xiaowei Xu of the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Some countries have fared better than others (see chart 2). Whereas Britons’ happiness slumped in 2020, Germany rose from being the 15th happiest country in the world to the seventh happiest. Britain has endured long lockdowns and an excess-death rate of 190 per 100,000 people since the start of the pandemic. Germany’s excess-death rate is just 77 per 100,000. For most of last year Germany fought covid-19 much better than most of Europe, although it has gone on to fluff the vaccination endgame—leading Bild, a tabloid newspaper, to declare in February: “Liebe Briten, we beneiden you” (dear Britain, we envy you).

Strikingly, the countries that were at the top of the happiness chart before the pandemic remain there. The three highest-ranking countries in 2020—Finland, Iceland and Denmark—were among the top four in 2017-19. All three have dealt well with covid-19, and have excess-death rates below 21 per 100,000. Iceland has a negative rate. It helps to be a remote island.

The most intriguing suggestion in the World Happiness Report is that some links between covid-19 and happiness operate in both directions. The authors do not suggest that happiness helps countries resist covid-19. Rather, they argue that one of the things that sustains national happiness also makes places better at dealing with pandemics. That thing is trust. Polls by Gallup show that many of the places that have coped best with covid-19, such as the Nordic countries and New Zealand, have widespread faith in institutions and strangers. Large majorities of their inhabitants believe that a neighbour would return a wallet if they found it.

Countries have failed to see off covid-19 for many obvious reasons. Some are poor; others are poorly led. They lack recent experience with diseases such as SARS. They cannot police their borders. But Jeffrey Sachs, an economist at Columbia University, suggests another reason: politicians and officials in many rich European and American countries decided they could not ask too much of the public. A combination of individualism and less-than-solid institutional trust meant they felt unable to insist on quarantines or mask-wearing until the situation grew desperate.

People who don’t need people

If that is right, it might help explain a broad regional change: the falling happiness of Latin America and the rising happiness of East Asia. Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico all became less happy in 2020; China, Japan and Taiwan became happier, although South Korea slipped a bit. It is as though Latin American countries had the wrong kind of happiness before 2020, says Mr Helliwell—a happiness sustained by people’s close social connections, not by high levels of social trust. A global poll in 2019 found that only 52% of people in Latin America and the Caribbean thought a neighbour would return a wallet; just 41% thought a cop would. That is the lowest share of any region.

The pervasive lack of trust made it harder for Latin American countries to tackle covid-19 in a comprehensive way. People can and do keep their distance from each other, but that is emotionally tough in countries where people are normally so sociable. Mexicans have been deprived of their leisurely Friday lunches and Sunday family gatherings (though some carry on anyway). “The pandemic has changed a lot,” laments Edmilson de Souza Santos, a builder in Barueri, a São Paulo suburb. “You have to stop living your life.”

There remains a big national puzzle. America responded poorly to covid-19 and has suffered more than 500,000 excess deaths. Yet the Gallup poll detects a slight rise in Americans’ happiness level in 2020. A panel survey by the University of Southern California shows that mental stress and anxiety shot up in America last March and April, but then subsided. Two subsequent waves of infection and death appeared not to disturb them further.

Many American states have had rather lackadaisical lockdowns, at least for adults—for schoolchildren restrictions can seem unbending. That could have kept people’s spirits up. Abi Adams-Prassl of Oxford University and other researchers found that the first wave of lockdowns, last spring, lowered women’s moods. It could also be that extreme partisanship helps. Many Americans have spent the past year in an alternate information universe in which covid-19 is just like flu. It is hard to get too worked up about fake news.

This article appeared in the International section of the print edition under the headline “It might seem crazy”

This content was originally published here.

Can You Pass This Nutrition Quiz? | The Beachbody Blog

Can You Pass This Nutrition Quiz? | The Beachbody Blog

Everywhere you look, people are talking about macros and amino acids and omegas and [insert nutrition term that you think you kind of know, but maybe not?]

