Birds May See Earth's Magnetic Fields

Birds can travel the world without any of the gizmos that humans depend on, and a new study suggests how: Our feathered friends might "see" Earth's magnetic field.

While other mechanisms are thought to help birds navigate, including magnetically sensitive cells within their beaks, their brain regions responsible for vision are in full gear during magnetic navigation, researchers said.

"If you look into the brain of a bird during magnetic compass orientation, only the visual system is highly active," said study co-author Henrik Mouritsen, a biologist at the University of Oldenburg in Germany, noting that most migratory birds do so at night. "Other regions of the brain are not, so birds could use vision to 'see' Earth's magnetism and orient themselves."

Mouritsen and his colleagues' findings are detailed online in a recent issue of the journal PLoS ONE.

Magnetic chemistry

The researchers previously discovered molecules called cryptochromes, which change their chemistry in the presence of a magnetic field, in the retinas of migratory birds' eyes.

"When light hits these molecules, their chemistry changes and magnetism can influence them," Mouritsen said. The molecules might then affect light-sensing cells in the retina to create images, which would help the brain navigate during flight, he added.

A direct connection between the specialized cells and the region of the bird's brain active during magnetic orientation, however, had never been shown before.

Mouritsen and his team recently found such connections between the cryptochrome-holding retinal cells and the "cluster N" region of migratory birds' brains, located in part of the brain responsible for vision.

"Cluster N is highly active during magnetic field orientation at night, when migratory birds fly," he said, explaining that non-migratory birds don't seem to use it during night flight. "We can't see what birds see, obviously, but they may pick up some sort of shading in their vision at night to act as a compass."

No smoking gun

Mouritsen noted that while the work is exciting, it isn't direct proof that they can actually "see" Earth's magnetism during migratory flights at night.

"If we could listen in on the neural connections between the retinal cells and cluster N, and show they actually send magnetically-influenced signals to the brain," Mouritsen said, "then that would be really compelling evidence that they can see it."

Even if migratory birds can see Earth's magnetic field, he noted, plenty of mysteries remain to explain their uncanny navigation.

"Birds also use the sun and stars to navigate, but we're not certain how," Mouritsen said. "How do they compute all of this information and end up with a direction to fly in? There are so many steps in this process we simply don't know about."

Source : Live Science.com!

How Do Birds Navigate?

About 50 animal species, ranging from birds and mammals to reptiles and insects, use Earth's magnetic field for navigation.

Yet Earth's magnetic field is very week. It ranges from approximately 30 to 60 millionths of one tesla. By comparison, magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, uses magnetic fields from 1.5 to 3.0 tesla.

So scientists unsure exactly how birds do it.

New research finds that a photochemical compass may simulate how migrating birds use the magnetic field, along with light, to navigate.

One theory for how it all works has been that photoreceptors in a bird's retina absorb light, which causes a chemical reaction that, in turn, produces a short-lived photochemical species whose lifetime is sensitive to the magnitude and direction of a weak magnetic field.

The idea is supported by the fact that blue light photoreceptors have been detected in retinas of migratory birds when they perform magnetic orientation. However, it has not been confirmed that a magnetic field as weak as Earth's can produce detectable changes within a photochemical molecule; nor, has a photochemical molecule been shown to respond to the direction of such a magnetic field.

Until now.

A new study, funded by the National Science Foundation and detailed online in the April 30, 2008 issue of the journal Nature, shows that the photochemical model becomes sensitive to the magnitude and direction of weak magnetic fields similar to Earth's when exposed to light.

A synthesized photochemical molecule composed of linked carotenoid (C), porphyrin (P) and fullerene (F) units can act as a magnetic compass, the researchers found. When excited with light, CPF forms a short-lived charge-separated state with a negative charge on the ball-like fullerene unit and a positive charge on the rod-like carotenoid unit. The charge-separated state lasts only as long as the magnitude and direction the field stays constant.

Why do scientists care about all this complex stuff?

Power lines and communications equipment also generate weak magnetic fields that can disrupt animal navigation, so "it is essential for humans to understand how animals navigate using Earth's weak magnetic field and the effects of human activity on animal navigation," said Devens Gust, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Arizona State University.

Source : LiveScience.com!


Singapore materially rich, spiritually poor

Singapore (ANTARA News) - Singapore is materially rich but spiritually poor -- and the government is partly to blame, one of the city-state's most prominent authors says.

Catherine Lim, also a political commentator, is one of a very few to publicly criticise the government in Southeast Asia's most economically advanced society.

Lim said that while Singapore is consistently ranked high in various surveys on material measures, such as business friendliness and economic achievement, the standings are reversed when other factors are considered.

"Press freedom, happiness and even love life and romance and so on, Singapore is ranked very low," Lim said in an interview with AFP.

"Maybe it leads to some questions. Are we achieving all this material prosperity at the cost of something? Soul, spirit, heart, senses, whatever you want to call it?"

She said the government's tight political control is partly to blame for a lack of happiness among the city-state's 4.6 million people.

"If there were less of a climate of fear... we would be a happier society," she said.

Singapore is one of the most politically stable countries in the region and has become the base for thousands of foreign firms.

The country's leaders say its tough laws against dissent and other political activity are necessary to ensure such stability which has helped it achieve economic success.

It is illegal, for example, to hold a public gathering of five or more people in Singapore without a permit, meaning demonstrations seldom occur.

Singapore's leaders maintain that Western-style liberal democracy is not suitable for the tiny, multi-racial nation which has been ruled by the People's Action Party since 1959.

Lim said the government is doing much better than others in helping to deal with "material issues", including rising global food prices.

"This is a very pro-active government... a very pragmatic, problem-solving leadership," the Malaysian-born Lim, 66, said.

"The problem is in the other areas, political and social liberties that we don't hear much of here in Singapore."

Lim, who has lived in the city-state since 1967, spoke to AFP on the sidelines of a conference on The New Science of Happiness and Well-being, where she was invited to speak, and which ended Thursday.

nine in 10 people stressed

Paris based media watchdog Reporters Without Borders ranked the city-state at 146 out of 168 nations, lower than Zimbabwe at 140, on a global index of press freedom released last year.

Singapore has also placed at the lower end in global surveys of sex frequency and satisfaction.

A recent poll by advertising firm Grey Group found that nine in 10 people living in Singapore said they were stressed.

Singaporeans are not "unhappy in the real sense of the word as in poverty-stricken countries", Lim said, but they seem to feel something is missing to complete their happiness.

"We need more time to relax. Singaporeans are always talking about pressure. We make money, but hey, we don't have the leisure to spend our

Lim has written more than nine collections of short stories, five novels and a book on poems. Her works have been published internationally.

Last year she also turned to the Internet, after the pro-government Straits Times refused to publish one of her commentaries, her website says.

The newspaper had, for 13 years, published her commentaries even though they were critical of the government, she wrote on the website.

But in September it rejected one on "the need for a political opening up", the website says. The Today daily also refused to publish it, forcing her to go online, she says on the website.

Direct criticism of the government is rare in Singapore's mainstream media, forcing dissatisfied Singaporeans to resort to the web to express their views.

Source : Antara!


