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Rituals of Tea

Rituals of Tea

Tea has always been a large part of my life. My love of tea was instilled by my Mom and Dad, who created an amalgamation of Indian and English tea time rituals to America.  Tea time was always looked forward too at the house as it allowed me to forget about the stress of living in a new country and remember my roots as an Indian and Englishwoman. To this day I will always make time in the morning and in the evening for a nice warm cup of tea.

Chai – the drink India can’t live without

In India, chai is more than just a cup of tea to start the day – the thick sweet drink is an integral part of the rhythm of life. Zach Marks and Resham Gellatly have been documenting the culture of Indian chai and the people who sell it – known as chai wallahs.

One hand taking tea from another handImage copyrightRESHAM GELLATLY

Tea is India’s most popular drink – the country consumes 837,000 tonnes of it every year. The ritual of drinking chai transcends all boundaries, and roadsides are dotted with chai wallahs who serve it boiled up with spices, sugar and milk.

Straining teaImage copyrightZACH MARKS AND RESHAM GELLATLY

Santosh strains a vat of boiling chai at his shop in Mumbai. Since he began selling tea 15 years ago, the area has changed dramatically. Many of the small businesses where Santosh once delivered chai have been replaced by large office buildings which he can’t enter. But many people working in the new developments have become regular customers, preferring Santosh’s chai made with thick milk and fresh ginger to the tea bags available in their offices.

GingerImage copyrightZACH MARKS AND RESHAM GELLATLY

A popular ingredient in north Indian chai, ginger is believed to have numerous health benefits and is thought to keep your body warm in winter. The spicy root has been used in hot, milk-based beverages in India for hundreds of years, so when the British popularised tea in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, adding ginger to the mix was a natural thing to do.

Shobhan BarwaImage copyrightZACH MARKS AND RESHAM GELLATLY

Shobhan Barwa’s stand is in the heart of Alipore, a posh neighbourhood in Calcutta. During the annual Hindu festival of Durga Puja, crowds flock here to see the elaborate pandals – temporary structures housing Hindu deities. He usually closes shop by 22:00, but for the week of Durga Puja, he stays open until 05:00 serving chai, eggs and French toast to visitors who need a caffeine kick to keep them going through the night.

BaghbazarImage copyrightRESHAM GELLATLY

On the final day of the festival, thousands join a procession to the Hooghly River where giant statues of Hindu gods and goddesses are immersed in the water. Last year, though, celebration turned to tragedy – a young man drowned when a statue fell on him at Baghbazaar. People gathered at a nearby chai stand to mourn his death.

Kulhars and potsImage copyrightZACH MARKS AND RESHAM GELLATLY

Several decades ago, chai was served in small clay pots, known as kulhar in Hindi or bhar in Bengali. While the bowls are still popular in Calcutta, plastic cups, tiny glasses and steel tumblers have become the vessels of choice across most of India.

RukmaniImage copyrightZACH MARKS AND RESHAM GELLATLY

Born on a tea estate in Kotagiri in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, Rukmani has been plucking tea leaves all her life. As the eldest member of her group of female workers, she is called Amma, or mother. At lunchtime Amma prepares black chai over a fire of twigs with tea dust provided by a nearby factory.

GaneshImage copyrightZACH MARKS AND RESHAM GELLATLY

Ganesh, a chai wallah at the railway station in Patna in Bihar state, brews one of his last pots of the night. Many Indians associate rail travel with the cries of “chai, chai,” from tea sellers carrying kettles along trains and platforms. Ganesh has memorised the local timetable and often gives travellers directions as well as a cup of chai.

Chai stall in VaranasiImage copyrightZACH MARKS AND RESHAM GELLATLY

Chai stands are often family businesses spanning many generations. The owner of this tea stall in Varanasi, one of India’s oldest and holiest cities, took over the business when his father passed away and keeps his memory alive by hanging a fresh garland of marigolds every morning.

Varanasi burning ghatImage copyrightZACH MARKS AND RESHAM GELLATLY

Lalu Yadav has seen hundreds of thousands of cremations – his chai stand is next to Manikarnika Ghat, a cremation ground by the sacred Ganges river in Varanasi. Many Hindus believe it is an auspicious place to die and the people who come here to wait out their last days ensure the fires of Manikarnika burn bright day and night. Lalu’s father started the tea stand 40 years ago, offering mourning families a place to sit and sip chai during cremations. For him, constant proximity to death has become part of life. “There is no sadness here. We are used to seeing this 24 hours a day. These are only bodies.”

Photographs by Resham Gellatly and Zach Marks – you can see more pictures and read their blog at chaiwallahsofindia.com.

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Traveling Light

Traveling Light

My son and I are  currently getting ready to visit  family  in England.  The stressful part of traveling is always “What Do I pack”?  I usually overpack but we can only have 1 suitcase per person, so my son and I will have to pack light.

Read article below for tips for if you plan on  vacationing this summer:

Summer can be a glorious time in England, with warm, sunny days, blue skies and English gardens in full bloom. But don’t count on it — summer can also be chilly, rainy and blustery. If you’re traveling to England during the summer, pack for the varied weather and be ready for anything.

English Weather

England is part of the island of Great Britain, and being surrounded by water helps keep the climate moderate. Summer temperatures average from a low in the mid-50s Fahrenheit to highs in the mid-70s, with an occasional heat wave. The farther north you go or the higher in elevation, the cooler it will be. Summer days are also long, with June sunrise in London as early as 4:30 a.m. and sunset as late as 9:30 p.m. Rain is always a possibility; the Lake District is the wettest region, while mountainous areas are more likely to be cloudy or foggy.

Women’s Clothing

Interchangeable separates in neutral colors are always a good choice, so pack basic black pants and another pair in navy, gray or khaki, as well as jeans for casual wear. Add a couple of casual tops and at least one dressy blouse. A lightweight sweater or fleece top for warmth comes in handy; you can wear either under your waterproof jacket or raincoat, which is an essential item to pack. If your raincoat is hooded, so much the better, as rainy days can also be windy; although a collapsible umbrella can come in handy, it can also be difficult to handle when the wind gusts. A pair of hiking boots you’ve already broken in or a dark pair of athletic shoes will keep you comfy if you’re doing a lot of walking. Add a pair of dressy flats or heels to go with a dress or a skirt that you can pair with your dressy blouse, and you’ll be ready for anything without having to drag a heavy suitcase after you. A scarf, a belt and some jewelry will allow you to change your look without adding bulk to your packing. Throw in a bathing suit — after all, it is summer.

Men’s Clothing

Men also need separates they can mix and match; a couple of pairs of dark slacks with some knit shirts will cover most needs. Jeans are perfectly acceptable for casual wear. Make sure you have at least one long-sleeved knit top to layer under a sweater or fleece top, and be sure to pack that raincoat. A dress shirt will serve for most occasions, but pack a sport coat if you’re going to be dining in fine restaurants — to some extent, the better you’re dressed, the better you’ll be treated. You’re unlikely to need a tie on vacation, but they’re small, so throw one in just in case. Hiking boots or dark athletic shoes will work for everyday use; add a pair of dress shoes, too. Bring your swim trunks, but stick with a shorts style rather than briefs.

Additional Considerations

A major consideration in determining what to wear is what you plan to be doing. Obviously, if you are going to England for a business meeting, you’ll need to bring your suit or other business attire. If you plan to spend time at the seaside, consider a lightweight coverup and some sturdy sandals — some beach areas are rocky, and you want to stay safe. Another good option for rain protection is a hat. If you’re going to stay for more than a few days but want to keep your luggage light, think about lightweight basics you can wash out and let dry overnight. If you know you’re a bit messy and will be eating on the go, a print or plaid shirt may help hide your slips. And, of course, don’t forget underwear, socks, nightwear and sunglasses.

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Aishwarya Rai Weight Loss Diet!

Aishwarya Rai Weight Loss Diet!

Aishwarya Rai Weight Loss Diet and Workout Routine

Aishwarya Rai Weight Loss Diet

Aishwarya has already stunned everyone with her sensuous, bold, seductress avatar in Karan Johar’s directorial venture ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil.’ And now at Cannes Film Festival 2017, she has proved once again that she is the queen of Bollywood. From flying kisses to elegant poses, she looked every inch a royal princess. She got a very good response after this amazing body transformation. All thanks to Aishwarya Rai weight loss!

There was a time when Aishwarya Rai’s tremendous post pregnancy weight grabbed many eyeballs. She was criticized for her weight gain post baby but she chose to ignore the haters and prioritized her family and child over her looks.

Aishwarya Rai’s message on Motherhood

The Bachchan bahu spoke vastly about motherhood. She said, “I didn’t over think the fact that I had put on weight. I didn’t do anything as expected of someone who came with all the adages as me. There’s a lot of glamour and a lot of visual that is attached to me. But I stayed committed to my reality. If my body did go through this change, so be it. I didn’t play into the stereotype of what is possible. It’s an individual choice if people decide to go under the knife. I had access to that but I chose not to. I was genuinely comfortable in my skin and I got recognition along the way. Women who met me publicly, thanked me for the fact that I was giving them strength to be comfortable with the natural change. Hormonally anything can happen to a woman, your body can go through change and it’s important to remain comfortable and not let it affect you psychologically. My comfort and my conviction to just say true, in turn, gave strength to so many women. Suddenly, it’s okay to put on weight. It’s okay that your body changes physically from health reasons or otherwise and it’s okay to choose to dress the way you want to. I am happy with my weight and I love my daughter.”

Aishwarya Rai With Her Daughter Aaradhya

Now, Aishwarya Rai is back with a bang. After widespread criticism over her baby fat, she has transformed herself. The celebrity mother has lost all the weight she gained during and after pregnancy and is looking fitter than ever. Take a look at her fairytale appearance at Cannes, 2017.

Aishwarya Rai at Cannes 2017

Aishwarya Rai Weight Loss

Aishwarya Rai Cannes 2017

 

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan Cannes 2017

 

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan Diet

 

Spellbound! Isn’t she mesmerizing?
But how did she manage to flaunt a slim, graceful figure with no remains of the pregnancy baggage? Let’s check out –

Aishwarya Rai’s weight loss DIET

BREAKFAST

Aishwarya Rai’s weight loss secret is that she never skips her breakfast. She starts her day with warm water, with lemon and honey in it. It is a great way to revive your metabolism.

In breakfast, she takes brown bread toast or a steaming bowl of freshly cooked oats. Oatmeal is considered a healthy whole grain and contains high levels of protein and fiber.

LUNCH

Her lunch normally consists of boiled vegetables which are easy to digest, full of nutrients, contains little or no fat and flavorful. Sometimes she also takes a bowl of dal as well as one chapati. Aishwarya says -“I can survive on dal, chawal and vegetables”.

DINNER

She prefers to eat very light for the dinner and eats a cup of brown rice and grilled fish. Brown rice has high fiber content and is more healthier than white rice. Thus helps in burning more fat and decreases the chances of overeating by satisfying the appetite. Grilled fish provides the required protein and omega 3 fatty acids.

Apart from this, Aishwarya keeps her portion in control and prefers smaller meals throughout the day. She strictly avoids any fatty, junk or fried foods. Instead prefers fruits, vegetables, and fresh juices. She keeps herself hydrated by having 8 glasses of water per day. She tries to maintain a fat-free diet which not only accentuates her figure but also brings a glow to her skin.

ALSO READ: Amazing Diet Secrets Of Shilpa Shetty.

Aishwarya Rai weight loss WORKOUT ROUTINE

Aishwarya is not a regular gym going person and doesn’t follow any workout routine. In one of her interviews, she admitted that she was never serious about the workout and never worked hard to achieve a toned and lean figure. Actually, she never wanted a lean figure and feels happy in her curvaceous body. It seems her figure is all because of her good genes.

But if at any time she feels this need for the perfect body she attends gym twice a week. Aishwarya prefers yoga over workouts. She believes in the method of eating right and practicing yoga. According to her, yoga is the best way to keep the body powerful and so as flexible.

Aishwarya Rai's Weight Loss

  • Aishwarya Rai’s weight loss workout routine starts with brisk walking or jogging in the morning.
  • After this, she devotes 45 minutes to yoga which includes power yoga.
  • Sometimes she also does functional training along with full cardio workouts at home.

 

 

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Shoe Trends Spring/Summer 2017

Shoe Trends Spring/Summer 2017

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends

We have absolutely loved the shows that allowed you to see it and buy it now as well, something a few rather top designers had signed up for and one that we are very happy to see sweeping the industry. But more than anything else, it was the spring/ summer 2017 footwear trends that had us super excited, since they appeared in so many styles and brought back so many memories from days long gone. After all, it is not an everyday sight to have designer logos as the heels of your favorite pumps.

Spring 2017 shoes are cool and hip and sometimes even totally in line with the latest social trends as well, such as that Marc Jacobs Pokemon platform that brings the latest Pokemon Go fad to mind. We see such intriguing creations throughout that we cannot help but think that the shoes are what will make or break your wardrobe half the time at least during the spring of 2017.

They are colorful and interesting, creatively done and sometimes with a fairy tale twist, like the bright green stiletto body contouring boots at Balenciaga. We even saw crocs on the runways and it has thrown us for a spin!

The top spring/ summer 2017 shoe trends we discovered on the Fashion Week runways include but are not limited to:

#1: Platforms All Over

One of the top summer 2017 shoe trends to pull into focus is the platform trend, adding height and loveliness to just about any shoe that appears on the runways. We see them in breathable boots in monochromatic colors at Salvatore Ferragamo.

Erdem’s snakeskin combination with ankle lacing and gorgeous platform heels certainly gets us thinking about statement footwear to match with some of the plainer designer dresses we saw on those spectacular runway shows. Proenza Schouler, Miu Miu and so many more did awesome work in their adaptations of this particularly popular shoe style.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Platform Shoes

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Platform Shoes

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Platform Shoes

#2: Those Kitten Heels

There is nothing sexier than giving just a hint of something special, and kitten heels have long been that perfect little formula to add an arch without hurting the feet and create an air of adorable mystery. Whether those lovely spring 2017 footwear designs are branded steppers or strappy sandals worn with sheer tights, this is a look that most of the top designers have added to their repertoires.

Celine’s darling heels are way cool in and of themselves, worn with sheer stockings and adhering to the stocking with sandal trend as well. Dior’s got its logos shown strongly, while it’s all about the party in comfort at Miu Miu.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Shoes with Kitten Heels

#3: Flatforms with Quirk

You know about the platforms, but how do you feel about the flat versions? With flatform heels and a flat sole, these are a platform and flats combination that took over the spring 2017 shoe trends throughout the Fashion Weeks. Brands really were not shy about flats it seems, and crazy prints with crazy embellishments were totally in.

Gucci’s Oriental designs and ankle straps were certainly something we could invest in. Flatforms with a shiny advantage are literally all glittered up at Balmain as well, giving the footwear all the height and none of the pitch we are used to with other heels.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Flatform Shoes

#4: Thin Stilettos

Okay, we get it… this is a season of contrasts. If you can wear one style, you most certainly can wear the opposite. In the clothing that meant both shoulder pads and transparent materials, both miniskirts and long midis, etc.

In shoes, it means both the chunky awesomeness that provides comfort and the slim chicness that is all about the delicate femininity of the woman. It means open-toe sandals with stockings at Altuzarra and thigh-high boots that really hug the legs tight at Gucci and Balenciaga.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Stiletto Heels

#5: Rounded Heels

There is just something about geometrically shaped heels that gets our blood boiling and seeing the spring 2017 footwear trends including the circular designs was certainly pleasantly surprising. It has appeared in previous seasons as well, but the trend combinations are what make them awesome here.

Color blocking with Jacquemus, for example, put the black, white and nude pieces that are all about chunky meets dainty at the top of the shopping list.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Shoes with Rounded Heels

#6: Branded Footwear

The summer 2017 shoe trends would not be complete without the branding that has taken over the runways over the latest Fashion Week shows all over the world. We see cute little kitten heels with “J’ADIOR” straps on the Dior showcasing, while many others add their labels to the heels or all around the footwear they have their models’ feet clad in.

As for Saint Laurent, it appears that sometimes the heels are a great way to show off your logo and still appear as cool as possible.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Branded Logo Shoes

#7: Sandals With Socks

This trend was all over the runways during the spring 2017 presentations at Fashion Week. We see all kinds of creations here, from Givenchy’s laced up yellow sandals worn with thick brown socks to a look that is entirely unexpected, creating a boot out of a synthetic sock-like material that is worn with strappy barely there stiletto sandals.

Celine’s funky slider and latex sock looks created sock boots that are simply to die for. We have to admit though, sometimes the stockings with sandals really was cool, especially when the stockings were graffiti tights and the sandals had some really funky heels as per Libertine’s imaginings brought to the New York runway.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Sandals with Socks

#8: Socks and Boots

We see socks and sandals quite a bit, but it is the socks and boots that is the top trend to focus on here, whether as separates or fused together. There are some incredibly gorgeous pieces that really look so very lovely on the legs, emphasizing the best parts of the lower limbs and creating some intriguing textures with corresponding coloring.

Fendi’s very fall-like footwear is definitely at the top of the list here, whereas we see something that is less expected, with more loafer-like entirely synthetic shoes mixed in with over-the-knee sock-like additions that are totally a main part of the DKNY footwear masterpieces.

Western boots and colorful socks can also be paired together quite comfortably this spring if Anna Sui’s fashion sense is at all to be taken into consideration.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Boots with Socks

#9: Sheer Tights with Strappy Sandals

Sheer socks and tights are also in this season and we are wondering what to do with it. After all, it has been so taboo to wear them sheer with sandals for so long, it is strange to see this trend taking center stage.

Open toes and ankle straps are not only okay, but entirely recommended for the spring and summer of 2017! That was clearly seen at Celine, where banana yellow single-toe-strap and ankle-strap sandals were paired with sheer black stockings. Altuzarra’s red divinity also proves that stockings can be colorful and playful and also have dark toe covers. Who would have thought?

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Sandals with Tights

#10: Those Sock Boots

Okay, we saw boots with socks and some other funky designs, but this really does need its own category. It is a boot that literally looks like it is made from a sock in a shoe or something similar, it is a cozy trend and a sometimes rather not so pretty one as we noticed at Loewe. Fendi had some awesome athleisure though, and Dolce & Gabbana’s designs were super hot, black lace stilettoes and all.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Sock Boots

#11: Shiny Shoe Goodness

We like to shine our boots and shoes and go out for the night or day all the time. But when that shine suddenly takes on a new meaning, it appears that it is a party day in and day out. Whether we are talking ruffles on pretty stilettos like with Saint Laurent or gold and silver disco-ready flatforms from Balmain, this is one spring/ summer 2017 shoe trend that we can really have a lot of fun with, especially if we make the shoes the statement of the outfit for the day.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Metallic & Shiny Shoes

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Metallic & Shiny Shoes

#12: Breathable Footwear

We see a lot of boots and shoes especially that allow for breathing room with holes all over or a mesh creation. We even see Crocs throughout the weeks with their holes that allow the feet to really let the air in. Salvatore Ferragamo brought in the monochromatic color trend along with the breathable boots, while black lace sock boots came into effect on the Dolce & Gabbana runway, looking totally fabulous.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Shoes with Cutouts & Mesh

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Shoes with Cutouts & Mesh

#13: Tying/ Strapping Round the Ankles

It appears that the ankles are a great part of the body to emphasize come spring 2017. Whether we are looking at thick wraparounds in leather or thicker single straps in snakeskin, we see many top designers creating their masterpieces in a way that both shows off skin and covers beautifully, sometime chunky, sometimes dainty, but very often bringing the gaze to that slimmest part of the legs.