You’ve got the big trends nailed down: You’ve ditched the diet soda for water and swapped in whole-wheat bread for white; you know that eating the whole egg is “in” (again), and that fat is no longer the enemy.

But the devil is in the details, so we devised this quiz to help you build a solid foundation of the basics.

(Pssst… the answers are at the bottom — no cheating!)

If you want to dig even deeper, the Ultimate Portion Fix nutrition program can help you understand proper portion control and how to fuel your body with healthy, whole foods. Learn more about the program here.

1. Which of the following are macronutrients?

A. Carbohydrates, fats, protein

B. Carbohydrates, protein, minerals

C. Carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins

A. Foods that contain all 20 amino acids

B. Foods that contain all the vitamins and minerals your body needs

C. Foods that contain equal parts vitamins and minerals

D. Foods that contain the nine “essential” amino acids your body can’t produce

A. Starches found in bread and potatoes

B. Proteins found in wheat, barley, and rye and foods such as wheat pasta, beer, and soy sauce

C. Sugars found in candy and desserts

D. Fiber found in whole-grain breads and fruits, veggies, and beans

C. Steel-cut oats and brown rice

D. All of the above

A. 8-12 grams

D. All of the above

A. Eating only organic foods.

B. Eating foods that have been cleaned of all pesticides.

C. Eating fruits and vegetables, and fewer processed foods.

D. Eating only fruits and vegetables.

C. As many as can fit in your hand

D. Depends on the nut

A. Omega-3 fatty acids and omega-2 fatty acids

B. Omega-6 fatty acids and omega-7 fatty acids

C. Omega-9 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids

D. Omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids

B. Monounsaturated fatty acids

C. Malted unpasteurized fatty amino acids

D. Multi-saturated fatty amino acids

1. (A) Carbohydrates, fat, and protein.

These are the key nutrients that our bodies need in large amounts. (Macro=large. Get it?) It’s important to have a balance of macros every day to stay healthy and in shape.

Daily intake of 40 percent carbs, 30 percent protein, and 30 percent fats is generally considered a good place to start, but those percentages can vary depending on your nutrition and fitness goals.

2. (D) Foods that contain the nine essential amino acids your body can’t produce.

Amino acids are the body’s “building blocks.” Protein is made out of amino acids; when you digest protein, those amino acids are then used in a number of important body processes.

There are hundreds of amino acids, but your body is only concerned with 20. Nine are essential: We can’t produce them, so they have to come from a food source.

Five are non-essential: We can make these from the essential amino acids. Six are conditional: We don’t need to eat these except in times of severe illness or physical stress.

3. (B) Proteins found in wheat, barley, and rye and foods such as wheat pasta, beer, and soy sauce.

Going gluten-free may be trendy, but for people with celiac disease, or gluten allergy, eating gluten can spark an immune-system response that damages the small intestine.

Symptoms can include bloating, vomiting, and diarrhea. However, gluten can spark a similar reaction in people who have non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

4. (D) All of the above.

All of the examples are foods that contain this vital macronutrient, which consists of sugars, starches, and fiber found in various foods.

And remember: Carbs are not the enemy. Carbs are fuel for the body and are an important part of reaching your nutrition and fitness goals.

5. (C) Mackerel

Fatty fish like tuna, salmon, and mackerel are all excellent sources of vitamin D. Your body needs vitamin D to help it absorb calcium for strong bones, teeth, and muscles.

You can get vitamin D from food, supplements, or chilling outside in the sun for 10-15 minutes a few times a week. (Don’t forget the sunscreen!)

6. (D) 10-15 grams

Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans all deliver fiber, which helps keep you full and wards off the mid-afternoon munchies.

There are two types: soluble (absorbs water and slows digestion) and insoluble (doesn’t absorb water and helps keep you “regular.”)

Adults should aim for an average of 28 grams of dietary fiber per day, but the average American only gets 10-15 grams.

Need some ideas? Here are 14 high-fiber foods that can help you reach your daily goal.

7. (C) Yolk

Here’s a reason to eat the whole egg sometimes: The amino acid choline is considered an “essential nutrient” due to the fact that it plays a fundamental role in many important bodily functions.