Akupuntur Atasi Migrain

AKUPUNTUR seperti yang kerap diterapkan oleh para tabib dan dokter Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) dapat mengurangi sakit migrain. Demikian sebuah penelitian mengungkap. Para peneliti dari Italia ini menemukan bahwa perawatan teratur dengan akupuntur yang tepat membantu memperbaiki gejala pada 32 pasien yang menderita migrain yang sudah resisten atau kebal dengan obat.

Lebih lagi, terapi ini bekerja lebih efektif dibanding dengan dua bentuk akupuntur palsu lain yang digunakan sebagai perbandingan. Demikian diungkapkan para peneliti dalam Medical Journal Headache.

Pada penelitian sebelumnya, menyisakan hasil yang cukup kontradiksi atas perawatan migrain dengan akupuntur. Beberapa peneliti menilai bahwa penggunaan akupuntur yang tidak tepat, menggunakan jarum tumpul dan tidak sampai menembus kulit juga dikatakan menurunkan gejala seperti akupuntur yang sebenarnya. Tentu hal ini menyisakan pertanyaan mengenai efek biologis akupuntur.

Meski begitu, masalahnya, pada penelitian ini, terdapat inkonsistensi desain (penelitian), juga penggunaan poin atau titik akupuntur yang tidak sesuai dengan titik-titk yang seharusnya ditusuk.

Akupuntur telah digunakan lebih dari 2000 tahun dalam pengobatan China untuk mengatasi beragam masalah kesehatan. Menurut pengobatan tradisional ini, titik-titik spesifik pada akupuntur ini terkait dengan jalur internal tubuh yang membawa energi atau Qi (chi) dan merangsang titik-titik ini dengan jarum dapat meningkatkan aliran Qi ini.

Pada penelitian terakhir, Dr. Enrico Facco dari Universitas Padua dan koleganya melihat bagaimana secara tradisional akupuntur diperbandingkan dengan teknik akupuntur pura-pura (tanpa jarum tajam) untuk mencegah migrain.

Secara acak mereka meilih 160 pasien yang mengalami migrain menjadi empat kelompok: Pada kelompo satu, pasien menerima dua kali seminggu sesi akupuntur tradisional. Kelompok kedua menjalani akupuntur pura-pura. Kelompok ketiga juga menjalani akupuntur pura-pura tetapi menggunaka jarum tumpu yang ditusukkan pada ttik-titik akupuntur yang sebenarnya. Dan kelompok keempat merupakan kelompok kontrol yang tidak mendapat terapi akupuntur sama sekali.

Lebih dari enam bulan, Tim Facco menemukan, hanya grup yang menerima tusukan jarum akupuntur dengan tepatlah yang mengalami kesembuhan dari migrain dibanding dengan yang kelompok kontrol. Faktor utama yang baru dari penelitian ini adalah bahwa terapi ini meski berdasar pengobatan tradisional, tetapi menggunakan cara barat yang ilmiah.

Hasilnya menjanjikan, kata Facco, namun penelitian lebih lanjut dibutuhkan untuk mengkonfirmasi manfaat dari akupuntur tradisional terhadap migrain. Meski begitu, Facco, menambahkan, karena terapi ini hanya berefek samping kecil, dapat digunakan untuk mereka yang menderita migrain yang tidak dapat diselesaikan dengan pengobatan standar.

Belum jelas benar kenapa akupuntur dapat mengurangi migrain. Menambahi teori tradisional berdasar konsep Qi, riset modern dari akupuntur atas migrain ini menyatakan bahwa akupuntur mungkin bekerja dengan cara mengalihkan signal di antara sel-sel saraf atau mempengaruhi pelepasan beragam bahan-bahan kimia di antara sistem saraf pusat.

Source : Medical Journal Headache


Terapi Sel Induk Obati Infark Jantung

FAKULTAS Kedokteran Universitas Indonesia (FKUI) - Rumah Sakit Cipto Mangunkusumo (RSCM), bekerjasama dengan Rumah Sakit Medistra Jakarta telah berhasil menyembuhkan tujuh pasien yang menderita infark jantung akut dengan melakukan terapi sel induk atau "Stem Cell Therapy".

Staf Divisi Kardiologi FKUI-RSCM, Ika Prasetya, dalam siaran persnya di Jakarta, Minggu (6/4), mengatakan, fungsi jantung tujuh pasien yang menderita infark jantung akut kembali normal setelah melakukan terapi sel induk. Dia mengatakan pada awalnya jantung ke tujuh pasien hanya berfungsi sekitar 20 hingga 30 persen saja, namun setelah dilakukan terapi sel induk, dengan menanamkan sel induk dari tubuh pasien sendiri ke jaringan otot jangtung yang rusak, maka sel induk tersebut tumbuh menjadi jaringan yang sehat.

Lebih lanjut, dia menjelaskan, jaringan yang baru tumbuh tersebut mengembalikan jaringan yang rusak, sehingga dapat berfungsi kembali seperti semula. Dia mengatakan secara klinis pasien kembali normal dan mendapatkan kehidupan kembali. Dengan kata lain terapi ini berhasil "menghidupkan yang sudah mati".

Infark jantung akut sendiri adalah penyakit kematian otot jantung akibat tersumbatnya pembuluh darah koroner yang mensuplai darah ke otot jantung. Secara awam hal ini ditandai dengan adanya serangan jantung yang merusakan otot jantung yang dikenal dengan gagal jantung, dan akibat fatalnya dapat menyebabkan kematian.

Menurut dia, di Asia kemajuan hasil terapi sel induk ini baru dapat dilakukan oleh Indonesia. Bila terapi ini dapat dikembangkan dengan baik, maka dapat membantu banyak pasien yang menderita penyakit stroke dengan kelumpuhannya, diabetes millitus dengan kakinya yang membusuk, serta penyakit lainnya.

Source : Antara!

Energy To Burn

Manage Blood Sugar with Smart Snacking. What to eat and when to eat it to boost your metabolism and fight fatigue all day long

Energy management should be one of the principal concerns of the working man, and yet the average guy fuels his body the way he gases up his vehicle: when it's running on fumes. It's a red-warning-light response, and it usually triggers a pit stop for a café au lait and a croissant. Why we eat like the French when there's work to be done, we'll never know.

But there's a better way to wake up that doesn't involve overpriced coffee: Eat smart. And eat often. More specifically, snack often. By snacking on the right foods at strategic times, you'll keep your energy levels stoked all day, says sports nutritionist Nancy Clark, R.D. Here's what to eat when, with the prep time you've got.

7 a.m.: Jump-Start Your Body
They call it breakfast for a reason: You haven't eaten for at least 8 hours. Your blood-sugar level is at its lowest ebb, and now it's time to fuel up with protein and some fat, but mostly with complex carbohydrates.

At home: Grab a bowl and mix together a three-to-one ratio of Fiber One cereal plus Cap'n Crunch's Peanut Butter Crunch. Add 1/2 cup of 2 percent milk. That'll give you fat, protein, and long-burning fiber, plus a little sweetness to spike your blood sugar and help wake you up. Researchers at Cardiff University in Wales gave 150 men and women either high-fiber or low-fiber cereal every morning for 2 weeks. At the end of the study, those people who ate the most fiber also reported feeling the most energetic. "Fiber helps slow down the absorption of food in the stomach, so you have more energy over a sustained period of time," says Elizabeth Kunkel, Ph.D., R.D., a professor of food science at Clemson University.