House of Holland’s panel play and gingham designs are really cool, the looks made light and springy and entirely perfect with this ankle strapped trend. From the ruffles of Saint Laurent to the buckles of Attico, the wrapping around the ankle trend is as huge as it can get.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Shoes with Ankle Straps & Ties

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Shoes with Ankle Straps & Ties

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Shoes with Ankle Straps & Ties

#14: Laced up and Bound

We get to see a whole lot of spring/ summer 2017 shoe trends, where the shoes are laced up either tightly or showing whatever is underneath, worn with socks and stockings and open backs or simply looking awesome in the sandals or boots sections. Givenchy gives us some intriguing designs to choose from, while it was all about the athletic boots come Dior’s sexy presentations.

As for Versace, it is athleisure at its finest, with a whole lot of fashionable heel options, the colors of the boot laces matching the clothing and handbags perfectly. As for the Western trend that was huge for the spring as well, there are some boots to match it, with J.W. Anderson offering us a range of mid-calf laced up boots in suede and leather.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Lace-Up Shoes

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Lace-Up Shoes

#15: Open Back Footwear

Whether as part of the chunky collections with ankle straps that are nice and thick, or with thin strands around that slender area and riddled with colors and patterns, the open back footwear is totally in and we are not just talking mules either, though those certainly do make an appearance.

Givenchy gives the trend a whole new look really with laced up mules that sport kitten heels and are worn with thick socks underneath. Pretty snazzy, if you ask me.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Open-Back Shoes

#16: The Bane of the “Ugly” Shoes

What makes a shoe ugly? That is hard to say and is entirely subjective, but many have called Crocs and Uggs utter abominations, despite them being some of the most comfortable footwear on the market.

It creates strong emotions for or against really, and seeing the Crocs at Christopher Kane or the Uggs at Preen definitely has us either thanking or cursing the designers. No matter what one thinks about these “ugly” creations, they are in style, they are going to be on the streets, and it is just best to embrace it all.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Ugly Shoes & Crocs

#17: Making the Varsity Team

Athletic inspirations have been huge all across the runway trends, from the clothing to the accessories and most especially the spring/ summer 2017 shoe trends. It is an unexpected footwear option but one which we certainly can enjoy to the maximum. Whether we are looking at boxer boots or built-in socks, the season is calling for sneakers.

White boots that go up to the knees, all laced up, appear at Dior in a lovely manner, whereas DKNY makes athleisure look so very comfortable that fashion has met its match. Fendi’s sock and boot combination is by far one of our very favorites though, even if we think this would totally look better as part of the Christmas trends as opposed to the spring of 2017.

The white sneakers in general caught peoples’ attention and have been given their own category time and again. Tommy Hilfiger has some pretty awesome pieces in this style along with Bands of Outsiders and Lacoste.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Sports Shoes

#18: Leather for Warm Weather

Vibrant shades are a common look for the spring 2017 shoe trends, and it is the leather boots from the winter season that seem to make a very pronounced appearance on the Fashion Week runways.

Whether we are looking at the square toes of Balenciaga, or the rounded versions in orange coming up to the ankles at Celine, warm weather boots are a real thing and the colors are what make them so attractive for the average fashion lover. Honestly, near all the boots, and there were quite a few, were leather designed and meant to keep you fashionably warm.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Leather Shoes & Boots

#19: Skinning Snakes

There is a rather intriguing spring 2017 footwear trend out there and it has everything to do with snakeskin. Really interesting creations have been brought to the Fashion Week runways as such, including some crazy picks from Marc Jacobs and some half and half looks as per Louis Vuitton, appearing very tastefully to mix green snakeskin across the back of the foot with nude triangle toe leather over the front.

Snakeskin and rivets looks pretty amazing at 3.1 Phillip Lim in the bootie section, while Rodarte’s panel play on the boots was more than appealing, with the combination of simple leather and snakeskin.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Snakeskin Shoes & Boots

#20: Shoes with Funky Heels

Non-geometric designs are a common theme to shoes during every Fashion Week and it was no less a trend during the spring 2017 offerings. Loewe rather enjoys playing with the heels it appears and it was cool to see the slight swirls there.

It got totally Western when we consider the Alexander McQueen shiny chrome additions with rivets, as well as the slightly askew totally square appearing heels at J.W. Anderson. Saint Laurent had heels made out in the brand’s logo that looked pretty rad as well.

And if anyone is into circular kitten heels with ribbons and open toes, Dries Van Noten has the right fit, or not, for you. Hood by Air even had heels that imitated the actual shoes, while Kenzo brought springs to barely there red strappy sandals. As for having wales on the heels, we can thank Thom Browne for that.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Shoes with Funky Heels

#21: Thigh-High Boots

Thigh highs were not as common as we would have thought when it comes to the spring/ summer 2017 shoe trends, but the body contouring style of some of the pieces, particularly seen at Gucci and Balenciaga were certainly something to catch the eyes. They were sexy and like second skins, seen in spandex and patent leather, the latex culture gaining new right out of them. Really, it was quite intriguing and way too beautiful to pass up.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Thigh-High Boots

#22: Slider Comfort Fantasy

Flip-flops were once a huge thing on the streets, particularly in the ‘90s. Now, we have some funky sliders appearing instead, something we noticed last spring as well. They are flats with a laid back presentation and updated for the summer with sequins and floral designs.

Prada, Lanvin, Dolce & Gabbana, as well as Miu Miu have all joined the fantasy slider club and it’s so dang comfortable. One of our favorite slider looks though came from Tory Burchand it was a pearly creation that was so dearly feminine we could not look away.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Slide Sandals

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Slide Sandals

#23: Bows, Feathers, Ruffles and Ribbons

Shiny and ruffled would not be the first choice of embellishment that we would pick for the spring/ summer 2017 shoes, but Saint Laurent certainly makes good use of the eccentricity of the style on simple stiletto ankle-bound shoes in black that make the legs look gorgeous.

The ruffles on footwear design actually appears multiple times on different shows throughout the Fashion Weeks, landing it among the top summer 2017 shoe trends. We get to see bows and ribbons all around as well, with some very lovely footwear creations, such as the comfortable looking flower embellished Dries Van Noten shoes or the feathery creations that almost look like home slippers at Anna Sui.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Ruffles, Bow & Feather Embellished Shoes

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Ruffles, Bow & Feather Embellished Shoes

#24: Footwear for the Future

We saw some really futuristic boots as well on the runways, to match with the futuristic clothing designs that were ample. Storm troopers and space warriors were rather a common look it appears, with Chanel channeling the inner Star Wars fighter, Louis Vuitton focusing on the half leather and half reptile creations, and Dior delving into futuristic silver athleisure.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Futuristic Shoes

#25: Oriental Inspirations

Chinese and Japanese inspirations came to the spring/ summer 2017 shoes and sandals throughout the Fashion Week shows around the world, from strappy traditional-meets-flatform looks at Gucci to the totally synthetic comfort flatforms at Prada and the shiny version with ankle straps at Versace. The neo-geta sandals were great reinterpretations and spotted on catwalks everywhere.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Oriental Neo-Geta Shoes

#26: Moroccan Slippers

Also known as Babouche slippers, there were a whole lot of the flat grandmother style pieces that brought the Middle East to mind. It is a minimalist version this time around though and over appeared in color blocks or simple black, seen beautifully covering the feet at Narciso Rodriguez, showing off the heels at Dior and offering a bit of toe cleavage at Haider Ackermann as well.

They are quite lovely to wear out when you want to keep your height low, and totally comfortable to be getting your daily chores done while feeling like a mature woman.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Moroccan Babouche Style Shoes

Photos courtesy of Vogue, Livingly

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Kim Kardashian And Beauty Line

Photo

Kim Kardashian West at the Forbes Women’s Summit in New York earlier this month. On Wednesday, she will introduce her new cosmetics line, KKW Beauty. CreditAngela Weiss/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

When it comes to beauty influencers, Kim Kardashian West can be credited as a pioneer. With her longtime makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic, she lauded the benefits of contouring (that old-school stage-makeup method of using darker base shades or bronzer to chisel and define features) early on. But unlike her half sister Kylie Jenner, whose Kylie Cosmetics line had its debut two years ago and has enjoyed booming success, Ms. Kardashian held herself apart from the legions of social media tastemakers turned solo makeup entrepreneurs — until now.

On Wednesday, Ms. Kardashian will introduce KKW Beauty with one product: perhaps unsurprisingly, the Crème Contour and Highlight Kit, with a contour stick, a highlighter stick and a brush/sponge, all with dual ends. It will be sold exclusively at KKWBeauty.com in four shades for $48 each.

Though Ms. Kardashian is no stranger to beauty brand extensions — she has her own fragrance line, and she and her sisters licensed their name for Kardashian Beauty and Kardashian Tan — this is the first time she has had full control over all the particulars, including product, packaging and image. Further, she intends the business to become a full-blown line, with several products already in the pipeline.

The rollout has not come off without a hitch, however. Last week, Ms. Kardashian posted a promotional image of herself on Twitter, in a cream-colored bra top and high ponytail, looking very contoured and very, very tan, prompting allegations that she had darkened her skin. Or, to put it more bluntly, that she was essentially wearing blackface.

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Ms. Kardashian will introduce her line with one product, the Crème Contour and Highlight Kit. CreditBen Hasset

But certainly no one is betting against Ms. Kardashian, who has proved adept at capitalizing on controversy in the past. Here, she responds to the blackface Twitter storm and explains how her own beauty evolution is reflected in KKW Beauty.

You’re not the first social media star to start her own line. Why were you slower to the game?

I had a line with my sisters, and we were in a licensing deal and a partnership, and it took time to get out of that. Right after, I said, “Hey guys, I want to do something on my own.” Kylie had just started her lip kits, my mom and Kylie had found a really great business model and found great partners. I learned so much from them.

Does that mean you’re going to work with the same manufacturer as Kylie?

Yes, I’m working with the same manufacturer. I’ve had a relationship with them for a while actually. But the lines, they’re totally separate. We don’t really talk to each other about what we’re doing and what our formulas are.

Mario, your makeup artist, recently signed on with Laura Mercier. With the introduction of your line, will you continue to work together?

Mario and I, we’re like family. We started in this together. We are so close that no matter what, we will always get advice from each other. I literally FaceTimed him at 2 a.m. the other day with a million swatches on my face. I was like, “I can’t decide which swatch and what shade this product should be,” and he told me which was best.

You two have been moving toward a more natural look, with less contour.

Yes, but I’ve always stayed true to contour. I’d say that for the past six months, I haven’t been wearing much makeup, but I try to have a little bit of a bronzy look that’s really beautiful and really creamy-looking. That’s why the sticks are cream. There’s no setting powder. But you can make it a heavier contour by adding a setting powder on top of the cream contour.

Why did you move to a more low-maintenance look?

Having kids really changes it up.

A lot of the social media-driven brands are targeting a younger shopper — more a 20-something millennial — but perhaps the quality of the product isn’t there. Being a mom, and being in your 30s, what’s your focus going to be?

When we get to my concealers, I’ll have anti-aging formulas. That’s really important to me — and, of course, the quality. In the beginning, this line will really be about all the correcting and perfecting tricks I’ve learned. There’s the cream contour. There will also be powder contour and undereye concealer. I’ve always had dark undereye circles from being Armenian. These are the things I feel like I’ve really perfected.

Definitely that’s part of your image. Speaking of image, tell me about your side to the blackface controversy.

I would obviously never want to offend anyone. I used an amazing photographer and a team of people. I was really tan when we shot the images, and it might be that the contrast was off. But I showed the image to many people, to many in the business. No one brought that to our attention. No one mentioned it.

Of course, I have the utmost respect for why people might feel the way they did. But we made the necessary changes to that photo and the rest of the photos. We saw the problem, and we adapted and changed right away. Definitely I have learned from it.

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High School Graduation 2017!

High School Graduation 2017!

Our Son graduates today!  Congratulations to you and your fellow classmates and Keep UP The Good Work in your new journey!

Advice for graduating high school seniors: Don’t romanticize college

April 25

 

May 1st is the day that graduating high school seniors who have been accepted to college and who have a choice to make are supposed to commit to a school. For those students who think their life depends on the choice they make, here is some advice from a college admission counselor who has worked for years helping students apply to and choose colleges. He is Brennan Barnard, director of college counseling at the Derryfield School, a private college preparatory day school for grades 6-12 in Manchester, N.H.

 

By Brennan Barnard

We’ve all been there — love at first sight; eyes locking from across the room, that familiar rush of warmth and dizziness, the skies that suddenly seem that much brighter. It is tricky enough when our infatuation leads to unrealistic ideals of perfection in a partner, but it’s downright dangerous when we fall in love with a college this way.  For high school students this idealism is quite common as they develop romanticized expectations of the perfect school.

In my job as a high school college counselor, I see this same dynamic play out every year.  Students have spent considerable energy and emotion on pinning, planning and applying to college.  For some it has been years of allowing college admission to dictate choices and rule the day.  They have gone to great lengths to master tests, stretch themselves academically and exhaust themselves with extracurricular involvement with the goal of impressing admission committees.

After all of this effort, there is an expectation of perfection that simply does not exist.

Choosing a college in not dissimilar to choosing a life partner, and just as no marriage is flawless, the perfect college is but a myth.   Last spring, author Alain de Botton wrote an op-ed for the New York Times about Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person.”  He argued that, “It’s one of the things we are most afraid might happen to us. We go to great lengths to avoid it. And yet we do it all the same: We marry the wrong person.”

This will be my message to high school seniors this year:  No college is perfect and if they start with that premise, they will be less likely to face disappointment.

Botton writes: “The problem is that before marriage, we rarely delve into our complexities. Whenever casual relationships threaten to reveal our flaws, we blame our partners and call it a day.”

I see this increasingly every year from students who are either paralyzed by college choice or who just months in are having buyer’s remorse.   Instead, students must embrace the complexities of college life and opportunity and accept the imperfections.

So what if a student does pick the wrong college? In some ways, it is inevitable, because no school is perfect. Botton contends that in marriage, picking the wrong partner doesn’t mean we need to extricate ourselves. Instead he suggests that we abandon “the founding Romantic idea upon which the Western understanding of marriage has been based the last 250 years: that a perfect being exists who can meet all our needs and satisfy our every yearning.”

Likewise, though it may be “the best four years of your life,” any single college will not meet every need and desire that one has for an education.  This is why internships, study abroad, graduate school and other opportunities exist — to provide outlets for one’s yearning. For other disillusioned college students who are so unhappy, they are transferring — alot.  A 2015 report by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center found that more than a third of college students transfer and that nearly half of those do it more than once.

Perhaps a college has most of what a student is looking for academically or socially but the location or food or athletic spirit do not meet expectations.  Instead of embracing the positive and engaging the complexities, however, students focus on the flaws and envision a more perfect ideal that exists only in their mind’s eye.

 The college application process mistakenly sends the message that students should demonstrate perfection in high school achievement and in turn admitted applicants erroneously seek this same flawlessness in a college.  This is an unhealthy start to a partnership.

Instead, seniors faced with the good fortune of college choice should not assume perfection but rather consider each school’s quirks and weaknesses, and ask whether they can accept these over time.  If they practice this now with college, perhaps they will learn important lessons about romanticizing life and relationships.

(Correction: Decision day is May 1st, not April 1st as an earlier version of this said.)

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Queen Elizabeth II Style

The Queen Elizabeth II – Style File


  • 11:00 AM

It was June 1953 when 27-year-old Princess Elizabeth ascended to the throne and became the Queen of England and ruler of much of the free world. With over 23,000 days on the throne under her belt, Queen Elizabeth II has now commemorated her Silver, Golden, Diamond and Sapphire Jubilees, becoming Britain’s longest reigning monarch. During her 65 years in power, she has used her wardrobe to convey an image of a stately world leader and was aided – to this end – by two couturiers in particular: Norman Hartnell and Hardy Amies. Hartnell was the designer commissioned to create her coronation and wedding gowns and many of the shimmering satin confections that she wore to glamorous state occasions, while Amies primarily took care of Her Majesty’s daytime wardrobe. Over the years, the Queen has become famous for wearing bright, block colours, pearl necklaces, pristine white gloves, headscarves and plaid skirts. Now her style is iconic, with her Launer handbags instantly recognisable and synonymous with her and Dolce & Gabbana basing an entire collection around her signature looks. Look back at the amazing fashion history of Queen Elizabeth II below.

Queen Elizabeth II – Style File


  • 11:00 AM

It was June 1953 when 27-year-old Princess Elizabeth ascended to the throne and became the Queen of England and ruler of much of the free world. With over 23,000 days on the throne under her belt, Queen Elizabeth II has now commemorated her Silver, Golden, Diamond and Sapphire Jubilees, becoming Britain’s longest reigning monarch. During her 65 years in power, she has used her wardrobe to convey an image of a stately world leader and was aided – to this end – by two couturiers in particular: Norman Hartnell and Hardy Amies. Hartnell was the designer commissioned to create her coronation and wedding gowns and many of the shimmering satin confections that she wore to glamorous state occasions, while Amies primarily took care of Her Majesty’s daytime wardrobe. Over the years, the Queen has become famous for wearing bright, block colours, pearl necklaces, pristine white gloves, headscarves and plaid skirts. Now her style is iconic, with her Launer handbags instantly recognisable and synonymous with her and Dolce & Gabbana basing an entire collection around her signature looks. Look back at the amazing fashion history of Queen Elizabeth II below.

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London Fashion Week

London Fashion Week

London Fashion Week 2017: Dates, fashion show schedule and top events you don’t want to miss

We show you how to watch all the catwalk action and front row antics from home, plus top events set to take place at The London Fashion Week Festival

London Fashion Week
Don’t miss top shows from Topshop Unique, Anya Hindmarch, Burberry, Preen and Erdem (Photo: Rex/Splash)

Despite many of us never getting anywhere near the celebrity adorned front rows of designer shows, the event provides some insight about what we will be wearing next season – and more importantly what to invest in now.

The British Fashion Council (BFC), who organise the event, announced a shake up of events, moving the official show space of LFW and London Collections (the men’s equivalent) to its new home at The Store Studios, in central London.

The London Fashion Week Festival, formerly London Fashion Weekend, is also changing and will give the public an opportunity to celebrate fashion over a period of ten days during the shows.

The city-wide events will allow shoppers direct access to designers, industry insiders and influencers.

The main focus of the festival is a ticketed event, hosted at The Store Studios, 180 Strand, in central London, where designers and their teams host curated pop-up shops, from over 150 international and British brands.