One large egg contains 125 milligrams of choline. The easiest way to eat the whole egg: A plate of perfectly scrambled eggs.

8. (C) Eating fruits, vegetables, and less processed foods.

Clean eating sounds like a new fad diet, but it’s basically a way of eating that’s been around for a long time: healthy eating. Eating less fried and processed foods and more fruits and vegetables = clean eating.

9. (D) Depends on the nut.

While a single serving of nuts is always one ounce, the number of nuts varies. You get 23 almonds per serving, but only 12 macadamia nuts in an ounce, for example.

Nuts are packed with nutrients that your body needs, like protein, iron, omega-3s, vitamins A, E and B6, fiber, and more.

10. (B) Cruciferous

Kale, cauliflower and broccoli — as well as cabbage, kohlrabi, and radishes — are all members of the cruciferous family of vegetables, named so because the petals of their flowers form a cross-like shape.

These veggies contain tons of vitamins, as well as calcium and other nutrients.

(Nightshades are another common family of veggies that includes tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers.)

11. (D) Omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids

While several types of fatty acids exist, it’s omega-3s and omega-6 fatty acids that are found in flaxseeds, cold-water fish and walnuts.

Both fats are “essential,” meaning our bodies can’t produce them, so we need to get them from food sources.

There are three main types of omega-3 fatty acids: ALA (found in vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds), EPA and DHA (found in fatty fish and shellfish). All three play crucial roles in many body functions, like digestion and brain function.

12. (D) Almonds

Pulses are dried legumes, and they include lentils, chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, lima beans, among many more — but not almonds.

Pulses are loaded with good stuff like protein, fiber, iron, and potassium. (Find out how to cook different types of lentils and make your own homemade hummus.)

13. (B) Monounsaturated fatty acids

MUFAs are the “good fats” found in foods like avocados, olive oil, almonds, and pistachios. They provide essential nutrients in a balanced diet, and help your body absorb vitamins A, D, K, and E.

How Did You Do?

0-4: We all start somewhere. Keep reading the Beachbody blog and you’ll be a nutrition pro in no time.

5-9: You’re well on your way to becoming a nutrition-savvy know-it-all.

10-13: Hello, nutrition rock star. No fad diets or healthy food myths can get by you. Keep up the good work!

This content was originally published here.

New guidelines aim to rectify diagnosis and treatment hurdles for adult ADHD sufferers | SBS News

New guidelines aim to rectify diagnosis and treatment hurdles for adult ADHD sufferers | SBS News

Video above: Insight hears from adults navigating the life-shaping consequences of living with ADHD. Full ep. Tuesday March 16 at 8:30pm and on SBS On Demand.

Adult Attention Deficit & Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is estimated to be under-diagnosed and under-treated. It affects around 815,000 people in Australia – 2.5 per cent of adults globally.

Core symptoms of an ADHD diagnosis can range from distractibility and restlessness, to reckless impulsivity and even heavy addiction.

For children it’s a life-shaping diagnosis; for adults it can be a time of grief, and the beginning of an arduous journey to sustained treatment, in the costly world of private psychiatry.

New guidelines developed by the Australian ADHD Professionals Association (AADPA), led by Professor Mark Bellgrove, are hoping to remedy the issue.

“ADHD in adulthood is still poorly recognised, poorly detected and almost certainly under-treated in adults in Australia,” Professor Bellgrove told Insight.

“Adult ADHD almost without exception, is treated in the private health system rather than the public one – which is unusual for this kind of neurodevelopmental condition.

“They [patients] have to pay privately for treatment, and if they can’t afford that, they’re just not going to get care.”

Andy wasn’t diagnosed with ADHD until the age of 53.

A common ADHD misconception is that it is only a childhood condition, but data would suggest “two-thirds of children will carry symptoms and impairment into adulthood,” Professor Bellgrove said.

For Andy Hutchinson, his ADHD diagnosis, which came at the age of 53, was life changing.