In the car: Munch on a pack of Frito-Lay Trail Mix. These single-serving tubes of nuts, raisins, and chocolate chips cost just a dollar, and you can dump one right into your mouth while you navigate rush-hour traffic. The raisins provide potassium--a mineral your body needs to convert blood sugar into energy. As for the nuts, they're high in magnesium. When magnesium levels are low, your body hikes its production of lactic acid--the same fatigue-inducing substance that causes your muscles to burn when you're pushing yourself to crank out that third superset.

At your desk: Dig into Knudsen Cottage Doubles while checking your e-mail. These to-go bowls of cottage cheese come with a side of fruit. Eat them separately or stir the fruit into the cottage cheese to make it more flavorful. Besides being high in muscle-building protein, cottage cheese is a good source of calcium and phosphorus, two minerals that help build your muscles' energy reserves. Researchers in Denmark found that men who replaced 20 percent of the carbohydrates in their diet with a high-protein food like cottage cheese not only had more energy, but also revved up their metabolisms, increasing the number of calories they burned each day by up to 5 percent.


Gairah Sang Cinta

GARA-GARA kekurangan cinta, tak sedikit orang jadi patah hati, melukai diri sendiri atau orang lain, bahkan nekat bunuh diri. Sungguhkah demikian halnya? Lantas, apa efek gelombang cinta bagi kita?

Dongeng anak-anak tentang Si Cantik dan Si Buruk Rupa (Beauty and the Beast) telah diceritakan turun temurun berabad-abad lamanya dengan beragam variasi versi sesuai daerah atau negara. Si Buruk Rupa sejatinya adalah seorang pangeran yang dikutuk menjadi seekor monster.

Dalam cerita versi film animasi produksi Disney, kutukan monster itu bakal hilang ketika dia bisa mendapatkan cinta sejati dari seorang gadis. Karena itu, ketika Si Cantik menyatakan cinta pada Si Buruk Rupa dengan berurai air mata, kutukan pun kontan lenyap dan menjelmalah ia pangeran yang rupawan.

Dongeng anak-anak itu sebenarnya bukan khayalan semata. “Di balik dongeng itu ada kebijakan tradisional yang menguraikan bagaimana pengaruh setrum cinta dalam mengubah sesuatu yang buruk menjadi sesuatu yang baik,” ujar Nilam Widyarini, psikolog dan dosen di Universitas Gunadarma Jakarta, yang tekun meneliti soal cinta dan spiritualitas.

Ilmuwan modern sekarang sudah percaya akan khasiat setrum alias gelombang cinta dan getol melakukan penelitian. Jurnal Neuroendrocrinology Letters Vol. 26 tahun 2005 menerbitkan tulisan ilmiah yang tegas menyatakan bahwa cinta baik untuk kesehatan fisik dan mental. Fungsi reproduksi dan perilaku seksual hanyalah merupakan satu aspek dari cinta.

Konsep cinta yang dimaksud di sini terdiri dari komunitas, dukungan sosial, kesehatan, dan kelangsungan hidup. Dukungan sosial sudah banyak diteliti memiliki manfaat untuk kesehatan. Ketiadaan interaksi sosial dan kurangnya keterlekatan sosial itu terkait dengan penyakit mental dan fisik. Keterlekatan sosial ini ternyata bermanfaat untuk mengobati atau mencegah penyakit depresi atau bahkan autisme.

Meditasi Cinta

Cinta dan kasih sayang juga terbukti bermanfaat mengurangi stres. Meditasi cinta dan kasih sayang sudah dipraktikkan selama berabad-abad dalam tradisi Budha untuk mengembangkan cinta dan mengubah kemarahan menjadi cinta kasih. Dalam sebuah penelitian awal, meditasi cinta kasih yang diberikan selama delapan pekan terbukti bermanfaat mengurangi rasa nyeri kronis, mengurangi tekanan psikologis dan kemarahan.

Lebih jauh dalam jurnal itu juga dijelaskan bahwa emosi-emosi positif, cinta kasih, dan kebahagiaan membantu kita saat menghadapi kesulitan hidup dan mengalami stres. Cinta kasih dan kebahagiaan membantu sistem kekebalan tubuh berfungsi lebih baik dan membantu memerangi penyakit. Selanjutnya cinta juga yang akan menguatkan kemampuan tubuh untuk memperbaiki dan menjaga kesehatan tubuh, termasuk juga menyembuhkan diri sendiri (self healing).

Lebih menakjubkan lagi, jurnal itu juga membeberkan bahwa cinta dan pengalaman menyenangkan itu bahkan menstimulasi perkembangan pribadi menjadi orang yang lebih baik. Sayangnya, tak semua anak manusia di dunia beruntung bisa merasakan cinta kasih yang menyembuhkan dan menyehatkan itu. Lebih banyak orang yang mengalami hal-hal menyakitkan dan celakanya malah membagi kesakitan itu dengan orang lain.

Dalam praktiknya, Nilam sering menjumpai kasus anak bermasalah gara-gara merasa ditolak dan tidak dicintai. “Secara tidak sadar orangtua memakai kacamata sendiri dalam menilai dan berkomunikasi dengan anak. Anak dipaksa harus patuh. Mengungkapkan ide kepada orangtua jadi susah. Akibatnya anak merasa ditolak dan tidak dicintai,” tutur kandidat doktor dari Universitas Gadjah Mada ini.

Apa akibatnya jika anak merasa kekurangan dan tidak mendapatkan sentuhan cinta? Menurut Nilam, pengalaman tidak dicintai semasa kecil ini akan terbawa terus hingga dewasa jika tidak diselesaikan. “Jika kekurangan, bagaimana dia bisa membaginya kepada orang lain? Dia hanya bisa memberikan cinta kepada orang yang dapat menerima dirinya,” kata Nilam.

Dalam banyak kasus, teman-teman lebih bisa menerima dibandingkan orangtua. Bila teman adalah pecandu narkoba, jangan heran kalau anak ikut jadi pecandu. Akibat Defisiensi Sebetulnya banyak tanda yang dapat kita kenali tentang orang yang mungkin mengalami difisiensi atau kekurangan cinta kasih. Antara lain suka menarik diri, sulit berbagi dengan orang lain, ketus, kasar, mementingkan diri sendiri, kaku, mudah curiga, dan lain-lain. “Kalau ada pekerjaan lain lebih baik pindah deh, soalnya bos sering menyakiti. Saya pernah dicubit dan dilempar gelas hanya gara-gara melakukan kesalahan kecil,” ujar seorang karyawati bagian public relatios.

Kehidupan perkawinan yang berantakan tanpa ada pengisi kekosongan hati boleh jadi merupakan penyebab tindakan kekerasan fisik yang dilakukan pemilik kantor itu.

Ada lagi karyawan yang cukup tertekan di tempat kerja karena sering mendapat kekerasan verbal dari atasannya. “Setiap pagi dia selalu marah-marah,” ungkap profesional muda ini. Memukul, mencubit, mengucapkan kata-kata kotor dan menyakitkan itu menjadi bagian dari suasana harian kantor.