The shake up marks a change in tides in recent years, with more high-end designers and high street retailers offering innovative ways to get shoppers more involved.

Topshop Unique show
Topshop Unique’s celebrity filled front row last season (Photo: Getty)

Last season Topshop announced a runway to retail collection that could be bought moments after the show and M&S also unveiled their ‘buy now’ business model. High-end design house Burberry has also pioneered the buy-it-now trend.

Caroline Rush CBE, Chief Executive British Fashion Council commented: “There is an increasingly big appetite from both brands and public to open up our industry to a wider audience. We saw this in September with the see-now-buy-now collections.

“London Fashion Week Festival is a natural continuation of the increasingly popular London Fashion Weekend.”

READ MORE

London Fashion Week

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    Shop Topshop Unique AW17
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    Biggest trends for AW17

For those hoping to sort out tickets to LFW shows and events or blag their way into an after party or two, we’ve got your definitive guide to all this fashion week related below.

Alexa Chung and Pixie Geldof attend the House of Holland show
Alexa Chung and Pixie Geldof on the FROW at the House of Holland show (Photo: Rex)

When is this London Fashion Week?

The next fashion week in London takes place from 17th to 21st February 2017. The British Fashion Council (BFC) presides over all the organisation of the week-long shows and events.

Where will it be hosted?

The main hub of actions on the official schedule will take place at these venues in central London:

  • BFC SHOW SPACE – The Store Studios, 180 Strand, London, WC2R 1EA
  • BFC PRESENTATION SPACE – The Store Studios, 180 Strand, London, WC2R 1EA
  • TOPSHOP SHOW SPACE – Tate Modern Turbine Hall, Bankside, London SE1 9TG
  • THE PAINTING ROOMS PRESENTATIONS – Hosted by The Royal Society of Arts, Durham House Street, London WC2H 6HG
  • ON | OFF – Oxo Tower Wharf, ​Bargehouse Street, South Bank, London SE1 9PH

Show schedule

Here is our run down of the key shows worth catching on live stream.

J.W.Anderson SS17
Uneven hemlines at J.W.Anderson SS17 (Photo: Rex)

Saturday 18th February

  • 11am Fashion East – showcasing the up and coming British design talent and ones to watch.
  • 4pm – the designer boasts Alexa Chung, Rihanna and even Ms Kim Kardashian West as celebrity fans. So, it’s worth catching one of the UK’s most avant-garde design talents runway collection to get a steer on some of the edgy catwalk trends for the season ahead.
Anya Hindmarch SS17
Geometric accessories at Anya Hindmarch’s SS17 show (Photo: Rex)

Sunday 19th February

  • 10am Anya Hindmarch – as the the queen of bags, Hindmarch’s shows are unashamedly playful and full of creative panache.
  • 2pm Topshop Unique – a good one for a bit of celeb spotting, expect big name models strutting their stuff and you’ll even be able to shop items from the collection online too.
  • 7pm Mary Katrantzou- a favourite of former First Lady Michelle Obama, the Greek designer has taken the fashion world by storm since launching her brand in 2008.
Mary Katrantzou SS17
All about the prints at Mary Katrantzou SS17 (Photo: Rex)
Burberry SS17
Classic trench coats still reigned supreme at Burberry’s show last season (Photo: Rex)

Monday 20th February

  • 11am ERDEM – this designer has been worn by the likes of Kate Middleton, Sienna Miller and even Ms Vogue herself, Anna Wintour. You’ll no doubt see the designer’s influence all over the high street next season.
  • 7.30pm Burberry – another celebrity magnet for those who are as interested in the FROW as they are the catwalk.

You can check the full show schedule for London Fashion Week here.

What events can I go to?

From 23rd to 26th February the BFC will host The London Fashion Week Festival – a series of Fashion Week events open to the public.

Along with giant screens to catch all the shows, there will also be workshops, beauty treatments and live demos from top brands like Maybelline New York.

Can I get tickets?

Yes you can. Book tickets to selected events here from Ticketmaster or via the official website. The tiered tickets are priced from £20 to £200 depending on how much you want to see and do.

For full details visit The London Fashion Week Festival.

Which designers will be showing?

Big British labels like Burberry will be there, as will Mary Katrantzou, , Erdem and Christopher Kane.

Versace’s sister label Versus and MM6 Maison Margiela will once again join the schedule this season too.

See fashion heavyweights like Kate Moss come out in force to support British designers (Photo: David M. Benett)
Burberry September 2016 show
Fashion insiders like Anna Wintour will be doing the rounds at the hottest shows (Photo: Getty)

Rising fashion stars featured in the Topshop supported NEWGEN line up include Molly Goddard, Faustine Steinmetz and Sadie Williams.

The NEWGEN platform offers support and guidance to new designers, helping them put on shows each season. Former NEWGEN alumni include Alexander McQueen, Christopher Kane and Roksanda Ilincic.

High street favourites Topshop will also be showing their premium Unique line.

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High Tea, Afternoon Tea & Elevenses!

High Tea, Afternoon Tea & Elevenses

High Tea, Afternoon Tea, Elevenses: English Tea Times For Dummies

Afternoon Tea, 1886. Chromolithograph after Kate Greenaway. If you’re looking for finger sandwiches, dainty desserts and formality, afternoon tea is your cup.

Print Collector/Getty Images

You’re an American in London. You’ve visited Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and the Tower of London, but there’s one more thing you want to check off your to-do list: tea.

No, not just any tea. We’re talking a good, old-fashioned English tea time, with finger sandwiches, dainty china cups and all the formality a Downton Abbey lover could wish for.

But wait, you know nothing about taking tea in Britain. Should you raise your pinky while sipping? And, more importantly, what time do the Brits take tea, anyway? Not to worry. The Salt is here to explain British social tea times.

First up is elevenses, which you might have heard of as a hobbit’s third meal of the day. Outside of Middle Earth, this late-morning work break involves a light snack — think muffins, scones or biscuits — and a hot tea or coffee. It occurs, as the name implies, at 11 in the morning.

What about Elevenses? Luncheon? Afternoon tea? Dinner? Supper?

The tradition of elevenses actually isn’t that old, says Bruce Richardson, a historian who specializes in British tea. He speculates that the custom popped up in the 20th century, because there’s no reference to the term in 1800s literature. Even so, elevenses is strongly engrained in today’s British culture — a 2009 article in The Telegraph called it a “vital element of our traditional way of life.”

“People always want to know about that genesis moment: when God said, ‘Let there be tea,’ ” Richardson says. “But the truth is that things came about slowly over time in Britain.”

As we’ve reported, Portugal’s Catherine of Braganza is credited with introducing tea to England after marrying King Charles II in 1662. That got people curious about this new brew, but it wasn’t until the 1800s, when tea prices dropped dramatically and it became affordable for everyone, that the culture of tea really took root.

Afternoon tea — the kind of fancy-schmancy affair where we might spot Lady Mary of Downton Abbey — emerged as a social event sometime around the 1830s or 1840s, Richardson writes in A Social History of Tea. And Anna Maria Russell, duchess of Bedford, led the pack.

Anna Russell, duchess of Bedford. According to the accepted legend, the duchess — and her hunger pangs — created the afternoon tea tradition.

via Wikimedia

Back then, lunch for the upper crust was generally a light repast served at noon, and dinner occurred no earlier than 7:30 p.m. As legend has it, during one long, food-less afternoon, the duchess felt hunger pangs and ordered tea and snacks to her bedroom chamber. The refreshments did the trick, and Russell soon made this tea break a habit.

The duchess’ well-heeled friends began joining her in this post-lunch tea ritual, the story goes, and the practice spread in aristocratic circles. Though some historical references call this ritual “low tea” — because the ladies would sit in low armchairs while sipping — afternoon tea was hardly a humble affair then. Nor is it today.

Here’s where you’ll find those crustless finger sandwiches and an array of dainty scones, cakes, macaroons and other tempting nibbles. Afternoon tea is generally served around 3 or 4 p.m. these days. Richardson says it’s a time to mind your manners. Place your napkin on your lap and stir gently. Splashing tea, clinking cups and spoons and finger licking will make you appear beastly.

And definitely don’t devour everything in front of you. Richardson recalls advice that international etiquette expert (and Liv Tyler’s grandmother) Dorothea Johnson once gave him: You don’t actually want to appear hungry at this meal — propriety calls for restraint.

If you think that’s rough, tea etiquette was stricter back in the day.

“Women could tell a lot about a man by how he handled a tea cup back then,” Richardson says. In the 1800s, he says, “a suitable mate could be easily dropped if you saw him mishandling how he put his spoon on his saucer after he stirred his cup.”

Fortunately, the pressure is off when it comes to high tea.

Despite its name, high tea actually originated with the lower classes. Dinner was served midday in the 1800s, but in practice, working stiffs didn’t have the luxury of an afternoon lunch break, so they took tea right after work with heartier fare — like pies, meats and cheeses — to sate their hunger.

Richardson says the name high tea probably evolved from the fact that this evening meal was served at proper dinner tables, rather than on couches or settees. Using the term “high tea” when you really mean “afternoon tea” is a dead giveaway you’re American.

“The Ritz-Carlton staff in London always can tell it’s an American when they call for high tea at 2 in the afternoon,” Richardson says.

Five O’Clock Tea, by the American painter Mary Cassatt: Pinkies down, ladies!

Mary Cassatt/via Wikimedia

But no matter what you request, Richardson stresses, “Keep those pinkies down!”

“Americans in the Ritz’s tea room stand out because they work so hard to keep their pinkies extended while holding their teacup,” he says while laughing. “It makes you look pretentious.”

Despite all these rules, don’t get too hung up on proper behavior and not making a fool of yourself. British tea time is meant to be relaxing.

Richardson explains, “If you pay attention to your manners, put the napkin in your lap and keep your feet off the table, you’ll probably be OK.”

Tea Add Milk

Tea Tuesdays is an occasional series exploring the science, history, culture and economics of this ancient brewed beverage.

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Jennifer Lopez Looking Good At 46

Jennifer Lopez Looking Good At 46

Jennifer Lopez’s 90-Calorie Breakfast & Veggie Diet That Keeps Her Slim At 46

 by Dory Larrabee
Jennifer Lopez Diet

Getty

J-Lo is revealing her exact diet secrets that keep her thin, as well as her workout routine (she has two trainers!), what she avoids (caffeine and alcohol) and how much sleep she gets below!

Jennifer Lopez, 46, looks absolutely flawless. Regardless of her age, the American Idol judge is leading a lean and healthy life thanks to a few important factors. Copy her exact lifestyle, diet and workout tips below.

Workout With J-Lo’s Trainer

Buy J-Lo's Trainer's DVD

Buy J-Lo’s Trainer’s DVD

Jennifer spilled her exact diet to Us Weekly‘s January 18 issue. Her breakfast is a 90-calorie chocolate Body Lab Shake. “I do it with quinoa milk or water.” She also drinks coffee — but it’s decaf. “I haven’t had caffeine in years.”

“By lunchtime, I’m starving,” J-Lo says. She mixes it up but a typical day is salmon and a veggie-packed salad. She loves broccoli, peppers and zucchini with a drizzle of vinaigrette on top. She usually has a protein with quinoa for dinner. “If feels like rice and beans, which I grew up with. And I like pork and chicken — especially Puerto Rican style!” Jennifer tries to have dinner with her family as often as possible. “I try to eat with the kids around 6:30.”

Jennifer Lopez’s Diet & Workout Routine

Of course, diet is not the only thing keeping J-Lo looking young. “I’m rarely in the sun, but if I am, I wear a lot of sunscreen. I’ve never been one to take a lot of sun, which is why my skin has maintained itself. And I don’t drink or smoke or have caffeine. That really wrecks your skin as you get older.”

Beauty sleep is important for Jennifer. “I love a good nine or 10 hours, but I can never get that. So seven or eight is mandatory. [If I don’t get it] I just don’t feel right. I start feeling crazy, I get emotional and I feel tired all the time.”

As far as exercise, she says she prefers to get it over with in the morning. “I don’t like doing it later; it’s harder to get there when I have my day going already. I work out three or four times a week. When I’m in New York, I work out with David Kirsch — he’s an amazing trainer. When I’m in L.A., I work with Tracy Anderson. I like the balance that they both give me. They have two totally different approaches. I like switching it up with my body.”

David says they do “planks, pushups, boxing. A bit of everything.” Get more top tips from David on how to get a body like J-Lo here.

Tracy says: “We just freestyle.” They do 3-pound arm weights with “butt and thigh moves that incorporate the core. We want to keep those famous curves.”

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Madonna’s Trainer Keep’s Her In Shape2!

Madonna’s Trainer Keep’s Her In Shape2!

 

Madonna’s Workout Routine Is Not Nearly As Insane As You’d Think

The rock goddess’ trainer opened up about how how he keeps her in shape. Here’s how to work out like Madonna—yes, you can actually do this.
madonna-work-out-feat
2014 WireImage

Madonna’s personal trainer is opening up about how she looks that fit at age 57. And, according to Craig Smith, who has worked with the Material Girl for two years, she doesn’t work out as much as you’d think.

Madonna currently works out for at least 30 minutes, six days a week, Smith tells Daily Mail Australia. “I vary the workouts every single day,” he says. “She does a combination of circuit training, interval training, and resistance training. Dance is obviously a huge part of that.” Those workouts include barre training, yoga, martial arts, and boxing, and Smith says they cover everything from core strength to flexibility.

Madonna also uses light weights of 2.5 to 5 pounds for her barre training, with 20 to 30 reps each.

According to Smith, a “typical” daily workout for his client includes a dance-based warm-up to get her heart rate up. Then, she shifts to upper body work, like 20 reps of push-ups, planking for up to 80 seconds, and core work. She’ll finish by focusing on her thighs and legs with some isolated core training, stretching, and meditation.

Madonna’s workouts seem surprisingly doable, and they are, says Jim Pivarnik, Ph.D., a professor of kinesiology at Michigan State University. Pivarnik tells SELF that Madonna’s tactic of mixing it up is “outstanding,” adding “the more you can mix it up, the more you can prevent overuse injuries.” However, Pivarnik points out that Madonna is still using most of her muscles on any given workout, she’s just emphasizing different muscle groups on one day over another.

Mixing is up is also great for keeping yourself from getting bored of your workout. But you want to still target some of the same muscle groups, he says, because that’s how you work them enough to really make an impact. “Your body doesn’t know the difference, whether you’re punching a bag or using a weight machine.” Doug Sklar, a certified personal trainer and founder of New York City-based fitness training studio PhilanthroFIT, tells SELF, “Some variety is important, but repetition is essential to allow your body to adapt to the training and then make progress.”

In order to strike a balance—mentally and physically—Pivarnik recommends aiming for five days of cardio with two days of resistance training (on cardio days or “off” days).

Want to mix it up, but can’t reach Madonna-like levels of variety? Sklar suggests doing a different workout at least once a week to strike a good balance between condition-building repetition and mental fatigue. And, if you need more variety than that, he suggests doing small daily variations, like running a different route, doing your workout in a different order, or trying out a new dance class.

As for the light weights Madonna uses (which are typical in barre workouts), Pivarnik says they’re good for creating lean muscles without bulking you up. However, feel free to grab a heavier set, too. Lifting heavy (and moving between sets quickly) can count as cardio, too. A good rule of thumb, per Sklar: If you can’t perform eight reps, the weight is too heavy. If you can perform more than 12 reps, the weight is too light.

While Madonna can get her workout done in just 30 minutes, Pivarnik points out that she also gets an additional cardio workout from her onstage performances. “You’ve got to consider the whole day,” he says. Plus, Madge’s trainer himself admits that “80 percent” of her fitness is attributable to her regimented diet. (And that’s not even mentioning what must be rockstar genes.) So, it’s good to keep in mind that while adopting Madonna’s workout routine might make you more toned, it probably won’t make you actually look like Madonna.

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Beyonce and Lemonade Diet

Beyonce and Lemonade Diet

The Lemonade Diet or Master Cleanse is a liquid mono-diet, created by Stanley Burroughs in the 1940s and more recently made popular by Peter Glickman through his book “Lose Weight, Have More Energy and Be Happier in 10 Days”.The Master Cleanse is said by Stanley Burroughs and later authors to eliminate toxins and congestion that have accumulated in the body. It should be noted that the Master Cleanse is a fast, not a diet, as it is not a complete source of macro-nutrients. Thus it should be considered as another form of fasting (click here for more info on fasting).

Supporters of the Master Cleanse/ Lemonade Diet credit it with helping them increase their energy levels, alleviate some chronic diseases and with weight loss.

LEMONADE DIET GUIDELINES

Essentially the Master Cleanse consists of consumption of:

  • Fresh lime or lemon juice with maple syrup and cayenne pepper mixed with water and drunk up to 12 times a day.
  • Herbal laxative tea is taken twice a day, morning and night.
  • Internal salt-water baths.
  • No other food is consumed.
  • This regimen can be followed for 10 days, or possibly longer and depends upon a person’s physical condition.

Do not stop any medication you have been prescribed without consulting your doctor first! Any fasting should only be done so with the consent of a healthcare professional.

The Master Cleanse also known as the Maple Syrup Diet, Lemonade Diet, Lemon Detox hit the headlines after it was reported that R&B star Beyoncé Knowles had lost 20 lbs. (9 kg) in 10 days by following the Lemonade Diet under a nutritionist’s supervision. Beyoncé followed what essentially was a version of the Master Cleanse, using the Swiss-made Madal Bal Natural Tree Syrup, which consists of four different South East Asian palm syrups and Canadian grade maple syrup.

How to do the lemonade diet

 

Naomi Campbell does the Master Cleanse three times a year to keep her figure looking stunning. It has also been reported that Howard Stern’s primary co-host on his morning radio show, Robin Quivers, lost 73 lbs (33 kg) on the Master Cleanse. Actor Jared Leto is also reported to have lost the 62 lbs. he gained to play a movie role, using the Master Cleanse.The Lemonade Diet’s main promoter, the late Stanley Burroughs, published a slim volume in 1975 called “The Master Cleanser with Special Needs or Problems”. The book is still available today and the techniques are often adapted. Contrary to popular belief, the Master Cleanse was not designed for weight loss, but originally created to cleanse the body and flush out toxins. Nevertheless, in his book Stanley Burroughs also endorses his diet as “a reducing diet”.

Below you will find an overview and instructions about the Lemonade Diet. Excerpts from the Stanley Burroughs book “The Master Cleanser with Special Needs or Problems”, are highlighted in italics.

Purpose of the Lemonade Diet

  • To dissolve and eliminate toxins and congestion that have formed in any part of the body.
  • To cleanse the kidneys and the digestive system.
  • To purify the glands and cells throughout the entire body.
  • To eliminate all unusable waste and hardened material in the joints and muscles.
  • To relieve pressure and irritation in the nerves, arteries, and blood vessels.
  • To build a healthy blood stream.
  • To keep youth and elasticity regardless of our years.