“It was the happiest day of my life without a shadow of a doubt, because finally I understood what it was that had shaped me more than anything else in my life,” Andy told Insight.

After a childhood filled with hijinks, petty crime and a run-in with Scotland Yard – Andy ventured into adulthood finding it difficult to manage his career, as his focus was constantly wandering elsewhere.

“ADHD is a lack of will to do stuff at the endangerment of the most important things in your life: your marriage, your job, your relationship with your kids, family and friends.”

“It’s the abandonment of all of that, and you just can’t do it.”

Now with an adult diagnosis, and regular treatment, Andy said he is in more control of his life, and harnesses his ADHD as a “superpower”.

“I went through a bunch of drugs… a few were disasters, terrible. But then we tried Ritalin,” Andy said.

“That drug fixes some of the dopamine side, it helps a hell of a lot. It tunes out a lot of the distractions too, so you can zone in.

“It’s been absolutely life changing for me.”

It is anticipated that the new evidence-based guidelines will be submitted to the government’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) by the end of 2021.

The guidelines are expected to highlight areas of inequity within the current healthcare system for adults with ADHD.

This means people like Andy may have an easier time acquiring a diagnosis, access to a greater range of subsidised medications on the PBS and a more consistent pathway to managing the symptoms of adult ADHD.

“We want to have a Bible that tells clinicians in Australia, that these are all the evidence-based steps of diagnosis, so that we have a standardised clinical care,” Professor Bellgrove said.

“We need to be detecting, diagnosing and treating better in Australia.”

Insight’s episodes can also be watched on SBS On Demand in simplified Chinese here.

This content was originally published here.

Everything Is Not OK – mental health agencies team up to call for more funding – GuelphToday.com

Without funding increases for mental health and addiction services, suicides will continue to rise, domestic violence will grow and more families will fall apart.

That’s the prediction of Helen Fishburn, CEO at the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) of Waterloo Wellington, and the inspiration behind a call for government action.

“I know that sounds dramatic, but it isn’t,” she said. “Our community is suffering and struggling. They’re stressed, they’re anxious, they’re depressed, they’re worried not only about what’s happening right now but into the future.”

Prior to the pandemic, Ontario’s mental health crisis was already at a “breaking point,” she said, adding isolation, job losses, the death of loved ones, anxiety, alcohol and drug use and more have only exacerbated the situation.

“We’ve seen a total shift in the baseline of mental health across our community,” Fishburn said. “People are just overwhelmed. … That is the new normal that we’re dealing with.”

In response, seven organizations, including CMHA Ontario, have joined forces to raise awareness and call on the various levels of government to increase funding and access, while reducing wait times for a variety of mental health services. 

As of Tuesday, there are 3,520 people waiting to access services through CMHA WW alone – a number Fishburn said has been “rising steadily” throughout the pandemic. Wait times vary depending on the service needed, she added, but can stretch into several years.

“That’s not good enough. We need to do better for those people,” she said. “Can you imagine if you broke your leg and you had to wait months to get a cast on it? It’s the same thing with mental health.

“It is not ethical to ask people to wait that long for care.”

There are likely “way more people” in need of services such as psychiatry, housing, nursing, occupational therapy, residential care, community care and more but they don’t reach out for help because of the stigma attached to it, she added.

“It takes great courage to reach out for help.”

Since the start of the pandemic – which reaches the one-year mark on Thursday – CMHA WW has seen a 30 per cent increase in calls to its mental health crisis hotline known as Here 24/7. Daily calls have jumped from 150-160 to between 225 and 275.

“Anyone who calls in crisis, they get immediate care and immediate response but for folks who are not in crisis, we do our very best to match them to what’s available in the community,” Fishburn said of services. “Those folks do not make the waiting list, those people are not included in the 3,520.” 

Participants in the “Everything Is Not OK” campaign include Addictions and Mental Health Ontario, Canadian Mental Health Association Ontario, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health , Children’s Mental Health Ontario, Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences, The Royal, and Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care.

Fishburn said it’s hard to put a number on how much funding is needed.