Celakanya sang bos bilang bahwa itu merupakan bentuk pernyataan cinta! Bagaimana mungkin cinta bisa menyakiti? Boleh jadi bos ini mendapatkan pelajaran “cinta” yang salah dari orangtuanya, mungkin juga perkawinannya yang kebetulan kacau balau itu yang membuatnya menjadi seperti itu, atau mungkin ada pengalaman penolakan lain yang membuatnya tidak kecukupan cinta.

Sejak dalam Kandungan Pengalaman cinta pada mamalia dan manusia terekam dengan baik di bagian otak bernama limbik. “Di sinilah pusat rasa, mengasihi, mengasuh,” sebut Reza Gunawan, praktisi penyembuhan holistik dari True Nature Holistic Healing Jakarta.

Bagian otak ini sudah merekam semua pengalaman cinta sejak bayi dalam kandungan hingga seseorang berumur enam hingga tujuh tahun. Setelah itu anak mulai bersekolah dan bagian neokortek di otak yang mengatur logika mulai aktif. Dari dalam kandungan hingga tujuh tahun itu, seorang anak mengalami apa yang disebut resonansi limbik.

“Mungkin orang lain menyebutnya sebagai sebuah intuisi. Bahwa apa yang terjadi atau pengalaman pada otak bapak dan ibunya terjadi juga pada anak meski dia tidak melihat. Apa pun yang dialami orangtua, baik itu mengelus ataupun memukul dan berkata kasar, semua dianggap sebagai pengalaman cinta sebab anak belum bisa membedakan,” kata Reza.

Nah, ketika anak beranjak dewasa, secara tidak sadar ia mengekspresikan rasa cinta itu seperti yang dia terima ketika kecil. “Bisa saja dia memukul orang lain. Secara logika itu tidak benar, tetapi dari alam bawah sadar yang dipelajari ketika kecil, memukul adalah sebuah ekspresi cinta,” paparnya.

Perlu Terapi

Karena sudah tertanam begitu dalam di otak, mengubah ekspresi cinta yang penuh kekerasan menjadi lebih baik itu tidak bisa dengan sekadar dinasihati. “Dia butuh terapi, psikoterapi, penyembuhan trauma, meditasi untuk mengalihkan panca indra menjadi melihat ke dalam dan membuat respon perubahan untuk melepaskan trauma dan luka batin.

Terapi itu ditujukan untuk membongkar memori sedari awal dan membuat pilihan menjadi perilaku cinta yang benar,” papar Reza, yang memberikan terapi untuk sejumlah selebriti Indonesia ini. Dalam memberikan terapi untuk anak-anak yang merasa tidak dicintai sehingga perilakunya bermasalah, Nilam memberikan pancaran gelombang cinta untuk mereka.

“Anak harus percaya bahwa dirinya disayang, ada sentuhan pribadi, terbuka, dan ada pancaran kehangatan cinta,” ujarnya. Hubungan yang hangat dengan kliennya itu digambarkan seperti hubungan guru dan murid sufi yang erat terikat oleh gelombang cinta.

Setelah itu, ia akan mengajarkan kepada orangtua si anak, bagaimana cara memancarkan gelombang cinta kepada buah hati mereka tercinta. Harap maklum, meskipun bilangnya cinta, tak semua kita tahu dan mampu bagaimana seharusnya mencintai.

Hati yang Menerima

Perasaan serba kekurangan cinta merupakan akar semua masalah cinta. “Mengharapkan orang lain mencintai kita merupakan formula yang pasti gagal. Lebih runyam lagi ketika seseorang merasa kekurangan cinta lalu menyalahkan orang lain. Gue jadi kekurangan cinta karena lu nggak mencintai gue,” ungkap Reza Gunawan.

Hal seperti itu menurut Reza tidak akan terjadi jika seseorang mampu menerima diri sendiri. Banyak masalah yang sebetulnya tak perlu diributkan dalam sebuah relasi cinta, jika masing-masing sudah memiliki cinta diri yang cukup.

“Kenapa seseorang jadi pencemburu? Kita sering menyebutnya karena cinta. Padahal, itu dibungkus oleh perasaan takut ditinggal. Kenapa? Karena takut sendiri dan merasa tidak lengkap. Kenapa begitu? Karena tidak cukup cinta yang ada pada diri sendiri,” ujarnya.

Cinta dan penerimaan diri juga dinilai oleh Nilam Widyarini sebagai aspek penting dalam penyembuhan luka batin akibat ditolak dan tidak dicintai. “Anak, dan kita semua sebetulnya, harus diterima apa adanya, tidak dihakimi, tidak dianggap aneh,” katanya.

Ia pernah menangani kasus seorang anak yang tidak bisa menemukan kebaikan dalam dirinya karena begitu sering menerima kekerasan secara verbal. Pelan-pelan psikolog ini membantu si anak melihat kebaikan dalam dirinya dan menerima diri apa adanya.

Mendapatkan cinta yang cukup dalam diri itu, menurut Nilam, bukan perkara yang sulit buat orang yang percaya akan Tuhan. “Sebab Tuhan adalah sumber cinta kasih,” sebutnya. Pancaran gelombang cinta yang kuat dalam diri seseorang itu akan membagi cinta ke lingkungan di sekitarnya.

Orang ini juga tidak akan terganggu dengan kurangnya gelombang cinta di lingkungannya. Cinta yang ada di dalam diri itu dapat diperkuat setiap hari dengan menerima diri apa adanya dan menerima bahwa umat manusia adalah bagian dari alam semesta, sebagai sebuah kesatuan yang harmonis. “Dengan demikian pasokan cinta di dalam diri seseorang tidak akan pernah habis,” kata redaktur khusus Tabloid Gaya Hidup Sehat ini.

Source: Gaya Hidup Sehat

Pillow Talk from the Heart

If you're debating whether to go to bed early or tackle your holiday to-do list, go for the pillow time.

Here's why: Shortchanging yourself on ZZZs makes your heart work harder. Here's how: When you sleep, your body goes into a lower blood pressure mode. But too little time in this low-key state can eventually lead to high blood pressure. So set the list aside and give your heart a little holiday instead.

If you've traded sleep time for to-do lists, tight deadlines, or fretful toddlers, you're like most people over 30 who are getting historically low levels of sleep. Hypertension is on the rise in this age group, too, and researchers believe these two trends are related. One study of people aged 32 to 59 found that those who got fewer than 5 hours of sleep a night for several years were twice as likely to develop hypertension as people who got a healthy 7 or 8 hours each night.

Cutting back on a full night's sleep again and again comes back at you in several ways:

* It deprives you of the time when your blood pressure is lower.
* It means you spend more time dealing with stress instead of resting.
* And salt retention, a well-known contributor to high blood pressure, may increase with sleep deprivation.

If getting enough shut-eye this holiday season is a challenge, think about this: Whatever's tempting you to stay up late will still be there tomorrow, whether it's hanging lights, wrapping presents, making travel plans, or searching online for the perfect gift. But with rest, you'll do those tasks better -- and probably faster.