When to Use the Lemonade Diet

  • When sickness has developed – for all acute and chronic conditions.
  • When the digestive system needs a rest and a cleansing.
  • When overweight has become a problem.
  • When better assimilation and building of body tissue is needed.

How Often Should You Do the Lemonade Diet?

Follow the Master Cleanse diet for a minimum of 10 days or more – up to 40 days and beyond may be safely followed for extremely serious cases. The diet has all the nutrition needed during this time. Three to four times a year will do wonders for keeping the body in a normal healthy conditions. The diet may be undertaken more frequently for serious conditions.

HOW TO MAKE THE LEMONADE

  • 2 Tbsp of lemon or lime juice (approx. ½ lemon)
  • 2 Tbsp genuine maple syrup (not maple flavored sugar syrup)
  • 1/10 Tsp cayenne pepper (red pepper) or to taste
  • Water, medium hot (spring or purified water)

Combine the juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper in a 10 oz. glass and fill with medium hot water. (Cold water may be used if preferred). Use fresh lemons or limes only, never canned lemon or lime juice nor frozen lemonade or frozen juice. Use organic lemons when possible. The maple syrup is a balanced form of positive and negative sugars and must be used, not some “substitute”.

Stanley Burroughs goes on to suggest the use of darker grades of maple syrup, which he writes have a greater mineral content. He states, “Maple syrup has a large variety of minerals and vitamins. Naturally the mineral and vitamin content will vary according to the area where the trees grow and the mineral content of the soil. There are the minerals found primarily in the average samples of pure maple syrup: Sodium, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Copper, Phosphorus, Sulfur, and Silicon. Vitamin A, B1, B2, B6, C and Pantothenic Acid (B5) are also present in the syrup.”

HOW MUCH LEMONADE TO DRINK?

The book suggests that between six and twelve glasses of the lemonade should be drunk daily and that as you get hungry to simply drink another glass of lemonade. For those who are overweight, less maple syrup may be taken. For the underweight, more maple syrup may be taken. However, it is advisable not to vary the amount of lemon juice per glass.

LAXATIVE HERBAL TEA

The Master Cleanser states that you should expect two, tree or more bowel movements per day. Otherwise, the waste tends to stay in the body leading to tiredness and other problems. If this is not the case, a laxative herbal tea last thing at night and first thing in the morning should be taken.

INTERNAL SALT WATER BATHING

Part of the Master Cleanse or Lemonade Diet is the “salt water bath”. Enemas and colonic irrigation are advised against and instead internal salt water baths are recommended.

Directions: Prepare a full quart of luke-warm water and add two level (rounded for the Canadian quart) teaspoons of uniodized sea salt. DO not use ordinary iodinized salt, as it will not work properly. Drink the entire quart of salt and water first thing in the morning. This must be taken on an empty stomach. The salt and water will not separate but will stay intact and quickly and thoroughly wash the entire tract in about one hour. Several eliminations will likely occur. The salt water has the same specific gravity as the blood, hence the kidneys cannot pock up the water and the blood cannot pick up the salt. This may be taken as often as needed for proper washing of the entire digestive system.

If this does not bring about the desired effect the first time used, The Master Cleanser suggests adding a little more or less salt until you find the right balance or taking in extra water with or without salt.

 

Prepare yourself mentally and physically before embarking on the detox. Speak to your health care practitioner. Make sure you have all the required ingredients for the Master Cleanse. Ensure you have emotional support of friends or family to get you through the difficult times.

  • The night before: you start the lemonade detox take herbal laxative tea.
  • First morning of the detox: take the salt water bath or if not possible the herbal laxative tea, do not take both.
  • Lemonade formula.
  • Breaking the Lemonade Diet: do not overeat, eat too soon or to frequently.

Next, lemonade diet variations and how to finish the plan (important to minimize side-effects or weight re-gain!).

Featured

Mental Health Awareness Month (Psychiatric Medications Make You FAT)!

PSYCHIATRIC MEDICATIONS MAKE WEIGHT LOSS NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE, BUT WEIGHT GAIN A SNAP

By Rachel Gray

Who here has trouble losing weight? Why I could not lose the weight baffled me. Well, it’s actually more complex than I thought. First, a lack of self-control is usually the knee-jerk assumption as to why you gain weight. This is based on the belief that weight loss is a simple matter of thermodynamics: one takes in more calories than one “burns”. That is true – but only to a point. I take a combination of psychiatric medications; the resulting weight gain is what the scientific literature calls “antipsychotic induced weight gain” (AIWG) (Lett et al., 2012, P. 242). Knowing mine is AIWG is frustrating: It is why my 900 calorie diet and exercise regimen do not work.

Proof that most psychiatric medications cause weight gain is well-established (Allsion et al., 1999). ‘Antipsychotic medications’ (interchangable here with the phrase ‘psychiatric medications’) cause “…substantial weight gain, and weight gain is a leading factor in patient noncompliance and poses significant risk of diabetes, lipid abnormalities (that is, metabolic syndrome), and cardiovascular events including sudden death (Lett et al., 2012, P. 242).” The specific medications I’m talking about (and their corresponding illnesses) include the categories of antipsychotics, antidepressants, and mood stabilizers. The illnesses these work on are schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar disorder. What I am not going to address here include the anxiety and attention deficit disorders, and their corresponding medications (which often overlap, but not always).

Weight gain is THE inevitable side effect of specific psychiatric medications and/or combinations of medications. The comprehensive lay website CrazyMeds (highly recommended: well-researched and consumer-driven) devotes a section about weight gain from psychiatric medications:

4.1  Weight gain

There are three known reasons as to why some meds make you fat.

1. H1 Antihistamines. This is most common way a drug can fatten you up like a veal calf. Most APs, especially Zyprexa are strong-to-potent antihistamines and, as I wrote above, antihistamines make you hungry and encourage you to keep the weight on. Being a potent antihistamine is also why you take these meds as they help you sleep and help fight anxiety. TCAs, especially Remeron, are also strong-to-potent antihistamines and notorious for weight gain.

2. Serotonin 5HT2C Antagonists. Drugs that interfere with serotonin at this specific receptor at going to make you gain weight. As with antihistamines these meds will make you hungry and keep the weight on. This is the primary reason why second-generation APs, especially Zyprexa and Seroquel, will cause you to pack on the pounds. Additionally they will mess with your insulin resistance, which is why your risk for diabetes increases if you take Geodon or Abilify and don’t gain any weight. And just like antihistamines you take these meds because they are 5HT2C antagonists, as that helps regulate dopamine. Other 5HT2C antagonists include Remeron and Prozac.

3. Decreasing corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF). Unlike the above two, this one is somewhat obscure, in the world of psychopharmacology at any rate. Like the other two it is possibly why the meds LithiumDepakoteSSRIsSNRIs, and assorted APs and other antidepressants (ADs) work.”

Health Behaviors

The typical reaction is to blame excess body fat on the person carrying it. Health professionals I deal with proselytize self-restraint and regular exercise. These are ‘health behaviors’ – control over eating is the biggie to be faced off in this essay because self-control is not as simple as “put down the fork and walk away”. While the exact mechanisms of action for antidepressants, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers are relatively unknown, the results of Karen Davison’s (2013) study suggested that certain combinations impact weight gain as well as eating habits (more on eating behaviors later) (Davison, 2013, P. 189). Davison’s study (2013) found that there were “significant interactions among antidepressants, …antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers with BMI (P. 188).” Another study found that psychiatric medications, in certain combinations, affect the andrenergic system (having to do with adrenaline, epinephrine, and norepinephrine), although the role of adrenergic receptors in AIWG is unclear  (Lett 2012, P. 255). This all has to do with eating behaviors.

Why so hungry all the time?

Psychiatric drugs stimulate one’s appetite so one is hungry all the time (hyperphagia), and therefore one eats more (Davison, 2013, P. 187). Treatment with antipsychotics leads to weight gain and alterations in carbohydrate and lipid metabolisms through increased appetite; leptin and ghrelin play an important role in the regulation of food intake. Body weight is regulated by a complex system, including both peripheral and central factors. Two of the hormones that play an important role in the regulation of food intake, energy metabolism, and body weight are leptin and ghrelin. Both originate in the periphery (peripheral nerves connect the spinal cord with your limbs) and signal through different pathways to the brain, particularly to the hypothalamus (Esen-Danaci et al., 2008, P. 1434).  This is important because leptin is a protein that plays a major role in the regulation of appetite (‘health behavior’ territory), adiposity (body fat), and body weight. Psychiatric medications stimulate production of leptin and ghrelin.

After leptin is released by the adipose tissue into the bloodstream, it crosses the blood-brain barrier and binds to the hypothalamic leptin receptors, in the arcuate nucleus, giving information about the body energy stores. Administration of leptin into the arcuate nucleus results in decreased food consumption while leptin deficiency leads to increased food intake (Haupt et al., 2005). Leptin plays a significant role in long-term regulation of energy balance. It also plays a role in short-term regulation of food intake and body weight. Leptin is produced not only by adipose tissue, but also a small amount in the stomach. It plays a role in the control of meal size in cooperation with other satiety peptides (Pico et al., 2003, P. 735).

Ghrelin is a gastrointestinal peptide hormone that is found in the stomach, the gastrointestinal tract, pancreas, ovary, and adrenal cortex. In the brain, ghrelin-producing neurones have been identified in the pituitary and the hypothalamus (Jin et al., 2007, P. 70). Ghrelin plays a role in regulating feeding behavior and energy metabolism in the central nervous system; it is the first hormone found to stimulate appetite and food intake (Esen-Danaci et al., 2008, P. 1435).

“The concentration of circulating ghrelin is increased under conditions of negative energy balance such as starvation and anorexia nervosa while decreased under those of positive energy balance such as feeding and obesity in other words circulating ghrelin levels correlate inversely with BMI and body fat percentage (Esen-Danasi et al., 2008, P. 1435).”

What all this means is that psychiatric medications stimulate your appetite all the time. Regulating your “health behaviors” around eating takes phenomenal willpower and self-control because you are always feeling hunger pangs. It is a real battle to not give in to feeling hungry, something not to be taken lightly.

I’ve been on a 900 calorie, fresh veggie diet for five weeks, and do 45 minutes of aerobics daily. My weight has stabilized at 165# for five weeks. I should be losing weight, right? Well, that’s what’s so frustrating: If I eat less and exercise more, I SHOULD lose weight. This belief I refer to as “thermodynamics”, whereby one “burns” more calories than one ingests. (I refuse to eat any less, because I detest feeling hungry all the time and my body would probably go into starvation mode…)  My weight gain is not thermodynamics: take fewer calories in, and simply ‘burn’ the fat off with exercise, nope! The weight gain started when my doctor prescribed a combination of medications (Effexor, Abilify, and Lamictal).

The hated side effect of this medication combination is weight gain, and there’s not a blessed thing I can do except go off the medications (which is not an option). So what all this means is that when you take certain combinations of psychiatric medications, the gods of good health behaviors – Diet and Exercise – mock you. Well, they mock me, anyway…

Why Diet and Exercise are Perhaps Futile

First of all, some of us (me) come from hearty peasant stock and our ancestors were broad, plump, and fertile as the women Peter Paul Rubens depicted.

Peter Paul Rubens, "Venus At Her Mirror"
Peter Paul Rubens, “Venus At Her Mirror”

Pharmacogenetic studies are finding that genetics also play a part in moderating the degree of weight gain from psychiatric medications (Lett et al., 2012, P. 244). With no medications, it is a chore and a daily conscientious effort to stay slim and at an optimal doctor’s-health-chart weight (at least, it is for me). The majority of atypical antipsychotics are metabolized by phase I cytochrome P450 (CYP450) isoenzymes (Lett et al., 2012, P. 244). (Isoenzymes are enzymes that differ in amino acid sequence but catalyze the same chemical reaction) (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/isoenzyme). Pharmacokinetic studies found that poor CYP450 activity is associated with increased serum levels of antipsychotics that lead to increased weight gain (Lett et al., 2012, P. 244). Genetics plus psychiatric medications will lead to certain weight gain. That weight stays on, no matter how hard you exercise and deny yourself pizza.

AIWG goes hand in hand with metabolic changes – the kind that makes you unhappy because you out-grew your favorite pants. “Altered energy homeostasis” and “endocrine disturbances (Davison, 2013, P. 187)” are fancy terms for the physiological side effect of weight gain. Additionally, weight gain is a predictor of metabolic syndrome, which includes diabetes, heart problems, and high blood pressure which puts you at risk for stroke, among other things. The mechanisms linking psychiatric medications with the metabolic syndrome include “dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis and autonomic nervous system (ANS) via such pathways as an accumulation of “visceral adiposity” or body fat, and impaired insulin sensitivity, as well as serotonergic (serotonin) activity (Davison, 2013, P. 188).” To sum up the science, your metabolism comes to a screeching halt. No amount of dieting or exercise will help fend off that fat.

What I would recommend instead 

First, stay on the medications. My own mental illness is severe and my doctor prescribed a combination of medications that work well. If I quit my medications, I would be slim, sexy, and suicidally depressed.

Second, self-acceptance of the new, bigger body is key. At this point in psychopharmacology, there are no viable options: The medications cause weight gain. So what is there outside of self-acceptance? It is unrealistic to give hope that we MIGHT one day have drugs that both work and do not make us fat. The medical community has certainly accepted it – they have known for ages that such drugs make patients gain inordinate amounts of weight. It is more realistic to just get used to the additional weight and accept the body as it is. If you need a new wardrobe, go for it!

Third, eat healthy and do the exercise routines you enjoy. Do it for health and for peace of mind. Just because you probably will not lose the weight, does not mean you should neglect healthy living. Also, what’s wrong with having extra weight if your blood pressure is fine and you show no signs of diabetes or other aspects of metabolic syndrome? This goes to the thought process of stigmatization, and how much we stigmatize ourselves and our bodies to start with.

Overweight is stigmatized, there’s no doubt about that. But then again, so is mental illness. And that’s a whole other article…

 

 

Featured

Mental Health Awareness Month (Marriage and Mental Health)

Mental Health Awareness Month (Marriage and Mental Health)

Effects of Marriage on Mental Health

Married people are least likely to have mental disorders, 1) and have higher levels of emotional and psychological well-being than those who are single, divorced, or cohabiting.2) Marriage protects against feelings of loneliness.3) Married mothers enjoy greater psychological well-being and greater love and intimacy than cohabiting or single mothers.4) Marriage also has a wide range of benefits for physical health.

1. Anxiety and Stress

Both adults and children in married families suffer less psychological distress than their counterparts in divorced families.5) Married men have lower levels of stress hormones,6) and married women experience less psychological distress.7) Married mothers feel more love and intimacy, less ambivalence, and experience less conflict with their husbands than cohabiting and single women do with their partners.8)

According to the National Survey of Children’s Health, biological parents and adoptive parents who are married report less parenting stress (48.9) than single mothers (52.1), biological parent/stepparent families (52.0), or “other” family structure (50.6) such as single fathers. 9) (See Chart Below)

Parenting Stress by Family Structure

2. Depression

Those who are married report less depression10) than cohabiting couples.11) Married mothers report less depression, more support from their partners, and more stable relationships than cohabiting mothers.12) Adolescents living with married parents are less likely to be depressed than those in stepfamilies or single-parent families (with or without other adults present).13)

3. Suicide

Married people are least likely to commit suicide.14) Adolescents in divorced families are more likely to commit suicide.15)

4. Happiness

Married people are much more likely to report being happy than cohabiters,16) and those who do not cohabit prior to marriage report having happier marriages than those who do cohabit.17) Married people (those in intact marriages and those who have divorced and remarried) most frequently report being proud of their work.18) Married mothers of infants have the most positive attitudes and report forming better home environments than single and cohabiting mothers.19)

A larger fraction of those raised in an intact family consider themselves “very happy” than those raised in non-intact families.20) (See Chart Below)

Percent Who Are Very Happy

5. Drug and Alcohol Use

Married individuals are more likely to cease using marijuana, due in part to improvements in self-control.21) Continuously married adults less frequently report that they sometimes drink too much.22) Married women have fewer alcohol problems.23) African-Americans who are married have lower rates of excessive drinking and drug use.24)

Adolescents from intact married families are less likely to use cocaine than those from divorced families.25) Teenagers from intact families are less likely to begin smoking than those with never-married or divorced single parents.26)

6. Community

Older married couples enjoy more social support than older cohabiters,27) and married mothers enjoy more social support than cohabiting or single mothers.28) Those in intact marriages less often report believing that most people would try to take advantage of others. Married parents spend more on education and less on alcohol and tobacco as compared to cohabiting parents.29)

According to the General Social Survey (GSS), always-intact married adults are less likely than married, previously divorced adults or unmarried adults to believe that most people would try to take advantage of others.30) (See Chart Below)