“We need governments, the provincial government in particular, to pay attention to the mental health needs that are currently in our community,” she said. “We have to have a level of funding that is significant to be able to meet those needs.”

Additional dollars should be put toward community-based and residential care, especially for addictions, and in-patient hospital care, as well as mental health promotion and education, Fishburn noted.

“In my 20 years, I have never seen anything like this,” she said of seven organizations coming together to call for action. “This is unheard of. It’s probably long overdue as well.”

For more information about the campaign, visit www.everythingisnotok.ca.

This content was originally published here.

How to Do The Stomach Vacuum Exercise – Fitness Volt

How to Do The Stomach Vacuum Exercise – Fitness Volt

Most modern bodybuilders are mass monsters. They look like they are from a different planet – Planet Fitness perhaps?! However, those colossal biceps, ultra-wide lats, and mountainous traps are often accompanied by something much less attractive – a large, swollen gut.

We’re not talking off-season bodybuilders who are carrying more body fat than usual but lifters with single-digit body fat who still have a bubble belly.

In contrast, golden-era lifters often had very small waists. This gave them a much more aesthetically pleasing V-shape. Many of these physique stars made a point of accentuating their slimline waists by pulling their abs in. This made their waists look even smaller!

We’re not saying ALL modern bodybuilders have large waists – there are exceptions – but many of the current crop of top competitors have big bellies, which can detract from their overall appearance.

These big guts may or may not be due to growth hormone use; that’s a discussion for another day. However, it’s clear to see that bodybuilder’s midsections have changed dramatically over the last few decades.

The good news is that you may be able to reduce your waist size while strengthening your abs. How? With the old-school stomach vacuum exercise!

Stomach Vacuum Anatomy   

The stomach vacuum exercise is a very simple way to train your deep core muscles, specifically your transverse abdominis, or TVA for short. You use your TVA to brace your midsection and increase intra-abdominal pressure. Along with your other core muscles, it acts as a natural weightlifting belt to support your lumbar spine.

However, as well as contracting it isometrically, as you do when you brace, you can also draw your TVA in, which is what the vacuum exercise is all about. This is often called abdominal hollowing.

When you pull your TVA in, you activate it in isolation, whereas bracing involves your entire midsection, where all the core muscles work together (1).

This means that bracing is better than hollowing for increasing intra-abdominal pressure, which is important for protecting your spine during things like squats and deadlifts. That said, hollowing is the most effective way to target your TVA in isolation.

A stronger TVA will allow you to brace harder and may also help give you a flatter abdominal profile. In short, done regularly and consistently, the stomach vacuum exercise could give you a smaller waist.

Of course, stomach vacuuming won’t make your waist much smaller if you are carrying a whole lot of belly fat. The only way you get rid of that is through diet and exercise or liposuction if you want to go down the surgical route.

Best of all, the vacuum exercise is really easy to do, requires no special equipment, and you can do it almost anywhere and anytime.

How to Do the Stomach Vacuum Exercise

The basic stomach vacuum exercise is very straightforward. In fact, you could probably do a few reps now as you read this article…

Take care NOT to hold your breath during this exercise, as doing so could lead to dizziness and may increase your blood pressure. Increased BP is not an issue if your readings are normal but could be problematic if you have hypertension (clinically elevated blood pressure).   

Stomach Vacuum Variations

Once you can do stomach vacuums seated or standing, there are a few other variations you can use to challenge your transverse abdominus. Use these exercises to stop your TVA workouts from becoming repetitive and boring.

1. Kneeling Stomach Vacuum

With this variation, you pull your stomach in against gravity and the weight of your internal organs. This makes stomach vacuuming slightly harder.

2. Prone Stomach Vacuum

This variation provides useful feedback as you’ll be able to feel your stomach lifting away from the floor. As with variation #1, you also have to overcome gravity and the weight of your internal organs, making this slightly more challenging than the seated/standing variation.