Source : RealAge.com


4 Ways to Improve Sleep

With some major exceptions, sleep is a lot like sex. It’s something you really look forward to, and it makes you feel great when you’re done. Most important, though, sleep is more like your boss -- it’s much more agreeable when it goes uninterrupted.

Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most crucial things you can do for your body. Getting about 7 hours of sleep a night can make a profound difference to your brain and your heart and make your RealAge up to 3 years younger.

Lack of sleep makes you less mentally aware and more fatigued, causes you to eat more, and places you at a higher risk for accidents. Plus, being fatigued puts you at greater risk of making choices that age you (when you’re tired, it’s easier to order the bacon-double-fat burgers than the grilled salmon).

Although sleeping pills may seem like a good idea -- because they do work in the short term by shutting off the Leno-watching neurons -- they may have more harmful effects over the long term because of their addictive qualities. Instead, you can try these ways to help yourself sleep like a teenager during summer break.

1. Get on a schedule. Your body clock runs best when you’re on a regular sleep schedule, like a baby. Aim to get up at the same time every day -- whether you have a full day of work or a full day of cartoons. On the weekends, try to rise within one hour of the time you get up during the week.

2. Change your temperature. The ideal setting for sleep is a cool, dark room. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try removing a layer of clothing (like socks) or lowering the thermostat.

3. At night, eat foods that contain melatonin -- a substance that helps regulate the body clock. That means oats, sweet corn, or rice. Or try a complex carbohydrate that has serotonin, like vegetables or whole-grain pasta. You can also go with the classic remedy: skim milk. Of course, you know to avoid stimulants like caffeine and exercise near bedtime. And try to avoid eating within 3 hours of going to bed.

4. Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex. It is best to take work materials, computers, and televisions out of the sleeping environment.

Source : RealAge.com


Bad sleep habits may set you up for poor blood sugar control.

Sleeping for less than 6 hours or more than 9 hours per night was associated with an increased risk of diabetes in a recent study. These same poor sleep habits also were linked to impaired glucose tolerance, a condition marked by higher-than-normal blood sugar levels. Aim for 6 to 8 hours of sleep per night.

Researchers don't know exactly why poor sleep habits contribute to overall health risks. Hormones linked to sleep and wake cycles may play a role. A recent study revealed that sleep deprivation reduces levels of leptin, an appetite-suppressing hormone. If you have trouble sleeping, practice good sleep hygiene: go to bed at the same time every night, avoid caffeine or large meals late in the evening, exercise regularly earlier in the day, sleep in a cool, dark room, and unwind before bedtime. Getting the right amount of sleep is only one part of reducing diabetes risk. Exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and following a healthful diet also can help reduce risk.

RealAge Benefit: Getting 6 to 8 hours of sleep per night can make your RealAge as much as 3 years younger.

Source : RealAge.com


Alami Belum Tentu Aman

KETIKA pengobatan modern semakin mahal dan tidak selalu berujung pada kesembuhan, obat-obatan herbal semakin banyak dilirik orang. Meski begitu, sebaiknya tetap hati-hati. Walaupun terbuat dari bahan alami, herbal juga bisa membahayakan bila dikonsumsi sembarangan. Simak beberapa kasus ”kecelakaan” akibat minum obat-obat herbal.

Di sebuah seminar tentang tanaman obat di Universitas Indonesia awal tahun lalu, Eko, bapak berusia 50-an tahun, bercerita tentang pengalamannya dengan herbal.

Setelah minum ramuan mahkota dewa, ia pingsan. Usut punya usut, Eko yang ingin sembuh dari penyakit hipertensi ini merebus lima buah mahkota dewa berikut bijinya. Air rebusan itu lalu dia minum banyak-banyak dengan harapan penyakitnya cepat sembuh. Ia pingsan karena tekanan darahnya turun drastis.

Prapti Utami, dokter yang menekuni pengobatan herbal dan tergabung dalam Perhimpunan Dokter Indonesia Pengembang Kesehatan Tradisional Timur, menuturkan pengalaman lain yang dialami pasiennya sebelum akhirnya ditangani Prapti.

Pasien yang masih remaja itu juga pingsan gara-gara ikut-ikutan ibunya minum ramuan jati belanda untuk melangsingkan badan. ”Dia punya masalah dengan mag, sementara jati belanda punya efek mengiritasi lambung,” kata Prapti.

Ia mengingatkan, meskipun terbuat dari bahan alam, herbal juga mengandung zat kimia aktif seperti obat-obatan kimia umumnya. Karena itu, penggunaan herbal sebaiknya dikonsultasikan dengan dokter yang mendalami masalah herbal.

Prapti mencontohkan, daun ungu sebagai bahan baku herbal memiliki kandungan flavonoid yang berfungsi mematikan bakteri. Daun ini juga memiliki kandungan steroid alami yang berguna untuk antiperadangan dan juga mengandung alkaloida untuk melunakkan tinja.

Perlu diagnosis

Herbal tidak bisa diminum sembarangan karena respons tiap individu bisa berbeda satu sama lain. ”Meski punya keluhan sama, belum tentu herbal yang diberikan cocok antara satu pasien dan pasien lain,” kata Prapti.

Karena itu, sebelum memberi pengobatan herbal, dokter akan mendiagnosis lebih dulu penyakit pasien. Seperti pengobatan umumnya, diagnosis ini ditegakkan melalui wawancara dengan pasien, pemeriksaan fisik, dan kalau perlu diadakan pemeriksaan laboratorium atau radiologi.

Dari diagnosis ini akan diketahui riwayat kesehatan pasien dan risiko reaksi interaksinya terhadap herbal. ”Diagnosis ini perlu dilakukan karena metabolisme tubuh masing-masing individu berbeda,” lanjut Prapti.

Mencari dokter yang mendalami soal herbal tidak lagi sulit. Sekarang banyak dokter yang menggabungkan ilmu kedokteran dengan pengobatan herbal. Selain klinik-klinik herbal, di beberapa rumah sakit, seperti Rumah Sakit Dokter Soetomo Surabaya atau Rumah Sakit Bethesda Yogyakarta, juga sudah membuka pengobatan herbal. Di Purwakarta, Jawa Barat, juga sudah ada rumah sakit khusus herbal.

Herbal juga memiliki efek samping seperti obat-obatan kimia. Efek samping yang muncul bisa bermacam-macam, seperti diare, tubuh gemetar, tekanan darah turun drastis, mual, atau pusing. Jika muncul efek samping semacam itu, kata Prapti, pasien harus segera berkonsultasi dengan dokter.

Menurut Prapti, biasanya satu herbal dikonsumsi bersama dengan herbal lain untuk saling melengkapi atau mengurangi efek samping. Misalnya, jati belanda yang biasa digunakan untuk pelangsing memiliki efek samping mengiritasi lambung. Karena itu, konsumsi jati belanda harus bersamaan dengan temulawak atau kunir putih untuk mengurangi iritasi lambung.

Patut diingat, selama pengobatan, baik dengan herbal maupun obat buatan, sebaiknya pasien minum dua liter air per hari. Ini untuk membersihkan ginjal. ”Sebenarnya, tanpa minum herbal pun kita tetap harus minum banyak untuk kesehatan ginjal,” tutur Prapti.