"Belief That People Try to Take Advantage of Others" by Marital Status


1) David Williams, et al., “Marital Status and Psychiatric Disorders Among Blacks and Whites,” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 33, (1992): 140-157. As cited in G.T. Stanton, “Why Marriage Matters.” Available at http://www.ampartnership.org/resourcecenter/news/89-why-marriage-matters.html. Accessed 27 July 2011.
Benjamin Malzberg, “Marital Status in Relation to the Prevalence of Mental Disease,” Psychiatric Quarterly 10, (1936): 245-261; J. Coyne, M.J. Rohrbaugh, V. Shoham, J.S. Sonnega, J.M. Nicklas, and J.A. Cranford, “Prognostic Importance of Marital Quality for Survival of Congestive Heart Failure” American Journal of Cardiology 88, no. 5 (2001): 526-529. As cited in California Healthy Marriages Coalition, “Healthy Marriages, Mental Health. Research on the Alignment of Marital Outcomes and Mental Health.” Available at http://camarriage.com/content/resources/7b8690b0-784f-46e7-af7d-438a9b064557.pdf. Accessed 25 August 2011.
2) Susan L. Brown, “Relationship Quality Dynamics of Cohabiting Unions,” Journal of Family Issues 24, no. 5 (2003): 583-601.
Susan L. Brown, “The Effect of Union Type on Psychological Well-being: Depression among Cohabitors versus Marrieds,” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 41, no. 3 (2000): 241-255.
Beth A. Hahn, “Marital Status and Women’s Health: the Effect of Economic Marital Acquisitions,” Journal of Marriage and the Family 55, no. 2 (1993): 495-504; Yuanreng Hu and Noreen Goldman, “Mortality Differentials by Marital Status: An International Comparison,” Demography 27, no. 2 (1990): 233-250; Janice K. Kiecolt-Glaser and Tamara L. Newton, “Marriage and Health: His and Hers,” Psychological Bulletin 127, no. 4 (2001): 472-503; L.A. Lillard and C.W.A. Panis, “Marital Status and Mortality: The Role of Health,” Demography 33, no. 3 (1996): 313-327; L.A. Lillard and L.J. Waite, “’Til Death Do us Part: Marital Disruption and Mortality,” The American Journal of Sociology 100, no. 5 (1995): 1131-1156; K. Marcussen, “Explaining Differences in Mental Health Between Married and Cohabiting Individuals,” Social Psychology Quarterly68, no. 3 (1999): 239-257; Steven Stack and J.R. Eshleman, “Marital Status and Happiness: A 17-Nation Study,” Journal of Marriage and the Family 60, (1998): 527-536; K.A.S. Wickrama, et al., “Marital Quality and Physical Illness: A Latent Growth Curve Analysis,” Journal of Marriage and the Family 59, no. 1 (1997): 143-155. All as cited in D. Lees, “The Psychological Benefits of Marriage,” Research Note (2007): 1-4. Available at http://www.maxim.org.nz/files/pdf/psychological_benefits_of_marriage.pdf. Accessed 27 July 2011
3) Randy Page and Galen Cole, “Demographic Predictors of Self-Reported Loneliness in Adults,” Psychological Reports 68, (1991): 939-945. As cited in Glenn T. Stanton, “Why Marriage Matters,” Available at http://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/gods_design_for_marriage/marriage_gods_idea/why_marriage_matters_for_adults. aspx#footnoteRef17, accessed 12 April, 2013.
M.A. Distel, I. Rebollo-Mesa, A. Abdellaoui, C.A. Derom, G. Willemsen, J.T. Cacioppo, D.I. Boomsma, “Familial Resemblance for Loneliness,” Behavior Genetics 40, no. 4 (2010): 480, 488,490.
4) Stacy R. Aronson and Aletha C. Huston, “The Mother-Infant Relationship in Single, Cohabiting, and Married Families: A Case for Marriage?” Journal of Family Psychology 18, no. 1 (2004): 5-18. As cited by The Heritage Foundation: Family Facts. Available at http://www.familyfacts.org/search?q=huston%20and%20aronson&type=findings&page=1. Accessed 1 September 2011.
5) Paul R. Amato, “The Consequence of Divorce for Adults and Children,” Journal of Marriage and the Family 62, (2000): 1269-1287. As cited in Nicholas Zill, “Parenting Stress and Family Structure.” Available at http://marri.us/wp-content/uploads/MA-34-36-160.pdf. Accessed 26 August 2011.
6) D. Maestripieri, “Between- and Within-Sex Variation in Hormonal Responses to Psychological Stress In a Large Sample of College Students,” Stress 13, no. 5 (2010): 413–442; J. Holt-Lunstad, “Is There Something Unique about Marriage? The Relative Impact of Marital Status, Relationship Quality, and Network Social Support on Ambulatory Blood Pressure and Mental Health,” Annals of Behavioral Medicine 35, no. 2 (2008): 239-244. As cited in Kathleen Blanchard, “Health & Marriage: Benefits for Men.” Available at http://www.foxnews.com/health/2010/10/13/health-marriage-benefits-men/#ixzz1TDmcdmCc. Accessed 26 July 2011.
7) Duncan Cramer, “Living Alone, Marital Status, Gender and Health,” Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology 3, (1993): 9.
W.R. Avison, J. Ali, and D. Walters, “Family Structure, Stress, and Psychological Distress: A Demonstration of the Impact of Differential Exposure,” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 48, (2007): 306.
8) Stacy R. Aronson and Aletha C. Huston, “The Mother-Infant Relationship In Single, Cohabiting, and Married Families: A Case for Marriage?” Journal of Family Psychology 18, no. 1 (2004): 5-18. As cited by The Heritage Foundation: Family Facts. Available at http://www.familyfacts.org/search?q=huston%20and%20aronson&type=findings&page=1. Accessed 1 September 2011.
9) This chart draws on data collected by the National Center for Health Statistics in the National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) in 2003. The data sample consisted of parents of 102,353 children and teens in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. 68,996 of these children and teens were between six and 17 years old, the age group that was the focus of the study. The survey sample in this age range represented a population of nearly 49 million young people nationwide.
Nicholas Zill, “Parenting Stress and Family Structure,” Mapping America Project. Available at http://marri.us/wp-content/uploads/MA-34-36-160.pdf
10) Susan L. Brown, “The Effect of Union Type on Psychological Well-Being: Depression among Cohabitors versus Marrieds,” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 41, no. 3 (2000): 247-248.
11) Kristen Marcussen, “Explaining Differences in Mental Health between Married and Cohabiting Individuals,” Social Psychology Quarterly 68, no. 3 (2005): 239-257; Susan L. Brown, Gary R. Lee, and Jennifer R. Bulanda, “The Significance of Nonmarital Cohabitation: Marital Status and Mental Health Benefits among Middle-Aged and Older Adults,” The Journals of Gerontology 60, no. 1 (2005): S21-S29. Both as cited in Daniel Lees, “The Psychological Benefits of Marriage,” Research Note (2007): 1-4. Available at http://www.maxim.org.nz/files/pdf/psychological_benefits_of_marriage.pdf. Accessed 27 July 2011.
12) V. King, “Stepfamily Formation: Implications for Adolescent Ties to Mothers, Nonresident Fathers, and Stepfathers,” Journal of Marriage and Family 71, no. 4 (2009): 4.
13) Anne E. Barrett and R.J. Turner, “Family Structure and Mental Health: The Mediating Effects of Socioeonomic Status, Family Process and Social Stress,” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 46, no. 2 (2005): 156-169. As cited in National Healthy Marriage Resource Center Research Brief by Jana Staton, “Making the Connection Between Healthy Marriage and Health Outcomes: What the Research Says” (2009): 1-18.
14) Maria Masocco, et al., “Suicide and marital status in Italy,” Psychiatric Quarterly 79, no. 4 (2008): 275-285. As cited in Roger Dobson, “From Cancer to Heart Disease, The Amazing, Life-Saving Benefits of Marriage.” Available http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1049134/From-cancer-heart-disease-amazing-life-saving-benefits-marriage.html. Accessed 5 April 2013.
15) David M. Cutler, et al., “Explaining the Rise in Youth Suicide,” Working Paper 7713 (Cambridge: National Bureau of Economic Research): 2000. As cited in Glenn T. Stanton, “Why Marriage Matters,” http://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/gods_design_for_marriage/marriage_gods_idea/why_marriage_matters_for_adults. aspx#footnoteRef17. Accessed 12 April, 2013.
16) Steven Stack and J. Ross Eshleman, “Marital Status and Happiness: A 17-Nation Study,” Journal of Marriage and the Family 60, (1998): 527-536. As cited in Daniel Lees, “The Psychological Benefits of Marriage” Research Note (2007): 1-4. Available at http://www.maxim.org.nz/files/pdf/psychological_benefits_of_marriage.pdf. Accessed 27 July 2011.
Kristen S. Lee, and Hiroshi Ono, “Marriage, Cohabitation, and Happiness: A Cross-National Analysis of 27 Countries,” Journal of Marriage & Family 74, no. 5 (2012): 961-962.
17) Spencer L. James and Brett A. Beattie, “Reassessing the Link between Women’s Premarital Cohabitation and Marital Quality,” Social Forces 91, no. 2 (2012): 651, 652.
18) Patrick F. Fagan and Althea Nagai, “I Am Proud of the Type of Work I Do.” Available at http://marri.us/wp-content/uploads/MA-76-78-174.pdf. Accessed 26 August 2011.
19) , 28) Stacy R. Aronson and Aletha C. Huston, “The Mother-Infant Relationship In Single, Cohabiting, and Married Families: A Case for Marriage?” Journal of Family Psychology 18, no. 1 (2004): 5-18. As cited by The Heritage Foundation: Family Facts. Available at http://www.familyfacts.org/search?q=huston%20and%20aronson&type=findings&page=1. Accessed 1 September 2011
20) This chart draws on data collected by the General Social Survey, 1972-2006. From 1972 to 1993, the sample size averaged 1,500 each year. No GSS was conducted in 1979, 1981, or 1992. Since 1994, the GSS has been conducted only in even-numbered years and uses two samples per GSS that total approximately 3,000. In 2006, a third sample was added for a total sample size of 4,510.
Patrick F. Fagan and Althea Nagai, “Intergenerational Links to Happiness: Family Structure.” Available at http://marri.us/wp-content/uploads/MA-49-51-165.pdf. Accessed 26 August 2011.
21) Walter Forrest and Carter Hay, “Life-Course Transitions, Self-Control and Desistance From Crime,” Criminology and Criminal Justice 11, no. 5 (2011): 487-513. As cited in Physorg article, “The Benefits of Marriage.” Available at http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-09-benefits-marriage.html. Accessed 2 December 2011.
22) Patrick F. Fagan and Althea Nagai, “‘Sometimes Drinks too Much Alcohol’ by Marital Status.” Available at http://marri.us/wp-content/uploads/MA-85-87-177.pdf. Accessed 26 August 2011.
23) Allan V. Horwitz, Helene R. White, and Sandra Howell-White, “Becoming Married and Mental Health: A Longitudinal Study of a Cohort of Young Adults,” Journal of Marriage and the Family 58, (1996): 895-907.
24) Mir M. Ali, and Olugbenga Ajilore, “Can Marriage Reduce Risky Health Behavior for African-Americans?” Journal of Family & Economic Issues 32, no. 2 (2011): 198, 200.
25) Lisa A. Cubbins and Daniel H. Klepinger, “Childhood Family, Ethnicity, and Drug Use over the Life Course,” Journal of Marriage and Family 69, no. 3 (2007): 810-830. As cited by The Heritage Foundation: Family Facts. Available at http://www.familyfacts.org/briefs/24/keeping-teens-safe-how-the-intact-family-buffers-against-teen-substance-use. Accessed 20 July 2011.
26) Cheryl Amey and Stan Albrecht, “Race and Ethnic Differences in Adolescent Drug Use: The Impact of Family Structure and the Quantity and Quality of Parental Interaction,” Journal of Drug Issues 28, no. 2 (1998): 283-298. As cited by The Heritage Foundation: Family Facts. Available at http://www.familyfacts.org/briefs/24/keeping-teens-safe-how-the-intact-family-buffers-against-teen-substance-use. Accessed 20 July 2011.
Susan L. Brown and Lauren N. Rinelli, “Family Structure, Family Processes, and Adolescent Smoking and Drinking,” Journal Of Research On Adolescence 20, no. 2 (2010): 264, 266.
27) Susan L. Brown, Gary R. Lee, and Jennifer R. Bulanda, “Cohabitation Among Older Adults: A National Portrait,” The Journals of Gerontology 61B, no. 2 (2006): S75
29) Thomas DeLeire and Ariel Kalil, “How Do Cohabiting Couples with Children Spend Their Money?” Journal of Marriage and Family no. 67 (2005): 286-295. As cited in Institute for American Values, “Why Marriage Matters: 26 Conclusions from the Social Sciences,” 13. Available at http://www.americanvalues.org/pdfs/why_marriage_matters2.pdf. Accessed 2 April 2013.
30) This chart draws on data collected by the General Social Survey, 1972-2006. From 1972 to 1993, the sample size averaged 1,500 each year. No GSS was conducted in 1979, 1981, or 1992. Since 1994, the GSS has been conducted only in even-numbered years and uses two samples per GSS that total approximately 3,000. In 2006, a third sample was added for a total sample size of 4,510.
Patrick F. Fagan and Althea Nagai, “’Belief That People Try to Take Advantage of Others’ by Marital Status.” Available at http://marri.us/wp-content/uploads/MA-88-90-178.pdf. Accessed 26 August 2011.This entry draws heavily from 164 Reasons to Marry.
Featured

Mental Health Awareness Month- ( Bipolar Disorder)

Mental Health Awareness Month- ( Bipolar Disorder)

Bipolar Disorder Signs and Symptoms

Recognizing and Controlling Bipolar Symptoms

Bipolar manWe all have our ups and downs, but with bipolar disorder, these peaks and valleys are more severe. The symptoms of bipolar disorder can hurt your job and school performance, damage your relationships, and disrupt your daily life. And although it’s treatable, many people don’t recognize the warning signs and get the help they need to feel well and do well. Since bipolar disorder tends to worsen without treatment, it’s important to learn what the symptoms look like. Recognizing the problem is the first step to getting better.

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression) causes serious shifts in mood, energy, thinking, and behavior—from the highs of mania on one extreme, to the lows of depression on the other. More than just a fleeting good or bad mood, the cycles of bipolar disorder last for days, weeks, or months. And unlike ordinary mood swings, the mood changes of bipolar disorder are so intense that they interfere with your ability to function.

During a manic episode, a person might impulsively quit a job, charge up huge amounts on credit cards, or feel rested after sleeping two hours. During a depressive episode, the same person might be too tired to get out of bed, and full of self-loathing and hopelessness over being unemployed and in debt.

The causes of bipolar disorder aren’t completely understood, but it often appears to be hereditary. The first manic or depressive episode of bipolar disorder usually occurs in the teenage years or early adulthood. The symptoms can be subtle and confusing; many people with bipolar disorder are overlooked or misdiagnosed—resulting in unnecessary suffering. But with proper treatment and support, you can lead a rich and fulfilling life.

Myths and facts about bipolar disorder
Myth: People with bipolar disorder can’t get better or lead a normal life.

Fact: Many people with bipolar disorder have successful careers, happy family lives, and satisfying relationships. Living with bipolar disorder is challenging, but with treatment, healthy coping skills, and a solid support system, you can live fully while managing your symptoms.

Myth: People with bipolar disorder swing back and forth between mania and depression.

Fact: Some people alternate between extreme episodes of mania and depression, but most are depressed more often than they are manic. Mania may also be so mild that it goes unrecognized. People with bipolar disorder can also go for long stretches without symptoms.

Myth: Bipolar disorder only affects mood.

Fact: Bipolar disorder also affects your energy level, judgment, memory, concentration, appetite, sleep patterns, sex drive, and self-esteem. Additionally, bipolar disorder has been linked to anxiety, substance abuse, and health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, migraines, and high blood pressure.

Myth: Aside from taking medication, there is nothing you can do to control bipolar disorder.

Fact: While medication is the foundation of bipolar disorder treatment, therapy and self-help strategies also play important roles. You can help control your symptoms by exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, eating right, monitoring your moods, keeping stress to a minimum, and surrounding yourself with supportive people.

 

Signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder can look very different in different people. The symptoms vary widely in their pattern, severity, and frequency. Some people are more prone to either mania or depression, while others alternate equally between the two types of episodes. Some have frequent mood disruptions, while others experience only a few over a lifetime.

There are four types of mood episodes in bipolar disorder: mania, hypomania, depression, and mixed episodes. Each type of bipolar disorder mood episode has a unique set of symptoms.

Mania

In the manic phase of bipolar disorder, feelings of heightened energy, creativity, and euphoria are common. People experiencing a manic episode often talk a mile a minute, sleep very little, and are hyperactive. They may also feel like they’re all-powerful, invincible, or destined for greatness.

But while mania feels good at first, it has a tendency to spiral out of control. People often behave recklessly during a manic episode: gambling away savings, engaging in inappropriate sexual activity, or making foolish business investments, for example. They may also become angry, irritable, and aggressive—picking fights, lashing out when others don’t go along with their plans, and blaming anyone who criticizes their behavior. Some people even become delusional or start hearing voices.

Hypomania symptoms

Hypomania is a less severe form of mania. People in a hypomanic state feel euphoric, energetic, and productive, but they are able to carry on with their day-to-day lives and they never lose touch with reality. To others, it may seem as if people with hypomania are merely in an unusually good mood. However, hypomania can result in bad decisions that harm relationships, careers, and reputations. In addition, hypomania often escalates to full-blown mania or is followed by a major depressive episode.

Common signs and symptoms of mania include:

  • Feeling unusually “high” and optimistic OR extremely irritable
  • Unrealistic, grandiose beliefs about one’s abilities or powers
  • Sleeping very little, but feeling extremely energetic
  • Talking so rapidly that others can’t keep up
  • Racing thoughts; jumping quickly from one idea to the next
  • Highly distractible, unable to concentrate
  • Impaired judgment and impulsiveness
  • Acting recklessly without thinking about the consequences
  • Delusions and hallucinations (in severe cases)

Symptoms of bipolar depression

In the past, bipolar depression was lumped in with regular depression, but a growing body of research suggests that there are significant differences between the two, especially when it comes to recommended treatments. Most people with bipolar depression are not helped by antidepressants. In fact, there is a risk that antidepressants can make bipolar disorder worse—triggering mania or hypomania, causing rapid cycling between mood states, or interfering with other mood stabilizing drugs.

Despite many similarities, certain symptoms are more common in bipolar depression than in regular depression. For example, bipolar depression is more likely to involve irritability, guilt, unpredictable mood swings, and feelings of restlessness. People with bipolar depression also tend to move and speak slowly, sleep a lot, and gain weight. In addition, they are more likely to develop psychotic depression—a condition in which they’ve lost contact with reality—and to experience major disability in work and social functioning.

Common symptoms of bipolar depression include:

  1. Feeling hopeless, sad, or empty
  2. Irritability
  3. Inability to experience pleasure
  4. Fatigue or loss of energy
  5. Physical and mental sluggishness
  1. Appetite or weight changes
  2. Sleep problems
  3. Concentration and memory problems
  4. Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  5. Thoughts of death or suicide

Symptoms of a mixed episode

A mixed episode of bipolar disorder features symptoms of both mania or hypomania and depression. Common signs of a mixed episode include depression combined with agitation, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, distractibility, and racing thoughts. This combination of high energy and low mood makes for a particularly high risk of suicide.

The different faces of bipolar disorder

Bipolar I Disorder (mania or a mixed episode) – This is the classic manic-depressive form of the illness, characterized by at least one manic episode or mixed episode. Usually—but not always—Bipolar I Disorder also involves at least one episode of depression.

Bipolar II Disorder (hypomania and depression) – In Bipolar II disorder, the person doesn’t experience full-blown manic episodes. Instead, the illness involves episodes of hypomania and severe depression.

Cyclothymia (hypomania and mild depression) – Cyclothymia is a milder form of bipolar disorder that consists of cyclical mood swings. However, the symptoms are less severe than full-blown mania or depression.

 

Treatment for bipolar disorder

If you spot the symptoms of bipolar depression in yourself or someone else, don’t wait to get help. Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away; in fact, it will almost certainly get worse. Living with untreated bipolar disorder can lead to problems in everything from your career to your relationships to your health. Diagnosing the problem as early as possible and getting into treatment can help prevent these complications.

If you’re reluctant to seek treatment because you like the way you feel when you’re manic, remember that the energy and euphoria come with a price. Mania and hypomania often turn destructive, hurting you and the people around you.

Treatment basics

Bipolar disorder requires long-term treatment. Since bipolar disorder is a chronic, relapsing illness, it’s important to continue treatment even when you’re feeling better. Most people with bipolar disorder need medication to prevent new episodes and stay symptom-free.

There is more to treatment than medication. Medication alone is usually not enough to fully control the symptoms of bipolar disorder. The most effective treatment strategy for bipolar disorder involves a combination of medication, therapy, lifestyle changes, and social support.

It’s best to work with an experienced psychiatrist. Bipolar disorder is a complex condition. Diagnosis can be tricky and treatment is often difficult. For safety reasons, medication should be closely monitored. A psychiatrist who is skilled in bipolar disorder treatment can help you navigate these twists and turns.