3. Supine Stomach Vacuum

You do this exercise lying on your back. This makes pulling your stomach in easier because you’re working with instead of against gravity. This is a good option if you find the seated or standing variations too challenging or just want a less demanding TVA workout.

4. The String Technique

This variation teaches you to keep your stomach pulled in for longer. It provides a physical reminder to activate your TVA and pull your belly in. If you want to train yourself to keep your stomach pulled in, this exercise will help.

5. Vacuum abs crunches

Doing a vacuum while you do crunches will increase total core muscle activation, leading to more effective abs workouts. You can also try vacuuming during other abs exercises, such as flutter kicks, planks, and hanging knee raises.

Benefits of The Stomach Vacuum Exercise

The occasional set of stomach vacuums won’t do much for you, but if you commit to doing this exercise regularly and consistently, you should experience the following benefits.

Low intensity/high frequency – because this is a relatively low-stress exercise, you can do it frequently. You could even do a couple of sets every day, such as while you brush your teeth. Doing this exercise every day should mean that your waist will soon start to feel tighter and look smaller.

Isolate your TVA – your TVA is working whenever you brace your midsection or train your abs. However, the stomach vacuum is the only time this muscle works in isolation. If you want to improve your ability to brace, this exercise can help.

Better posture – a stronger TVA can help improve your posture by stabilizing your lumbar spine. Better posture automatically makes you look slimmer and taller and also takes pressure off your lower back, leading to less low back pain.

Convenience – you can do this exercise almost anywhere and anytime, including while you’re sat at your desk, waiting in line for your coffee order, lying in bed, or between sets in the gym. In fact, it’s such a subtle exercise that no-one will even know you are doing it!

Wrapping Up

While stomach vacuums will not cure GH gut or bubble bellies in bodybuilders, they could help you develop a flatter, smaller waistline. Of course, your actual waist measurement depends on things like bone structure and how much fat you are carrying. However, training your TVA may pull your waist in, leading to a more pleasing shape.

The stomach vacuum exercise involves so little effort that you won’t lose much by giving it a try. Who knows, it could be the key to creating the midsection you’ve always dreamed of!  

References:

PubMed: Comparison of the Effects of Hollowing and Bracing Exercises on Cross-sectional Areas of Abdominal Muscles in Middle-aged Women (source)

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This content was originally published here.

Green health: a tree-filled street can positively influence depression, study finds | Baltimore | The Guardian

Green health: a tree-filled street can positively influence depression, study finds | Baltimore | The Guardian

In 2005, when Celena Owens purchased an investment property in the up-and-coming East Baltimore neighborhood of Oliver, it was supposed to make her life better. But three years later, the housing market crashed, neighborhood renewal stalled, and the home that was going to be a rental became her full-time residence. Owens fell into what she describes as a “major depressive episode” that would last for the better part of a decade.

That’s when Owens, an IT developer for the state of Maryland, began to notice a pattern. During her workdays in the leafy suburbs of a nearby county, her mood would lift. “Even though I was still dealing with stuff, I felt a sense of calm, of comfort,” she remembers. On the commute back to the nearly treeless neighborhood she called home, that feeling would evaporate. “The closer I got to my house, the more depressed I would feel,” she says. “It was just this overwhelming sense of heaviness.”

Owens’s experience demonstrates the very real influence of tree inequity. In many cities, a map of urban tree cover reflects the geography of race and income, just as it does in Oliver, where 97% of residents are African American. This holds true across Baltimore, which still bears the scars of redlining, policies that denied mortgages and other financial services to entire communities of color. Black residents were essentially barred from purchasing homes in so-called greenlined neighborhoods, forced instead to choose among inner-city redlined areas.

A Baltimore neighborhood is lined with brick houses and trees.

Today, according to the US Forest Service, previously redlined areas have an average of 23% tree cover, while once-greenlined neighborhoods, living up to their old label, have an average of 43% tree cover. When Owens moved to Oliver, only about 10% of the neighborhood was tree-covered, according to Justin Bowers, associate director of the Baltimore Tree Trust, an organization that works to restore the city’s urban canopy. In a dense neighborhood without lawns, this meant a stark lack of green space.