Butuh kesabaran

Mencari kesembuhan dengan pengobatan herbal adakalanya dibutuhkan kesabaran. Pasalnya, tidak seperti obat-obatan kimia, pengobatan dengan herbal ini membutuhkan waktu relatif lebih lama. ”Justru kalau ada obat herbal bisa cespleng (langsung sembuh), kita patut curiga,” kata Ida Marlinda, peneliti obat di Yayasan Lembaga Konsumen Indonesia (YLKI).

Menurut Ida, herbal yang cespleng biasanya dicampur dengan bahan kimia obat (BKO) tertentu. YLKI pernah menerima pengaduan seorang ibu di Kalimantan. Ibu itu ingin anaknya yang kurus karena susah makan jadi doyan makan dan bertambah gemuk. Si ibu lalu membeli jamu kemasan penambah nafsu makan.

Dalam waktu satu bulan, anaknya benar-benar menjadi gemuk dan berat badannya bertambah lebih dari 3 kilogram. ”Ternyata herbal itu dicampur steroid,” kata Ida. Tidak berapa lama, anak itu mengalami moonface (wajah membulat).

Ada juga kasus seorang anak berpenyakit asma tiba-tiba sembuh setelah minum jamu yang dikemas praktisi pengobatan tradisional. Setelah diteliti, jamu itu mengandung tetrasiklin (antibiotik). Jadi, sebaiknya memang tidak sembarang membeli obatobatan herbal.

Source : Kompas.com

Skip the Diet Soda

Get ready to ditch your soda habit. I’m kicking Diet Coke — it takes time, and I’m down to five a week from a high of 12, but it’s worth it.

Here’s why: Recent research has shown that artificial sweeteners in soda may interfere with your body’s ability to estimate how many calories you’ve ingested, so you eat more than you need.

In a new rat study, animals that ate fake sugar consumed more calories overall and gained weight, compared to those that didn’t eat artificially sweetened treats.

This is just one study, but it’s enough to make me want to kick the can habit. Need more convincing? For every diet soda you sip daily, your risk of becoming overweight can rise by 37 percent, according to researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio.

We also know that regular soda is a total sugar bomb — most people I know gave it up long ago. At roughly 225 calories a pop, a 20-ounce bottle of regular soda packs nearly as many calories as a chocolate bar (but is much less satisfying).

Typically, soda also contains zero nutrients — so who needs it? Still have some soda around? Fine, stow it for guests who haven’t decided to quit. Next time you want a fizz hit, try seltzer with lime (or for a caffeine fix, green tea). What are your favorite low-cal soda substitutes?

Source : Yahoo Health!


Infus Gizi Atasi Letih Lesu

FRUSTASI mendera Pamela Hirt. Nyeri dan rasa sakit yang kerap mendera kepalanya membuat hidupnya menjadi tidak nyaman. Wanita usia 48 tahun warga Orange, Conneccticut, Amerika Serikat ini belum tahu juga apa yang dialaminya. Rasa lelah, insomnia dan nyeri yang menetap atau terus menerus di tangan dan kakinya menetap terasakan meski sudah pergi ke dokter. Sampai akhirnya seorang ahli rematologi mengatakan bahwa apa yang dialaminya disebut fibromyalgia.

Meski sudah ketahuan apa penyakitnya, kemajuan belum juga tampak. Bahkan meski desainer berputra tiga ini juga sudah diberi obat antidepresan oleh sang dokter. Dokter juga merekomendasikan agar Pamela melakukan latihan fisik, obat anti peradangan. Namun tetap saja tidak ada perubahan berarti.

Seorang teman akhirnya memberitahukan bahwa ada seorang dokter dan direktur dari Integrative Medicine Center di Griffin Hospital di Derby, Connecticut yang mungkin bisa menolongnya.

Pikirnya, setelah lima tahun baru mendengar ada dokter yang bisa memberinya harapan. Pada pertemuan pertamanya, dokter yang bernama David Katz ini memberi rekomendasi Pamela untuk menjalani terapi yang disebut intravenous micronutrient therapy atau IVMT.

Katz memang tidak memberi janji apapun, namun membuat janji pertemuan untuk minggu ke depan. Pamela mengatakan, “Hasilnya, cukup cepat terasakan,” jelasnya. Sehari setelah terapi pertama, Pamela bangun tidur dan menjalani aktivitas rutinnya. Biasanya di pagi hari ini, Pamela bakal menderita sekali karena kambuh. Namun, kali ini “Saya duduk di dapur sambil minum kopi dan tiba-tiba saya menyadari bahwa saya tidak merasakan sakit apapun,” ujarnya “Ajaib.”

Sekarang, sama seperti delapan juta penduduk Amerika Serikat lain harapan untuk sembuh dari kondisi yang disebut fibromyalgia terbuka. Kondisi yang ditandai dengan rasa nyeri, sakit, kaku, sulit tidur, dan kelelahan juga dialami oleh banyak orang. Juga di Indonesia.

Tidak ada yang tahu secara pasti apa yang menyebabkannya. Biasanya dokter hanya akan memberi rekomendasi perawatan campuran, dengan obat juga merubah gaya hidup, meksi tidak selalu berhasil menyelesaikan masalah.

20 tahun terakhir ini di beberapa klinik alternatif menggunakan terapi yang disebut IVMT ternyata dapat menyelesaikan masalah ini. Katz adalah seorang ahli penyakit dalam dan telah menggunakan metode ini pada ratusan pasien fibromylagia, juga kelelahan akut dengan IVMT. Katz menemukan bahwa 80 persen metode IVMT berhasil mengatasi persoalan-persoalan ini. “Memang tidak selalu langsung sembuh. Beberapa sembuh dengan cara bertahap setelah empat sampai lima kali perawatan,” jelas Katz.

Lalu, apa sih sebenarnya IVMT? MT sendiri merupakan kependekan dari micronutrient therapy. Dalam hal ini kombinasi dosis tinggi vitamin dan mineral diberikan seperti vitamin B kompleks, C, magnesium, dan kalsium.

Formula ini merujuk pada apa yang pernah dibuat seorang dokter dari Baltimore, America Serikat, John Myers, sebagai “Myer's cocktail” yang mengenalkan terapi ini pada tahun 1960-1970 sebagai terapi untuk mengatasi kelelahan, depresi dan nyeri dada.

Lalu, IV merupakan kependekan dari intravenous yang artinya mikornutrisi ini dimasukkan ke dalam tubuh dengan infus lewat pembuluh darah sehingga pelan-pelan tubuh pasien dapat menyerap konsentrasi vitamin yang jumlahnya lebih banyak dibanding bila dikonsumsi lewat oral atau diminum.

Sayang, tak ada yang tahu bagaimana Myer sampai pada kombinasi spesifik ini karena dia tidak mempublikasikan hasil karyanya. Meski begitu, dari berbagai pasien yang pernah mengalami terapi IVMT, mengatakan bahwa terapi ini cukup efektif.