 

Self-help

While dealing with bipolar disorder isn’t always easy, it doesn’t have to run your life. But in order to successfully manage bipolar disorder, you have to make smart choices. Your lifestyle and daily habits have a significant impact on your moods and may even lessen your need for medication.

The keys to self-help
Get educated. Learn as much as you can about bipolar disorder. The more you know, the better you’ll be at assisting your own recovery.
Get moving. Exercise has a beneficial impact on mood and may reduce the number of bipolar episodes you experience. Aerobic exercise that activates arm and leg movement such as running, walking, swimming, dancing, climbing or drumming may be especially beneficial to your brain and nervous system.
Keep stress in check. Avoid high-stress situations, maintain a healthy work-life balance, and try relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing.
Seek support. It’s important to have people you can turn to for help and encouragement. Try joining a support group or talking to a trusted friend. Reaching out is not a sign of weakness and it won’t mean you’re a burden to others. In fact, most friends will be flattered that you trust them enough to confide in them, and it will only strengthen your relationship.
Stay closely connected to friends and family. Nothing is as calming to the nervous system as face-to-face contact with caring supportive people who can just listen to you talk about what you’re experiencing.
Make healthy choices. Healthy sleeping and eating habits can help stabilize your moods. Keeping a regular sleep schedule is particularly important.
Monitor your moods. Keep track of your symptoms and watch for signs that your moods are swinging out of control so you can stop the problem before it starts.

 

Bipolar disorder and suicide

The depressive phase of bipolar disorder is often very severe, and suicide is a major risk factor. In fact, people suffering from bipolar disorder are more likely to attempt suicide than those suffering from regular depression. Furthermore, their suicide attempts tend to be more lethal.

The risk of suicide is even higher in people with bipolar disorder who have frequent depressive episodes, mixed episodes, a history of alcohol or drug abuse, a family history of suicide, or an early onset of the disease.

The warning signs of suicide include:

  • Talking about death, self-harm, or suicide
  • Feeling hopeless or helpless
  • Feeling worthless or like a burden to others
  • Acting recklessly, as if one has a “death wish”
  • Putting affairs in order or saying goodbye
  • Seeking out weapons or pills that could be used to commit suicide

Important

It’s very important to take any thoughts or talk of suicide seriously. If you or someone you care about is suicidal, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the U.S. at 1-800-273-TALK or visit IASP or Suicide.org to find a helpline in your country. Or read Suicide Prevention.

 

Causes and triggers

Bipolar disorder has no single cause. It appears that certain people are genetically predisposed to bipolar disorder, yet not everyone with an inherited vulnerability develops the illness, indicating that genes are not the only cause. Some brain imaging studies show physical changes in the brains of people with bipolar disorder. Other research points to neurotransmitter imbalances, abnormal thyroid function, circadian rhythm disturbances, and high levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

External environmental and psychological factors are also believed to be involved in the development of bipolar disorder. These external factors are called triggers. Triggers can set off new episodes of mania or depression or make existing symptoms worse. However, many bipolar disorder episodes occur without an obvious trigger.

Stress – Stressful life events can trigger bipolar disorder in someone with a genetic vulnerability. These events tend to involve drastic or sudden changes—either good or bad—such as getting married, going away to college, losing a loved one, getting fired, or moving.

Substance Abuse – While substance abuse doesn’t cause bipolar disorder, it can bring on an episode and worsen the course of the disease. Drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy, and amphetamines can trigger mania, while alcohol and tranquilizers can trigger depression.

Medication – Certain medications, most notably antidepressant drugs, can trigger mania. Other drugs that can cause mania include over-the-counter cold medicine, appetite suppressants, caffeine, corticosteroids, and thyroid medication.

Seasonal Changes – Episodes of mania and depression often follow a seasonal pattern. Manic episodes are more common during the summer, and depressive episodes more common during the fall, winter, and spring.

Sleep Deprivation – Loss of sleep—even as little as skipping a few hours of rest—can trigger an episode of mania.

Bipolar Disorder articles

More related HelpGuide articles

 

Resources and references

General information about bipolar disorder

Bipolar Disorder – Article on the symptoms, causes, and treatment of bipolar disorder, or manic depression. (National Institute of Mental Health)

Treatment of Bipolar Disorder: A Guide for Patients and Families (PDF) – Gives a helpful overview of the signs, symptoms, causes, and treatment of bipolar disorder. (PsychGuides)

Signs and symptoms

Bipolar I Disorder – Covers the symptoms and diagnostic criteria for Bipolar I Disorder, including the signs of individual mood episodes of hypomania, mania, and depression. (Internet Mental Health)

Bipolar Disorder: Rapid Cycling and its Treatment – Includes information on the signs, symptoms, and causes of rapid cycling in bipolar disorder. (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance)

Bipolar disorder and suicide prevention

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Suicide prevention telephone hotline funded by the U.S. government. Provides free, 24-hour assistance. 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

IASP – Find crisis centers and suicide helplines around the world. (International Association for Suicide Prevention).

Samaritans UK – 24-hour suicide support for people in the UK and Republic of Ireland (call 116 123). (Samaritans)

Lifeline Australia – 24-hour suicide crisis support service at 13 11 14. (Lifeline Australia)

Crisis Centers in Canada – Locate suicide crisis centers in Canada by province. (Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention)

Understanding Suicidal Thinking – Learn how to fight suicidal thoughts, help someone else who is suicidal, and respond to an emergency situation. (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance)

Featured

Betrabrand Yoga Pants- Perfect For Work

Betrabrand Yoga Pants- Perfect For Work

 

Large Editorial Image

Quick-change artist Betabrand

October 13, 2016 Updated: October 13, 2016 5:21pm

As San Francisco’s Betabrand prepares to launch its ironic Silicon Valley Fashion Week? for the second year in a row — watch as robots, exoskeletons and a llama outdo last year’s drones! — it’s worth noting that the irreverent online clothing company might never have launched had its founder grown up watching cable TV.

Cable wasn’t available in the 1980s in Chris Lindland’s hometown of Rancho Santa Fe (San Diego County), so when his parents declined to sign up for satellite TV, he did the next best thing: He created his own shows.

“Friends of mine had video cameras, so we would always make stupid home movies,” the 44-year-old said at the company’s retail shop and headquarters on Valencia Street recently. “The storytelling part that you see around Betabrand began with me doing that kind of stuff.”

Betabrand may have begun as a joke, but the joke was on him when his first product, Cordarounds, took off in 2006. Lindland was employed by an online German hotel company at the time; to bolster his resume and marketing chops he created a side project: pants whose ridges wound around the legs horizontally and a website with clever quips and faux scientific facts about how the pants lowered the wearer’s (ahem) “crotch heat index.”

Adolescent male humor has taken the company far since Betabrand launched officially in 2010, but six years into the madness, the question isn’t why goofiness is so appealing. It’s how the company sustains a creativity that seems to burn ever hotter.

After an hour of rapid-fire conversation with Lindland, a fashion disrupter appropriately born on Bastille Day — and who claims to be jet-lagged after arriving home the previous day from Europe but shows no sign of fatigue — it’s apparent the fuel is his own inner high-octane drive. It’s a unique formula composed of his experience as the co-founder of a tech startup (i-Drive data storage); a stint in Hollywood as the creator of an animated comedy show sold to Spike TV; and a Gen X perspective that grounds him in the ways that digital consumers live and think.

Die-hard fans of Betabrand’s disco-patterned fabric gather at Betabrand headquarters at 780 Valencia in San Francisco on Oct. 24 for DiscoCon. Betabrand, a San Francisco apparel company, has a wide range of products but has found the people who adore the disco apparel and fabric are particularly fervent. Photo: Michele Ochoa, Courtesy

Photo: Michele Ochoa, Courtesy

Die-hard fans of Betabrand’s disco-patterned fabric gather at Betabrand headquarters at 780 Valencia in San Francisco on Oct. 24 for DiscoCon. Betabrand, a San Francisco apparel company, has a wide range of products but has found the people who adore the disco apparel and fabric are particularly fervent.

“The Internet has created consumers that expect the world to change every 15 seconds,” Lindland says, standing amid racks of fan-favorite silver Disco Hoodies on the sales floor.

“How can a fashion industry that says, ‘We’re going to invent what you wear two years from now’ connect with the consumer base that expects everything to be immediate, and constantly changing?” Lindland asks. “Our business says, ‘Design ideas can spring forth in two minutes; we should be striving to have people interact with that two hours later.’ Because a design is an idea, and an idea is what people consume online.”

That’s why Betabrand keeps its website dizzyingly fresh — posting 12 to 15 garments online every week, unlike traditional clothing companies that design months in advance and deliver apparel to department stores up to a year later.

To achieve the rapid turnaround, Betabrand’s in-house fashion designers make their own sketches and review hundreds of ideas submitted by outside designers. All designs are posted in a crowdfunding section of the website; if they are a success, they join Betabrand’s collection.

To manufacture at breakneck speed, Betabrand does all the back-end work first: It develops a prototype for a garment, and a supply chain for materials and vendors, and then places the garment on its website for customers to browse and order. “If we find out that 10,000 people want this thing,” Lindland says, pointing to a new plaid shirt on a rack, “production can begin two days later.”

Comedy is integral to Betabrand’s popularity, hence the emphasis on gag names like the new Weed-Tweed blazer by Matt Their found on the crowdfunding section of the company’s website. (“It’s pretty clear that pot’s going mainstream across the United States. Soon, smokers of all ages, shapes, and strains will emerge from the smoky shadows to rejoice and blaze up! And what will these legions of newly liberated tokers wear? My Weed-Tweed Blazer, naturally,” the product blurb states.)

The Betabrand Pantsuit Calendar, new for 2016, features 32 female tech entrepreneurs wearing the brand’s Dress Pant Yoga Pant and is part of an effort to raise money for Techstar Foundation, which works to improve diversity in the tech world. $20 at www.betabrand.com. Pictured here are Leila Janah, CEO of Samasource, and Caroline Ghon, CEO of Levo. Photo: Betabrand

Photo: Betabrand

The Betabrand Pantsuit Calendar, new for 2016, features 32 female tech entrepreneurs wearing the brand’s Dress Pant Yoga Pant and is part of an effort to raise money for Techstar Foundation, which works to improve diversity in the tech world. $20 at www.betabrand.com. Pictured here are Leila Janah, CEO of Samasource, and Caroline Ghon, CEO of Levo.

Betabrand, which strives to be the “Facebook of fashion,” also gets new ideas from Internet chatter.

Following the success of its $78 Dress Pant Yoga Pant for women, created by Sarah James for office workers in 2014, Betabrand saw that women were wondering why nobody was making stylish, comfy apparel for traveling. That’s how a 40-piece travel collection that includes the Red Eye Wrap, travel jeans and a travel skort was born.

The pace may be relentless, but Betabrand’s employees seem to enjoy Lindland’s charismatic pressure.

In August, Lindland held the company’s first Alumni Ball, a costume party to celebrate the efforts of present and past employees.

One of those present, Steve Teeple, 28, a senior web producer, says he left Apple and took a pay cut to come to Betabrand in 2012.

“It’s an insane editorial-magazine-newspaper vibe, where Chris coming up to us saying, ‘This story isn’t working — we’re going to change it up’ and ‘We have to scramble to re-photograph things and move things around,’” says Teeple. “He wants to be the person that is saying, ‘Why can’t we do this better? Why can’t we do this faster?’ and I really respect that about him.”

One of those rip-and-redo episodes involved a campaign for a hemp-fiber shirt called the Tree Hugger, with photos of a man hugging a tree. Lindland scrapped it, feeling it was lackluster, and suggested two alternatives — The Libertarian, for the consumer who believes in guns and sustainable textiles, and the Tree Humper, about a forbidden romance between man and tree.

How does Lindland keep those new ideas coming?

“I’ve often wondered that myself,” says Benjamin Keyser, 37, Betabrand’s art director, as electronic dance music pulsed inside. “It doesn’t seem like it takes him any effort to come up with stuff — it’s all kind of mad scientist brilliant weird stuff, and not all of it is appropriate for photo shoots.”

Technical designer and pattern maker Morgan Brown specing a garment at Betabrand. Photo: Liz Hafalia, The Chronicle

Photo: Liz Hafalia, The Chronicle

Technical designer and pattern maker Morgan Brown specing a garment at Betabrand.

In September, Betabrand launched YogAID, a program that donated $5 from the purchase of each pair of Dress Pant Yoga Pants to the nonprofit Techstars Foundation, working to increase diversity in the tech field, raising $100,000 for the group. Betabrand also gave those customers a free Betabrand pantsuit calendar featuring 32 local female entrepreneurs (Debbie Sterling of GoldiBlox; Stephanie Hannon, Hillary Clinton’s CTO; Caroline Ghosn of Levo) clad in pantsuits and photographed doing yoga poses.

As Betabrand launches its new Urban Outdoors line this month, it’s also preparing for the second annual Silicon Valley Fashion Week? Oct. 20-22, to be sponsored by Zappos and held at the Gantry, a new mid-Market event space in San Francisco, to accommodate an anticipated 2,500 attendees.

Lindland is focusing on the Bay Area’s Burning Man and maker roots, and he hopes the event becomes “like “Comi-con for fashion,” referring to the long-running San Diego convention attended by more than 130,000 costumed fans. “We’re the home of visual stuff and technology. That feels more like a San Francisco show than if we try to behave like a New York show; whenever San Francisco tries, it looks like a pale comparison.”

Carolyne Zinko is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: czinko@sfchronicle.com

Silicon Valley Fashion Week?

Oct. 20-22: 1425 Market St. Tickets: $25 and up; www.betabrand.com. The Betabrand Pantsuit calendar is $20 at www.betabrand.com/pantsuit-calendar.html.

Betabrand’s greatest hits

2011: Disco pants; the “caperon,” a hybrid cape and apron

2012: Executive Pinstripe Hoodie, timed to Facebook’s IPO.

2014: Dress Pant Yoga Pant, the company’s best-selling item to date; Gay Jeans, with multicolored threads that fray and “come out” as the garment is worn.

Creative block? Lindland’s “environmental” tips for getting unstuck:

1. Head to a cafe. Surely the coffee aids in elevating the senses, but the environmental change is the extra ingredient. There’s always someone working away on a screenplay, start-up or thesis, and my mind feeds off the environment.

2. Take a hike. Once a month, I walk a couple projects up Twin Peaks or Mount Tam. Sounds like an excuse to blow off work, but when your job is inventing experiences (which fashion really is all about), it helps to take your brain to places folks really want to be.

3. Visit SFMOMA. Sounds pretentious, but it really isn’t. Art museums are monuments to creative thinking. It never hurts to wander through an ocean of ideas when you’re puzzling about problems — creative, professional or personal

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It’s National Yoga Month!

National Yoga Month!

 

It’s National Yoga Month! Celebrate with These Flow-Ready Pieces from Our Favorite Brands

It's National Yoga Month! Celebrate with These Flow-Ready Pieces from Our Favorite Brands

COURTESY

SEPTEMBER 1, 2016 @ 5:30 PM
BY: ALISON SYRETT (TEXT) AND ALEXIS PARENTE (MARKET)

Vinyasa, Bikram, Hatha—pick your favorite flow, and book a session now because today marks the start of National Yoga Month. At the risk of sounding just like an instructor, expounding zen advice at the front of class with a sitar, this is the perfect opportunity to refocus your practice and help it grow. Cue the ohms.

But also, maybe the cue the shopping? Whether it’s a fitted shirt that (finally!) doesn’t awkwardly sag forward during downward facing dog or a matching bra top and leggings that give you the confidence to go shirtless in a heated room, just the right outfit impacts your time on the mats more than you might think. (Plus, you’ll feel really cute, which can be more valuable than 1,000 plank poses, no?)

To get you amped for your next session, we’ve culled the yoga-wear sections of our favorite athletic apparel brands for the best buys of the season. Scroll down to browse and buy our top picks.

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      1. ALO YOGA

      This Cali-based label’s dancer-esque silhouettes—all of which has been tested and approved by yoga fanatics—are perfect for layering up on your way to class (and peeling off when the sweat starts to flow).

      Amelia crop, $60; aloyoga.com. Goddess leggings, $98; aloyoga.com. Sculpt tank, $46; aloyoga.com.

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      2. OUTDOOR VOICES

      Between the heathered tones and chic paneling, there’s nothing earthy-crunchy about these stretchy separates, courtesy of the buzziest athleisure line in the biz. Add a bomber to take the look straight from stretching to dinner.

      Springs legging, $95; outdoorvoices.com. Tech Sweat Biker short, $65; outdoorvoices.com. Athena crop, $50; outdoorvoices.com.

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      3. ALALA

      104 degrees, what?! For holding poses in ungodly heat, micro shots and a bra (we love how these ones have breathable mesh built in) are your best bet. Later, you’ll want a light jacket for that post-class iced coffee run.

      Edge hot shorts, $75; alalastyle.com. Crusade bra, $55; alalastyle.com. Neoprene jacket, $205; alalastyle.com.

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      4. LULULEMON

      Cut from thick, supremely flattering Lycra, these crazy comforable basics come in multiple colors (aka, the ultimate excuse to buy multiples).

      Power Y tank, $52; lululemon.com. Wunder Under crop, $88; lululemon.com. Both Ways bra, $58; lululemon.com.

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Mental Health Awareness Month- (Psychologists Help With Weight )

Mental Health Awareness Month- (Psychologists Help Weight)

How psychologists help with weight management

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Many people struggle with weight control. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 33 percent of U.S. adults are overweight and an additional 36 percent are obese. Approximately one in six children in the U.S. is obese. People gain weight in a variety of ways, such as while recovering from an injury or health issue or slowly adding pounds while growing older.

When it comes to losing weight, many individuals know to focus on eating less and exercising more. But a major aspect of weight control involves understanding and managing thoughts and behaviors that can interfere with weight loss.

Seeing a psychologist about weight control

Psychologists are experts in helping people make behavioral and lifestyle changes that assist with weight management. They may work with individuals and families independently in their private practice or as part of a health care team, often in a setting where mental health and medical services are integrated. Sometimes a psychologist will work on weight control with a patient who has been referred by a physician, dietitian or other health care professional.

People who seek help from psychologists range in age from children to adults. They include those who simply struggle with managing their weight as well as individuals whose weight problems are related to chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease or other conditions like depression, anxiety or eating disorders.

What happens during visits with a psychologist

An initial visit with a psychologist usually involves a discussion about your history and concerns. This may include your weight management goals and past efforts to lose weight, medical history, stress levels, current life situation and your sources of social support like family and friends.

In order to help you, psychologists also want to learn about your habits and attitudes about food, eating, weight loss and body image that may not support your health goals. Common unhealthy beliefs that patients express include: having to clean off their plate; needing dessert after meals; and feeling like a failure when weight loss stalls. Some typical behaviors include: eating whatever they want after exercise; using food to cope with feelings of boredom or stress; and continuing to eat when they are no longer hungry.