The adverse effects of treeless neighborhoods are well-known and many. Bowers says that summer days in East Baltimore neighborhoods can be four to 16 degrees hotter than other parts of the city. In addition to heat-related illnesses, residents who lack tree cover consume more energy to stay cool, endure poorer air quality and – like Owens – report diminished mental health, he explains.

Trees have long been suspected to have a positive effect on city-dwellers’ overall happiness. But for many years, the correlation between urban trees and mental health remained difficult to prove.

Researchers in Germany have now provided concrete evidence of the link between trees and mental health, by studying the correlation between prescription antidepressants and tree cover across a range of neighborhoods. This allowed researchers to avoid the shortcomings of previous studies, which have taken various approaches to the question of: how do you define and measure mental health?

Even if a group of scientists chose to zoom in on a single mental illness, such as depression, there are still “a variety of self-reported questionnaires one can use to measure it”, says Melissa Marselle, an environmental psychologist and lecturer at De Montfort University who led the Germany study. “This made comparing the results [across studies] difficult, as each questionnaire may be measuring depression differently.”

Kwamel Couther, foreman for Baltimore Tree Trust, unloads wheel barrows outside a school in East Baltimore.

Past studies also failed to determine how close a tree needs to be to someone’s home to make a difference. Does simply looking out the window and seeing foliage have the same effect on mental health as visiting a city park? No one could say for sure.

To isolate the relationship between everyday green space and mental health, Marselle and a team of interdisciplinary researchers from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research and Leipzig University designed a study to figure out how the number, type and proximity of trees correlated to the number of antidepressants prescribed in a given neighborhood.

The researchers analyzed data collected from 10,000 Leipzig residents during the University of Leipzig’s Life-Adult Health Study, an exhaustive study that took place between 2011 and 2014 in which participants reported a wide array of health metrics, including their prescriptions. By combining that data with the number and species of street trees throughout the city, researchers were able to demonstrate in more material terms than ever before the correlation between trees and mental wellness.

They found that, regardless of species, more trees within 100 meters from the home was associated with a reduced risk of antidepressant use. “This everyday contact with nearby nature – either through a window view at the home or on the street – has been shown to be beneficial for mental health and wellbeing,” the researchers reported.

The association was especially pronounced in residents with low socioeconomic status. “This is important because those from social deprived groups are most likely to be prescribed antidepressants,” says Marselle.

Though the study has several limitations (some individuals with depression are not prescribed medication as part of their treatment; some don’t have access to treatment at all), it can serve as an important directive to urban planners. “While planning, guidance for urban green space is mostly based on intentional, purposeful visits for recreation,” the researchers wrote, “we suggest that such ‘unintentional’ everyday contact may reach more people and that such easily accessible urban green space can contribute to public health.”

This study comes on the heels of another that found that during Covid-19 lockdowns, people who could see trees and greenery outside their window reported lower rates of anxiety and depression, further demonstrating the importance of trees near the home.

Baltimore Tree Trust crew members plant a Red Maple in the Johnston Square neighborhood of Baltimore.

In 2012, a non-profit called ReBUILD Metro began investing in Celena Owens’s neighborhood, working with residents to remediate abandoned properties. Meanwhile, Justin Bowers says Baltimore Tree Trust “completely planted out”, the nine neighborhoods that make up East Baltimore.

“It definitely feels different,” Owens says. “It’s cooler on a physical level, obviously, but also on an aesthetic level. It creates a whole different vibe on the block and in the community in general.”

By 2015, her depression had abated. Today, she’s an outspoken community leader, spearheading efforts to build more parks and playgrounds in Oliver. She’s also dedicated to raising awareness about the benefits of street trees among her neighbors who she says sometimes object to tree plantings over concerns about weeds in the summer and leaves in the fall.

Owens may be busy creating change in her neighborhood, but she’s not quite done with her own space. Soon, she hopes to dig up the small concrete patio behind her rowhouse and “put in a nice little tree”.

This content was originally published here.