Setelah meninggal tahun 1984, riset atas terapi ini dilakukan oleh Alan Gaby seorang dokter dari Baltimore dan mulai diperkenalkan di seluruh dunia. Menurut Katz, terapi ini tidak bisa berlaku bagi setiap orang. Mereka yang menderita gangguan darah seperti hemofilia, penyakit ginjal, gagal jantung kongestif tidak diperkenankan menjalani terapi ini. Mereka bakal bereaksi negatif terhadap terapi ini akibat kelebihan cairan.

Dalam kebanyakan kasus, terapi yang hanya berlangsung 15 menit dan tidak menimbulkan rasa sakit ini biasa diberikan delapan kali perawatan setiap minggu. Bisa jadi, gejala muncul kembali dan penderita dapat menjalani terapi ini kembali.

Meski para dokter yang menggunakan terapi ini belum bisa menjelaskan dengan komplit kenapa IVMT bisa berhasil, beberapa ilmuwan percaya bahwa konsentrasi tinggi mikronutrisi dapat membantu meningkatkan sistem kekebalan tubuh, mengurangi kerusakan akibat radikal bebas yang menumpuk dalam tubuh, meningkatkan kualitas membran sel, dan meningkatkan prouksi energi sel.

Katz sendiri berhipotesis. Dia percaya bahwa gizi yang kita konsumsi ini membantu pembuluh darah melebar lebih efektif, mendorong aliran darah sehingga lebih lancar menuju ke otot. Tanpa suplai darah yang cukup, otot-otot akan kelaparan oksigen. Karbondioksida dan beberapa racun potensial lain dapat menumpuk di jaringan dan menyebabkan nyeri serta sakit.

“Kami tahu bahwa aktivitas fisik dapat membantu mengurangi fibromyalgia karena latihan fisik meningkatkan aliran darah.” jelas Katz. Dan teori ini menurut Katz menjelaskan kenapa wanita lebih sering mengalami kondisi ini, karena pembuluh darahnya lebih kecil dibanding pria.

Source : Kompas.com


Use Smaller Plates and Lose Weight!

Willpower is overrated. Most dieters I know deprive themselves of food and then beat themselves up when they give in to an inevitable (and also a healthy) urge to eat. Bad cycle! Plus, once starving, they end up eating more than they would have if they’d planned their next meal or snack with a level, not hungry, head.

Why not skip the blame cycle and make it easier to stick to your healthy eating plan? Some of the most creative new weight-loss strategies have nothing to do with food. Switching up the way you serve your meals may actually help you eat less. Try these tricks:

Use smaller plates. Diners given smaller dishes serve themselves smaller portions, researchers at Cornell University Food and Brand Lab in Ithaca, New York, found. And we eat about 92 percent of what we serve ourselves, regardless of the size of the dish, another Cornell study notes. Replace your set of jumbo dinner flying saucers (the average size is 10 to 11 inches) with smaller ones (8 to 9 inches), or use salad plates.

Outsource the kitchen cleanup. If there are three bites of lasagna left on someone’s dish after dinner, chances are, I’m eating them on the way to the dishwasher. (What? Waste food? Not me!) Rather than fight the urge to pop morsels off of your family’s plates into your mouth (rather than the garbage where they belong), assign one of your kids or your significant other to scrape-and-stack duty: They take the plates from the table, scrape what’s left into the trash, and stack them in the sink for you to load into the dishwasher. Also ask them to pack up any leftovers so you won’t nip into those, either. And don’t feel bad about what goes into the garbage—it’s as wasted on your hips as it will be in the garbage can.

Source : Yahoo Health!


The Cereal Weight-Loss Diet

Aside from being convenient, tasty and satisfying, low-sugar cereal is also a fantastic weight-loss food. Whole-grain versions of this convenient morning staple are filling and nutritious.

In fact, a study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association revealed that women who included high-fiber cereal in their low-calorie eating plans lost weight without losing crucial nutrients. Of course, we’re not talking about Cap’n Crunch--(sorry! Who doesn’t love this stuff?)--so read the nutrition panels, since even boxes can be deceiving.

I ran into the store the other day to grab some granola and didn’t have time to dissect the label. I ended up with a box that said it was organic and heart healthy, but when I brought it home, I noticed it also had 14 grams of sugar per serving and 42 grams of carbs in just 2/3 of a cup. I may as well have bought cookies!

What to look for: Go for cereal with at least 5 grams of fiber per serving and less than 10 grams of sugar per 100 calories. Some safe varieties are Kashi GoLean, Fiber One Honey Clusters and Nature’s Path Optimum Slim. And as for granola, Bear Naked makes lots of great flavors with 3 grams of fiber and 5 grams of sugar per serving.

Source : Yahoo!


Sugar Is Not So Sweet

One of the secrets to my recent weight loss has been cutting way down on the amount of sugar I eat. I’m not talking about the natural sugars in fruit and dairy but refined sugars that pop up in processed foods like cookies, brownies and ice cream—yes, I love them all!

My easy way of thinking about food is trying to imagine how many steps it took before reaching my mouth. For example, fruit, veggies or nuts look the same on a bush or tree as they do on my plate (so I eat as much of those as I want), while a processed food, like a Pop-Tart, a bag of Fritos or a pack of Oreos, goes through countless steps before appearing in the vending machine. The fewer the steps, the better I feel about the food.

Your body digests sugar quickly, so your blood sugar level spikes, the hormone insulin rushes in to lower it and, as the tide of sugar recedes, you’re left with a low blood sugar level, which makes you hungry again. Today, check the labels of your favorite foods and ditch anything that has more than 10 grams of sugar per serving. (The exception is dairy, because of naturally occurring milk sugar; it burns slower in any case.) Refined carbs such as bagels and white rice also unleash the spike-and-plummet effect, so try to reach for whole grains whenever possible.

I try to eat food that keeps my blood sugar stable too and work out in a way that spikes my calorie-burn rate. Any activity that includes intervals will do this (which is why I love spinning!). It’s best to sate a sugar craving with a complex carb like fruit, which comes wrapped with fiber. Of course, you can indulge in a little sugar occasionally. I like a bite of decadent chocolate (the darker, the better) for a sweet treat.

Source : Yahoo Health!


4 Tips to Quell Any Craving

Everyone has that one food they can’t get off their mind. For me, it usually involves chocolate (or chocolate chips!). Whatever you have a hankering for, there are ways to avoid giving in to temptation. Here are a few strategies you can try today:

Eat what you love. Outlawing a food makes you more likely to want it. Don’t declare all foods off-limits—just keep portions reasonable. Eat just one cookie (or if they’re tiny—two, max.) Or one scoop is fine—but not three! Just tell yourself, “it’s OK” and not “I’ve blown it, might as well keep eating.” One scoop is easy to walk off—three is a major sweat session!

Redirect your appetite. Replacing one mental image with another will help curb the munchies, says Lisa Dorfman, R.D., of Miami. One fast way to distract your brain is with scent. Catching a whiff of peppermint or eucalyptus stimulates thoughts of being light and healthy, so pop a sugar-free mint, smooth on a scented lotion or light a fragrant candle.

Engage your brain. Read a great book, write in a journal or even play a game such as solitaire or Minesweeper on your cell phone or computer to increase activity in the same areas of your brain that light up when you think about eating, so you can take your mind off food.