These types of behaviors and beliefs often sabotage weight loss efforts. Psychologists talk to patients about their challenges to making healthy choices and identify the triggers that prompt the patient to make unhealthy choices. A psychologist may also evaluate a patient for anxiety, depression and eating disorders such as binge eating. These conditions can sometimes contribute to weight issues.

Developing a treatment plan

By the end of a first visit, psychologists usually have a comprehensive picture of a patient. They discuss what patients are already doing well and should continue; and they identify areas of need and difficulty related to weight management. After the initial visit, the psychologist and patient schedule follow up appointments and start to create a treatment plan.

Treatment plans differ from one individual to another but tend to be brief. The plan often involves teaching self-monitoring behaviors, changing old beliefs, building new coping skills and making changes to home and work environments to support health goals. Psychologists help individuals address obstacles to weight loss, identify positive ways to change unhealthy habits and develop new skills and ways of thinking.

Many psychologists concentrate on one health behavior at a time. For example, if evenings are a challenging time to maintain good eating habits, the psychologist may ask the patient to keep a log of food eaten in the evenings and make notes about their environment, how they felt and what they were thinking. These factors provide important information about what is driving eating behaviors and helps the psychologist and patient figure out a way to address the behaviors.

Progressing and improving

After even a few sessions, most patients begin to notice changes. For example, patients may start to challenge old beliefs about food and practice new ones that support their health goals.

Together with the psychologist, a patient can determine how long treatment should last. People with extreme anxiety and depression, eating disorders or chronic physical health conditions, may require longer and/or more frequent treatment.

The ultimate goal is to help people develop skills so they can lead healthy lives.

Changing your eating habits

Consider the following steps that can be helpful in changing unhealthy eating behaviors and thoughts:

Monitor your behaviors. Research is clear that people who write down what they eat in a daily log are more successful at losing weight. Record your thoughts, feelings and information about the environment such as where you ate, when and what you were doing. This will help you understand your eating behaviors and identify areas to change.

Track your activity level. This is another important aspect of self-monitoring. It includes not only how much you exercise but also the extent to which you move around during the day rather than remaining seated or inactive. One helpful tactic involves using a pedometer to record the number of steps you take each day.

Eat regular meals. Patients often skip breakfast with the thought they are reducing calories or can “save up” calories for later. But skipping meals can slow your metabolism, make you prone to later eating binges and have a negative effect on your health.

Practice “mindful” eating. Research shows that individuals with eating problems often don’t pay attention to whether they are really hungry when they eat. Psychologists can help you learn mindfulness exercises to heighten your awareness of hunger levels and to make eating more enjoyable.

Understand the things you associate with food. Behaviors are habitual and learned. Sometimes people may associate certain emotions, experiences or daily activities with particular behaviors. For example, if you typically eat while watching TV your brain has made an association between food and TV. You may not be hungry, but in your mind TV and eating are paired together. So when you watch TV you suddenly feel the urge to eat. You can begin to break this association by not eating while watching TV.

Identify your emotions. It’s important to figure out what is happening emotionally while snacking, overeating or choosing unhealthy foods. Identify the feeling: is it boredom, stress or sadness? Patients need to determine if they are really hungry or just responding to an emotion. If you aren’t hungry, find another way to meet that need.

Modify your unhealthy thoughts and behaviors. Reinforcing healthy behaviors is important to achieving your weight management goals. Too often, people have negative thoughts and feelings about changing their health behaviors and see the process as punishment. Some people have an “all or nothing” attitude and think about weight loss in terms of being “on” or “off” a diet. Psychologists work with people to address negative feelings and find ways to reward healthy changes to their eating habits.

The American Psychological Association gratefully acknowledges Amy Walters, PhD, director of behavioral health services at St. Luke’s Humphrey Diabetes Center in Boise, Idaho and Kathleen Ashton, PhD, Bariatric and Metabolic Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, Ohio for contributing to this fact sheet.
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Mental Health Awareness Month- ( Medical Doctors Help To Lose Weight)

Mental Health Month- (Mental Health Awareness Month- (Medical Professionals Help To Lose Weight)

How to Help Your Patients Lose Weight

How to Help Your Patients Lose WeightMany pages of The Carlat Report have been devoted to how we cause our patients to become obese with some of the medications we prescribe. In this article, we review ways in which we can atone for our sins.

To begin with, you need to learn what Body Mass Index (BMI) is, because this is the preferred outcome variable in all the obesity research these days. The BMI takes height into account in determining how overweight (or underweight) somebody is. The formula is: weight (in kg) divided by height (in meters) squared. You can use inches and pounds with the NIH table at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/ obesity/bmi_tbl.htm (go ahead – look yourself up).

Normal weight is classified as a BMI of 18.5-24.9, overweight is 25-29.9, and a BMI of 30 or How to Help Your Patients Lose Weightabove is considered obese The definitive study of the relationship between BMI and mortality (NEJM 1999; 341: 1097-1105) followed more than 1 million men and woman over 14 years, and reported the BMIs of those who died during that period. The lowest death rates were found among women with BMIs from 22.0 to 23.4 and among men with BMIs from 23.5 to 24.9. Of course, as one’s BMI increases, one’s death rate goes up. For example, men with BMIs of 35 or higher had triple the rate of cardiovascular death as the ideal group. People with very low BMIs also incurred a higher death rate, but these increases were quite small.

If you weren’t already motivated to prevent weight gain in your patients, hopefully this data motivates you further. Unfortunately, many psychiatric medications cause weight gain. The table below is helpful as a quick reference of weight gain liabilities of some of the more common agents we prescribe.

How to Help Your Patients Lose Weight
Helping Patients Lose Weight

Assuming that you have calculated your patient’s BMI and that you both agree that his or her weight is a problem, how do you go about facilitating weight loss? Most experts recommend setting a pretty modest weight loss goal initially, on the order of 10% of initial body weight over six months. Setting the bar low helps prevent failure and disappointment.

Most patients have a hard time sticking to a diet on their own, and a recent study comparing self-help dieting with participation in Weight Watchers bears this point out. In this study, about 150 overweight or obese men and women were randomized to Weight Watchers vs. “self help” (two 20 minute nutritionist visits and some pamphlets). After one year, the Weight Watchers group lost 9.5 lbs. vs. 2.9 lbs. for the self-help group. At two years, there was some weight regain, but the Weight Watchers group was still lighter, with a loss of 6.4 lbs, than self-help with 0.4 lb (JAMA 2003; 289:1792- 1798). Not that Weight Watchers is special–all commercial diet programs seem to work about equally well, meaning very modestly. A more recent JAMA article randomized dieters to four popular programs: Atkins, Zone, Weight Watchers, and Ornish. After one year, each program produced modest weight loss, ranging from 4.8 pounds for the Atkins diet to 7.3 pounds for the Ornish diet. Differences among them were not statistically significant (JAMA 2005; 293:43-53).

Exercise is important too, although the oft-cited recommendation of 45 continuous minutes of exercise three times a week can be a tall order for people who are obese and, according to another study, may be no more effective than shorter bursts of exercise spread out throughout the day. In this study, 148 overweight women were randomized to three different types of exercise: 40 minutes/day of walking; 40 minutes/day but divided up into 10 minute sessions; and 40 minutes in short sessions on a home treadmill. The women in the three groups lost weight equally well, and those in the short session/home treadmill group were more likely to actually exercise during the last half-year of the study (JAMA 1999 282: 1554-1560). The moral of this story? Advise your patients to exercise in short sessions throughout the day and tell them to get a treadmill if they can afford one.

Medications for Obesity

Believe me, there are a lot more prescription medications for weight loss than you realize. For example, have you ever heard of diethylpropion, mazindol, phendimetrazine, or phentermine? They’re all FDA-approved for obesity, and each is a basic appetite suppressant, related to amphetamine. There are also a number of non-stimulant medications, which we’ll focus on because they are generally considered safer, although not necessarily more effective, than stimulants.

Xenical (orlistat)

It sounds like a dream-come-true: A pill that simply prevents the absorption of too much fat. Who would need to diet anymore? Despite its promise, orlistat has not become as popular as you might predict. Most patients have bouts of diarrhea and fatty stools over the first four weeks, and beyond that, it’s not miraculously effective, leading to only about 6 more pounds of weight loss than placebo over one year (International Journal of Obesity 2003; 27:1437-1446). It’s dosed at 120 mg TID with meals, and patients should take vitamin supplements to ensure they get their daily A, D, E, and K. Rumors are that is will be sold over-the-counter soon.

Despite its problems, Xenical may be helpful for psychiatric patients, especially those with metabolic complications of atypical antipsychotics. In one study, patients with metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes (without mental illness) were randomized to receive either orlistat 360 mg QD plus dieting or dieting alone. After 6 months, those in the orlistat group lost more weight, had improved measures of glucose control and systolic blood pressure, had lower cholesterol levels, and were less likely to meet criteria for metabolic syndrome (Curr Med Res Opin 2004; 20(9):1393- 1401).

Meridia (sibutramine)

Meridia works by inhibiting the reuptake of both norepinephrnie and serotonin, thereby suppressing appetite. Large placebo-controlled studies have shown it to be quite likely the most effective of the weight loss meds, leading to an average weight loss of close to 10 lbs. more than placebo over a year (International Journal of Obesity 2003 27: 1437-1446).

In psychiatry, Meridia (sibutramine) seems quite effective for the treatment of binge eating disorder. According to a recent study, it reduced binge eating and depression, and also led to 16 lbs. of weight loss (vs. small weight gain in the placebo group). (Arch Gen Psychiatry 2003; 60:1109-1116). Patients in this study received Meridia 15 mg QD; only dry mouth and constipation were more common in the Meridia group than placebo. It did not increase blood pressure but did increase heart rate from 80 to 87.

While serotonin syndrome is a theoretical concern, the European Agency for the evaluation of medicinal products concluded in a 2002 safety review that there was little evidence implicating Meridia as a culprit in a few reported cases (http://www.emea.eu.int/ pdfs/human/referral/451402en.pdf).How to Help Your Patients Lose Weight

Prozac and Wellbutrin

It’s nice to be able to offer a “twofer” to patients who want to lose both depression and weight. Both Prozac and Wellbutrin qualify for this unusual status. While Wellbutrin appears to have gotten most of the press about being a weight loss agent lately, it turns out that our old stalwart Prozac has been studied even more intensively for this indication.

According to a recent meta-analysis by Agency for Heath Care Research and Quality (http://www.ahrq.gov/ downloads/pub/evidence/pdf/obespharm/ obespharm.pdf), six decent long term (at least 12 months) placebo-controlled studies of Prozac have been published, and the average extra weight loss achieved over placebo was about 7 lbs. Most of these studies used the relatively high dose of 60 mg QD.

While Wellbutrin can boast only three placebo-controlled studies, these were all larger studies than any of Prozac’s, with study populations ranging from 217 to 423. The average excess weight loss over 6-12 months was about 6 lbs, and the maximum recommended dose was used– 400 mg QD.

Some of these studies excluded patients with major depression, and others didn’t. The weight loss effect seems to occur either way, which may come as a surprise to those of us who suspect that the “weight gain” of patients on SSRIs is an indirect result of improved mood. Apparently, with Prozac and Wellbutrin, you can improve mood and lose weight at once.

What’s Dexatrim?

Many of my patients over the years have either been taking over-the-counter Dexatrim or have asked me whether they should take it. Dexatrim is a weight loss product that used to contain a stimulant called phenylpropanolamine, or PPA. However, in November of 2000, the FDA publicized results of a study showing a higher risk of hemorrhagic stroke in women taking products with PPA, and it asked manufacturers to voluntarily stop using PPA in any product. While this fell short of an actual recall, the weight loss industry for the most part complied, and you’d be hard-pressed to find any PPA in drug stores today. You can still buy “Dexatrim,” but it is a reformulated “natural” product, with no PPA. For more information on this topic, see the FDA’s PPA information page at http://www.fda.gov/cder/ drug/infopage/ppa/default.htm.

TCR VERDICT: Programs and pills: Both work, but weight loss is modest.

 

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Mental Health Awareness Month- (Depression)

Mental Health Awareness Month- (Depression)


Depression: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

 

Sadness, feeling down, having a loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities – these are symptoms familiar to all of us. But, if they persist and affect our life substantially, it may be depression.

According to the CDC, 7.6 percent of people over the age of 12 has depression in any 2-week period.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is the most common illness worldwide and the leading cause of disability. They estimate that 350 millionpeople are affected by depression, globally.

Fast facts on depression

Here are some key points about depression. More detail and supporting information is in the body of this article.

  • Depression is more common among women than men
  • Life events such as bereavement produce mood changes that can usually be distinguished from the features of depression
  • The causes of depression are not fully understood but are likely to be a complex combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychosocial factors

 

What is depression?

[depressed woman at breakfast]
Depression can affect appetite.

Depression is a mental health disorder. Specifically, it is a mood disorder characterized by persistently low mood in which there is a feeling of sadness and loss of interest.

Depression is a persistent problem, not a passing one – the average length of a depressive episode is 6-8 months.

Depression is different from the fluctuations in mood that we all experience as a part of a normal and healthy life. Temporary emotional responses to the challenges of everyday life do not constitute depression.

Likewise, even the feeling of grief resulting from the death of someone close is not itself depression if it does not persist. Depression can, however, be related to bereavement – when depression follows a loss, psychologists call it a “complicated bereavement.”

Unipolar versus bipolar depression

If the predominant feature is a depressed mood, it is called unipolar depression. However, if it is characterized by both manic and depressive episodes separated by periods of normal mood, it is referred to as bipolar disorder (previously called manic depression).

Unipolar depression can involve anxiety and other symptoms – but no manic episodes. However, for around 40 percent of the time over a 13-year period, individuals with bipolar disorder are depressed, making the two conditions difficult to distinguish.

Major depressive disorder with psychotic features

This condition is characterized by depression accompanied by psychosis.

Psychosis can involve delusions – false beliefs and detachment from reality, or hallucinations – sensing things that do not exist.

Postpartum depression

Women often experience “baby blues” with a newborn, but postpartum depression – also known as postnatal depression – is more severe.

Major depressive disorder with seasonal pattern

Previously called seasonal affective disorder (SAD), this condition is related to the reduced daylight of winter – the depression occurs during this season but lifts for the rest of the year and in response to light therapy.

Countries with long or severe winters seem to be affected more by this condition.

 

Causes of depression

The causes of depression are not fully understood and may not be down to a single source. Depression is likely to be due to a complex combination of factors that include:

  • Genetics
  • Biological – changes in neurotransmitter levels
  • Environmental
  • Psychological and social/psychosocial

Some people are at higher risk of depression than others; risk factors include:

  • Life events – for example, bereavement, divorce, and poverty
  • Personality – less successful coping strategies, for instance
  • Genetic factors – first-degree relatives of depressed patients are at higher risk
  • Childhood trauma
  • Some prescription drugs – including corticosteroids, some beta-blockers, interferon, and reserpine
  • Abuse of recreational drugs (including alcohol and amphetamines) – can accompany depression or result in it. There are strong links between drug abuse and depression
  • A past head injury
  • People who have had an episode of major depression are at higher risk of a subsequent one
  • Chronic pain syndromes in particular, but also other chronic conditions, such as diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cardiovascular disease

 

Symptoms of depression

Symptoms of depression can include:

  • Depressed mood
  • Reduced interest or pleasure in activities previously enjoyed, loss of sexual desire
  • Unintentional weight loss (without dieting) or low appetite
  • Insomnia (difficulty sleeping) or hypersomnia (excessive sleeping)
  • Psychomotor agitation (for example, restlessness, pacing up and down), or psychomotor retardation (slowed movements and speech)
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Worsened ability to think, concentrate, or make decisions
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide, or attempt at suicide

Other features may be noted by doctors, friends, or relatives:

  • Appearing miserable, tearful eyes, furrowed brows, down-turned corners of the mouth
  • Slumped posture, lack of eye contact and facial expression
  • Little body movement, and speech changes (for example, soft voice, use of monosyllabic words)
  • Gloomy, pessimistic, humorless, passive, lethargic, introverted, hypercritical of self and others, complaining

 

Tests and diagnosis of depression

[depressed man]
Low mood for most of the day every day is one of the flags for depression.

Diagnosis of depression starts with a consultation with a doctor or mental health specialist (psychologist or psychiatrist).

It is important to seek the help of a health professional to rule out different causes of depression, ensure an accurate differential diagnosis, and secure safe and effective treatment.

As for most visits to the doctor, there may be a physical examination to check for physical causes and coexisting conditions. Questions will also be asked – “taking a history” – to establish the symptoms, their time course, and so on.

Some questionnaires help doctors to assess the severity of depression. The Hamilton depression rating scale, for example, has 21 questions, with resulting scores describing the severity of the condition.

The Hamilton scale is the most widely used assessment instrument in the world for clinicians rating depression.

 

Treatments for depression

Depression is a treatable mental illness. There are three components to the management of depression:

  • Support – ranging from discussing practical solutions and contributing stresses, to educating family members
  • Psychotherapy – also known as talking therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Drug treatment – antidepressants

Psychotherapy

Psychological or talking therapies for depression include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal psychotherapy, and problem-solving treatment.

In mild cases of depression, psychotherapies are the first option for treatment; in moderate and severe cases they may be used alongside other treatment.

CBT and interpersonal therapy are the two main types of psychotherapy used in depression. Both talking therapies focus on the present and encourage the regaining of control over mood and functioning.

CBT may be delivered in individual sessions with a therapist, face-to-face, or over the telephone, but it can also be completed via a computer or in groups. Computerized cognitive behavioral therapy can help reduce depression symptoms in young people.

Interpersonal therapy helps patients to identify emotional problems that affect relationships and communication, and how these, in turn, affect mood and can be changed.

Antidepressant medications


Antidepressants are drugs available on prescription from a doctor.

Drugs come into use for moderate to severe depression, but are not recommended for children, and will be prescribed only with caution for adolescents.

A choice of antidepressant medications is available – the individual selection is a matter of personal preference, previous success or failure, adverse side-effects, whether overdose is likely and could be a danger, and interaction with any other treatments being used.

A number of classes of medication are available in the treatment of depression:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Atypical antidepressants
  • Selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI)

Each class of antidepressant acts on a different neurotransmitter – SSRIs, for example, increase the production of serotonin in the brain, while MAOIs block an enzyme that breaks down neurotransmitters. The exact way in which antidepressant medications work is not fully understood.

SSRIs are usually tried first. Antidepressant drugs need to be taken for some time before there is an effect – typically 2-3 weeks – and continued for 6-12 months. The drugs should be continued as prescribed by the doctor, even after symptoms have improved, to prevent relapse.

A warning from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that “antidepressant medications may increase suicidal thoughts or actions in some children, teenagers, and young adults within the first few months of treatment.”

Any concerns should always be raised with a doctor – including any intention to stop taking antidepressants.

Exercise and other therapies

Aerobic exercise may help against mild depression since it raises endorphin levels and stimulates the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, which is related to mood.

Brain stimulation therapies – including electroconvulsive therapy – are also used in depression. Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation sends magnetic pulses to the brain and may be effective in major depressive disorder.