Make a deal with yourself. I try to keep my treats portion controlled and have them just once a day. If I have a cookie after lunch, I skip dessert after dinner. It makes it easier to give up my evening bowl of ice cream when I know I can have it tomorrow!


Why Sleeping is (Almost) More Important Than Breathing

I used to pull all-nighters back in college, forcing myself to stay awake to cram for an exam or finish a paper on art history, my major. I did it because I thought it would help me get ahead, but in the end it always set me back—I wound up tired, cranky and unproductive the next day.

Even though I've grown up (and wisened up) since then, I still have trouble convincing myself to crawl into bed at night: I keep a running tally of all the things I haven't crossed off my to-do list—reading manuscripts, prepping for a TV appearance, even laundry! And I'm always tempted to stay up just a bit longer to get everything done before morning.

So what stops me from burning the midnight oil? Not only has personal experience proved that I'll be more stressed (not to mention less chipper) when I'm sleep-deprived, but studies suggest that not getting adequate zzz's can increase your risk for heart disease and depression, and even cause weight gain (ever found yourself heading to the fridge or the vending machine when you're tired? I have!).

Try these tips to help relax before you hit the sack:

Avoid having long conversations on your cell phone before bed: Researchers at Wayne State University in Detroit found that people who were exposed to the slight radiation that emanates from cell phones took longer to fall asleep and spent less time in the deep stages of slumber.

Make Your Bedroom a Haven
Draw the blinds and turn on a fan or a soothing CD of nature noises to block out distracting sounds. Swapping ordinary bedroom bulbs for yellow ones (GE makes a 25-watt version sold at drugstores) can help you feel more tranquil as you're getting ready to nod off. Consider treating yourself to a cozy new comforter or putting flowers on your nightstand so that being in your bedroom—and sleeping!—becomes something you look forward to.

Say Thanks
Once you're under the covers, take two minutes to reflect on the things you're grateful for. Studies show that practicing grateful thinking makes people more optimistic. And going to sleep with happy thoughts will help you sleep more soundly.

Source : Yahoo Health!


Leave Work Earlier and Lose Weight!

This is one weight loss method almost anyone should want to get behind. I know that when I get home late from work, I’m starving and grab whatever food is easiest to eat (my daughter’s mac ’n’ cheese included).

I’m not alone: Women who worked 40-plus hours per week were more likely to gain weight than those who clocked out earlier, reports a study in the International Journal of Obesity. Perhaps leaving early one night per week will inspire you to cook a healthy dinner!

Researchers also think that stress and fatigue may make desk jockeys more apt to eat fast food and less inclined to exercise. (I get it: You deserve a reward for finishing that project or making that deadline.)

Break the cycle in two ways: Start by exercising in the morning (when meetings, play dates and grocery-store trips can’t get in the way). That’s what I do, and it’s one of the best parts of my day. The hour between waking up and getting dressed for work, I slip on my running tights and top, and head out the door--before I’m awake enough to think of excuses to get out of it.

Second, set a time to leave work each day, and make it your goal to do it. There’s always a chance if you don’t, you’ll spread the work out to fill a longer day. Efficiency is a good thing, people! Think of it this way: When you have an important appointment or tickets to a concert, and you know you’ll have to leave early to make it, you bust your hump to get everything done and exit on time.

Plan your quitting time that way every day, and you’ll make it home earlier to prepare a healthy dinner, get to bed earlier and make time to work out first thing tomorrow! Let me know how it’s going!


Sweat Away Stress!

It may sound surprising coming from the editor-in-chief of SELF, but one of the major reasons I exercise is to beat stress. Seriously, if I go more than 48 hours without my usual morning run around Central Park with my collie-retriever mix, Jenny, at my heels, I start to feel anxious and short-tempered. That's when I know I need to get outside and move, if even just for half an hour. After 30 minutes of heart pumping, I can feel my stress disappearing. And when I'm finished, I feel as if I can weather almost anything that comes my way, especially at work.

At SELF, we've reported on a raft of studies that support the idea that exercise has a powerful impact on mood. To name just a few:

1. A recent article in the journal Nature Medicine reported that cardiovascular activity stimulates a specific area in the brain that controls mood and stress (it was an animal study, but hey, I'm willing to extrapolate—we're all just animals with mortgages!).
2. People who suffer from panic attacks who took a 30-minute walk when they felt on the verge of a meltdown were twice as likely to dodge an anxiety episode as those who rested quietly.
3. Researchers at the University of Georgia at Athens found that the more workouts people managed to fit in each week, the more energetic they felt.

So how much exercise does it take to lift your spirits? As I mentioned, 30 to 45 minutes a day does it for me, and a study at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas suggests that walking as little as 2 miles a day, every day, can help boost your mood.

But remember, every step counts. So next time you're feeling stressed or anxious, lace up your sneaks and get your body moving.

Source : Yahoo Health!


De-Stress in Mere Minutes

I'm not necessarily the meditating type — sitting still and doing absolutely nothing is a personal form of torture for me. (I find this out every time I'm on vacation!) But I know I need to reconsider: Studies have shown that aside from reducing stress and boosting mood, meditation can ease chronic pain and improve your immune system. You don't have to spend hours on end to become calmer, either. Try these simple, quick ways to savor the moment. No "Om" required!

In the shower

Face the water, letting it cascade onto your head. Take three deep, slow breaths. Pay attention to the sensation of the spray, the smell of your soap and shampoo, and the sound of water hitting the tub. Imagine you're bringing your troubles to your skin's surface and washing them away. Close your eyes and slowly repeat, "I feel refreshed," aloud three times, focusing on each word and savoring your serene, clean feeling before stepping out.

At your desk
Close your eyes and take five deep, relaxing breaths, emphasizing the exhale. Try this visualization technique, which I learned in sports: Consider the task you're about to tackle. Call to mind a talent of yours (creativity, diligence, enthusiasm) that will be key to succeeding at the task. Evaluating your resources will help you marshal your efforts and succeed. Before you open your eyes and get started, envision the assignment completed and done well. It will be soon!

While walking
Before you set out (sans iPod and cell phone), straighten up and tuck your tummy and your rear end in to feel taller. Walk slowly, focusing on each body part in isolation. First tune in to your knees as each one bends and raises, then your hips as they shift and rotate, and next the heel and ball of your foot as it meets the ground. Then focus on your arms next as they pump, then your neck, which is elongated. Pay attention to your stride for at least 10 minutes. By reconnecting to your body, you'll arrive revived. Another great way to be mindful while you exercise is through yoga — take our "Find Your Yoga Style" quiz to figure out which kind compliments your lifestyle best.

On your commute
Raise your eyebrows and hold for a count of three. Let it go and take a deep breath. Do this twice. (Don't worry, the wrinkles won't stay!) Repeat with each body part, tensing and relaxing your shoulders, your arms, moving downward along your body. Sit quietly, noticing how relaxed your muscles — and mind — feel when you're through. Relaxed muscles require less oxygen, so your breathing will slow and your heart rate and blood pressure will also decline. As your body falls naturally into a state of calm, your mood will follow suit.

Souce : Yahoo Health!