 

Electroconvulsive therapy

Severe cases of depression that have not responded to drug treatment may benefit from electroconvulsive therapy (ECT); this is particularly effective for psychotic depression.

 
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Lose Weight Without Exercising

Lose Weight Without Exercising

Expert Reviewed

wikiHow to Lose Weight Without Exercising

Three Methods:Modifying Your Diet for Weight LossMaintaining Your Weight LossMaking Lifestyle Changes for Weight LossCommunity Q&A

Weight loss generally occurs when the body expends more calories than it takes in. That means, you have to burn off or eat fewer calories that you consume through meals and snacks. Many people cut calories from their diet and burn calories through exercise to achieve weight loss. Working out on a regular basis is helpful for weight loss, but may not be practical for some people due to health conditions, time restraints, or lack of interest. However, research shows that when it comes to weight loss, diet plays a much more important role compared to exercise.[1] It’s easier to decrease caloric intake by modifying your diet compared to burning off a significant amount of calories through exercise. Making a few changes to your diet and lifestyle can help you lose weight safely and effectively without planned exercising.

1

Modifying Your Diet for Weight Loss

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    Count calories. Weight loss programs usually require you to modify your total calorie intake. Counting calories and being aware of how much you eat can help you lose weight. In general, you’ll want to cut out about 500–750 calories daily to lose about one to two pounds weekly.[2]
    • Figure out how many calories you can cut from your daily diet by first calculating the number of calories you should take in each day. Do this by searching online for a calorie calculator, then inputting your weight, height, age and activity level in order to calculate your recommended caloric intake. Each person is different, so it’s best to get your own, personalized number.
    • Do not consume less than 1200 calories daily. A diet that’s too low in calories puts you at risk for nutrient deficiencies as you cannot eat enough food to meet your daily requirements for most vitamins, minerals, and protein.[3]
    • “Your weight is a balancing act, and calories are part of that equation. Fad diets may promise you that counting carbs or eating a mountain of grapefruit will make the pounds drop off. But when it comes to weight loss, it’s calories that count. Weight loss comes down to burning more calories than you take in. You can do that by reducing extra calories from food and beverages, and increasing calories burned through physical activity.”[4]
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    Write yourself a meal plan. If you are not exercising to burn calories, you must trim them from your diet in order to lose weight. Writing out a meal plan can help you plot out all your meals and snacks and make sure they fit into your pre-determined calorie range.
    • Spend some time writing out all your meals, snacks, and beverages for a few days or a week.
    • Allot a certain caloric amount for each meal. For example: 300-calorie breakfast, two 500-calorie bigger meals, and one to two 100-calorie snacks. This may help you choose what foods to eat for meals and snacks throughout the day.
    • Include foods from all five food groups most days. Review your meal plan to make sure you’re getting adequate amounts of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and dairy.
    • Having all your meals and snacks planned in advance may keep you from making poor nutrition choices when you’re in a rush.
    • Keeps snacks conveniently located and ready in the fridge, car, backpack or purse.
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    Eat a balanced diet. A diet that is calorie controlled and includes all five food groups is a good foundation for healthy weight loss.[5] You should include all of the following most days:
    • Fruits and veggies. These foods are dense, filling, low-calorie and low-fat. Not only are fruits and veggies great for your waistline they have copious amounts of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants that you need for long-term health.[6]Aim to make 1/2 of your meals fruits and/or vegetables.
    • Lean protein. Foods like poultry, eggs, pork, beef, legumes, dairy products, and tofu are great sources of lean protein. Protein will help keep you satisfied longer and may curb hunger cravings.[7] Aim to include 3-4 oz of protein at each meal — this is about the size of a deck of cards.
    • 100% whole grains. Foods that are whole grains are high in fiber and some vitamins and minerals.[8] Quinoa, oats, brown rice, millet, and 100% whole wheat pasta and bread are examples of whole grains to include in your diet. Limit your grains to about 1/2 cup or 1 oz per meal.
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    Snack healthy. Including one to two low-calorie snacks is appropriate when you’re trying to lose weight. Many times, a snack will help support your weight loss.[9]
    • Snacking may be appropriate when there is more than five or six hours between your meals. Sometimes, going for long periods of time without eating may make it harder for you to stick to your planned meal or portion sizes as you may be overly hungry.[10]
    • Most snacks included in a weight loss plan should be calorie controlled. Aim to keep snacks between 100-200 calories.[11]
    • Healthy snacks include: 1/4 cup of nuts, one individual greek yogurt, a hard boiled egg or celery and peanut butter.
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    Choose healthier cooking techniques. Don’t sabotage the best of intentions with poor preparation methods. Cooking methods that use a lot of oil, butter, or other high-fat sauces or seasonings may cause your weight loss to plateau or slow.[12]
    • Try cooking methods that use little to no added fat. Try: steaming, grilling, braising, roasting and poaching/boiling.
    • Switch to extra virgin olive oil or canola oil. When substituted for saturated fats (like butter), these healthy monounsaturated fats can help to improve blood cholesterol levels, thereby reducing risk for heart disease and obesity.[13]
    • Avoid cooking techniques like: deep fat frying or pan frying. Also avoid cooking methods that use a lot of butter, oil, or margarine.
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    Drink adequate amounts of fluids. Staying well-hydrated is also essential to weight loss. Many times, thirst can feel similar to hunger and trigger you to eat. Drinking enough fluids can help prevent this mistake and promote weight loss.[14]
    • Aim for about 64 oz or about eight glasses of clear, sugar-free liquids each day. This is a general recommendation, but is a good place to start.[15]
    • Fluids that will count toward your daily goal include: water, sugar-free flavored waters, plain tea, and coffee without cream or sugar.
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    Ditch alcohol and sugary beverages. Both alcoholic beverages and sugary beverages contain excess calories that may work against your weight loss plan. It’s ideal to completely pass these up as long as you desire continued weight loss.[16]
    • Sugary beverages to avoid include: regular soda, sweetened tea, sweetened coffee drinks, sports drinks and juices.
    • At the maximum, women should consume one glass or less of alcohol daily and men should consume two or less daily. Again, if continued weight loss is desired, alcohol should be avoided.[17]

2

Maintaining Your Weight Loss

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    Weigh yourself once or twice a week. Monitoring your progress is important when you’re losing weight. Stepping on the scale regularly can help you see how effective your diet program is going and whether or not you need to make any changes.
    • Remember, safe weight loss is about one to two pounds per week. Be patient with your progress. You’re more likely to sustain slow and steady weight loss in the long-term.[18]
    • For the most accurate trend, it’s best to weigh yourself at the same time of day, the same day of the week and in the same clothes (or choose to go without clothes).
    • If your weight loss has plateaued or you’ve begun to gain weight, recheck your meal plans and food journals and see if you can cut out any more excess calories to help induce weight loss.
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    Find a support group. Having friends, family members or co-workers supporting you through your weight loss plan may help you continue to lose weight and maintain it long-term.[19] Build a support group to help you stay on track.
    • See if others you know also want to lose weight. Many times people find it easier to tackle weight loss together as a group.
    • You can also try finding online support groups or support groups that meet in person on a weekly or monthly basis.
    • Get support by working with a registered dietitian; she can customize your meal plan and provide on-going support.
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    Reward yourself. Having a motivating and enticing reward at the end of your weight loss goals can help push you through to the end. Set up something exciting for yourself as you meet your goals. Ideas to try include:
    • Buying yourself new shoes or clothes.
    • Treating yourself to a round of golf or other favorite sport.
    • Getting a massage or other spa treatment.
    • Avoid food-related rewards, as these can trigger old habits that might not be conducive to weight loss.

3
Making Lifestyle Changes for Weight Loss
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    Start a food journal. Journaling your meals, snacks and drinks can help motivate you to stay on track. Also, people who journal typically lose more weight and keep it off longer compared to those who do not track their food.
    • You can either purchase a journal or download a food journal app. Try to track as many days as you can. Again, you’re more likely to stay on track and stick with your meal plan the more often you record your foods.
    • Keep track of your food journal. This may be a good resource to evaluate how well your diet is going and how effective it is for weight loss.
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    Get adequate rest. Sleeping seven to nine hours each night is recommended for general health and wellness.[20] However, adequate sleep is also important for weight loss. Studies show that people who sleep less than six or seven hours nightly or have poor sleep weigh more than those who get adequate rest.[21]
    • Go to bed earlier. If you have to get up early, try to get in bed earlier to help increase your total sleep time.
    • To make sure you have a sound and undisturbed sleep, remove all electronics — like your phone or computer — from your bedroom.
    • Practice good sleep hygiene to ensure you get the most out of your sleep.
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    Increase your baseline physical activity. Baseline activity is activity that you already do everyday — walking up stairs, walking to and from the car, and doing daily chores.[22] This type of activity does not burn a lot of calories, but can help support your weight loss.
    • Although it’s very possible to lose weight without going to the gym or working out regularly, there are definitely benefits of being moderately active. Even by simply increasing baseline activity, you may notice more weight loss, improved mood, or increased energy.[23]
    • Try to increase your baseline activity each day. Try: parking father away, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, standing during commercial breaks, or delivering messages to co-workers in person instead of email.
    • Encourage social gatherings that are a bit more active. Frisbee golf, swimming, or a simple picnic in the park with friends are activities that will get you moving (and get you fresh air). If weather is an issue, do something indoors like dancing.

Tips

  • Although losing weight is about losing more calories than you take in, it is also important that the calories you take in come from a well-balanced diet. Be sure to take in the appropriate amount of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in order to ensure your body is getting everything it needs.
  • Carry a bottle of water around with you at all times. You’ll be drinking water just as something to do and slowly develop a very good habit.
  • Don’t skip breakfast! It revs your body’s engine in the morning, spiking your metabolism and getting you ready for the day.
  • Whenever you feel hungry, try drinking water until you feel the hunger is gone. Often what we think is hunger is actually dehydration. Water has no calories it will do no harm to your dieting planning. Water also helps in weight loss.
  • Drink water before meals. You’ll feel less hungry afterwards.

Warnings

  • Do not completely stop eating your daily meals, especially breakfast. This may seem like the idea to help you lose even more weight, since no food is being consumed, but this does the opposite. Not eating is unhealthy and can actually gain you more weight.
Featured

Mental Health Awareness Month- (Schizophrenia)

Schizophrenia Treatment and Self-Help

Getting All the Help You Need for Schizophrenia Recovery

Schizophrenia treatmentGetting a diagnosis of schizophrenia can be devastating. You may be struggling to think clearly, manage your emotions, relate to other people, or even function normally. But having schizophrenia doesn’t mean you can’t live a full and meaningful life. Recovery is possible. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent complications and improve your outlook, so if you suspect schizophrenia, see a doctor right away. With proper treatment, self-help, and support, many people are able to manage their symptoms, live and work independently, build satisfying relationships, and enjoy a rewarding life.

Schizophrenia: New hope for recovery

Despite the widespread misconception that people with schizophrenia have no chance of recovery or improvement, the reality is much more hopeful. Although currently there is no cure for schizophrenia, you can treat and manage it with medication, self-help strategies, and supportive therapies. Since schizophrenia is often episodic, periods of remission from the severest symptoms often provide a good opportunity to start employing self-help strategies that may help to limit the length and frequency of future episodes. A diagnosis of schizophrenia is not a life-sentence of ever-worsening symptoms and hospitalizations. In fact, you have more control over your recovery than you probably realize.

The majority of people with schizophrenia get better over time, not worse. For every five people who develop schizophrenia:

  • One will get better within five years of their first symptoms.
  • Three will get better, but will still have times when their symptoms get worse.
  • One will continue to have troublesome symptoms.

What does schizophrenia recovery mean?

Coping with schizophrenia is a lifelong process. It doesn’t mean you won’t experience any more challenges from the illness or that you’ll always be symptom-free. What it does mean is that you are learning to manage your symptoms, developing the support you need, and creating a satisfying, purpose-driven life.

A schizophrenia treatment plan that combines medication with self-help, supportive services, and therapy is the most effective approach

Encouraging facts about schizophrenia

  • Schizophrenia is treatable. Currently, there is no cure for schizophrenia, but the illness can be successfully treated and managed. The key is to have a strong support system in place and get the right treatment and self-help for your needs.
  • You can enjoy a fulfilling, meaningful life. With the right treatment, most people with schizophrenia are able to have satisfying relationships, work or pursue other meaningful activities, be part of the community, and enjoy life.
  • Just because you have schizophrenia doesn’t mean you’ll have to be hospitalized. If you’re getting the right treatment and sticking to it, you are much less likely to experience a crisis situation that requires hospitalization.
  • Most people with schizophrenia improve. Many people with schizophrenia regain normal functioning and even become symptom-free. No matter what challenges you presently face, there is always hope.

 

Tip 1: Get involved in treatment and self-help

The earlier you catch schizophrenia and begin treatment with an experienced mental health professional, the better your chances of getting and staying well. So, if you suspect you or a loved one is exhibiting schizophrenia symptoms, seek help right away.

Successful schizophrenia treatment depends on a combination of factors. Medication alone is not enough. It’s important to also educate yourself about the illness, communicate with your doctors and therapists, build a strong support system, take self-help steps, and stick to your treatment plan. Pursuing self-help strategies such as changing your diet, relieving stress, and seeking social support may not seem like effective tools against such a challenging disorder as schizophrenia, but they can have a profound effect on the frequency and severity of symptoms, improve the way you feel, and increase your self-esteem. And the more you do to help yourself, the less hopeless and helpless you’ll feel, and the more likely your doctor will be able to reduce your medication.

While schizophrenia treatment should be individualized to your specific needs, you should always have a voice in the treatment process and your needs and concerns should be respected. Treatment works best when you, your family, and your medical team all work together.

Your attitude towards schizophrenia treatment matters

Accept your diagnosis. As upsetting as a diagnosis of schizophrenia can be, resolving to take a proactive role in treatment and self-help is crucial to your recovery. That means making healthy lifestyle changes, taking prescribed medications, and attending medical and therapy appointments.

Don’t buy into the stigma of schizophrenia. Many fears about schizophrenia are not based on reality. Take your illness seriously but don’t buy into the myth that you can’t get better. Associate with people who see beyond your diagnosis, to the person you really are.

Communicate with your doctor.  Help your doctor ensure you’re getting the right type and dose of medication. Be honest and upfront about side effects, concerns, and other treatment issues.

Pursue self-help and therapy that helps you manage symptoms. Don’t rely on medication alone. Self-help strategies can help you to manage symptoms and regain a sense of control over your health and well-being. Supportive therapy can teach you how to challenge delusional beliefs, ignore voices in your head, protect against relapse, and motivate yourself to persevere with treatment and self-help.

Set and work toward life goals.  Having schizophrenia doesn’t mean you can’t work, have relationships, or experience a fulfilling life. Set meaningful life goals for yourself beyond your illness.

Getting a diagnosis

The first step to schizophrenia treatment is getting a correct diagnosis. This isn’t always easy, since the symptoms of schizophrenia can resemble those caused by other mental and physical health problems. Furthermore, people with schizophrenia may believe nothing is wrong and resist going to the doctor.

Because of these issues, it is best to see a psychiatrist with experience identifying and treating schizophrenia, rather than a family doctor. To learn more, see: Diagnosing Schizophrenia.

 

Tip 2: Get active

As well as all the emotional and physical benefits, regular exercise can even help to manage symptoms of schizophrenia. Unless you’re experiencing a psychotic episode, getting physically active is something you can do right now to improve your focus, relieve stress, give you more energy, help you sleep, and make you feel calmer.

You don’t have to become a fitness fanatic or join a gym, but rather, find a physical activity you enjoy and aim for 30 minutes of movement on most days. If it’s easier, three 10-minute sessions can be just as effective. Rhythmic exercise that engages both your arms and legs, such as walking, running, swimming, or dancing, can be especially effective at calming your nervous system. Instead of focusing on your thoughts, try to focus on how your body feels as you move—how your feet hit the ground, for example, the rhythm of your breathing, or the feeling of the wind on your skin.

 

Tip 3: Seek face-to-face support

Connecting face-to-face with others is the most effective way to calm your nervous system and relieve stress. Since stress can trigger psychosis and make the symptoms of schizophrenia worse, keeping it under control is extremely important. Find someone you can connect with face to face on a regular basis—someone you can talk to for an uninterrupted period of time who will listen to you without judging, criticizing, or continually being distracted.

As well as helping to relieve stress, having the support of others can make a huge difference in the outlook for schizophrenia. When people who care about you are involved in your treatment, you’re more likely to achieve independence and avoid relapse.

Ways to find support
Turn to trusted friends and family members. Your loved ones can help you get the right treatment, keep your symptoms under control, and function well in your community. Ask loved ones if you can call on them in times of need. Most people will be flattered by your request for support.
Stay involved with others. If you’re able to continue work or education, do so. Otherwise, pursue a passion, cultivate a new hobby, or volunteer to help other people, animals, or causes important to you. As well as keeping you connected, helping others can give you a sense of purpose and boost your self-esteem.
Meet new people. Joining a schizophrenia support group can help you meet other people dealing with the same challenges and learn important coping tips. Or get involved with a local church, club, or other organization.
Take advantage of support services in your area.  Ask your doctor or therapist about services available in your area, contact hospitals and mental health clinics, or see the Resources section below for links to support services.
Find a supportive living environment. People with schizophrenia often do best when they’re able to remain at home, surrounded by supportive family members. If that’s not a viable option for you, many communities offer residential and treatment facilities. Look for a living environment that is stable, makes you feel safe, and will enable you to follow your treatment and self-help plans.

 

Tip 4: Manage stress

The day-to-day stress of living with a challenging emotional disorder such as schizophrenia can be draining. High levels of stress also increase the body’s production of the hormone cortisol, which may trigger psychotic episodes. As well as exercising and staying socially connected, there are plenty of steps you can take to reduce your stress levels:

Know your limits, both at home and at work or school. Don’t take on more than you can handle and take time to yourself if you feel overwhelmed.

Use relaxation techniques to relieve stress Techniques such as mindfulness meditation, deep breathing, or progressive muscle relaxation can put the brakes on stress and bring your mind and body back into a state of balance.

Manage your emotions. Understanding and accepting emotions—especially those unpleasant ones most of us try to ignore—can make a huge difference in your ability to manage stress, balance your moods, and maintain control of your life. See HelpGuide’s Emotional Intelligence Toolkit.

 

Tip 5: Take care of yourself

Making simple lifestyle changes can have a huge impact on the way you feel as well as your symptoms.

Try to get plenty of sleep. When you’re on medication, you most likely need even more sleep than the standard 8 hours. Many people with schizophrenia have trouble with sleep, but getting regular exercise, reducing sugar in your diet, and avoiding caffeine can help.

Avoid alcohol and drugs. It can be tempting to try to self-medicate the symptoms of schizophrenia with drugs and alcohol. But substance abuse complicates schizophrenia treatment and only worsens symptoms. If you have a substance abuse problem, seek help.

Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Eating regular, nutritious meals can help avoid psychosis and other schizophrenia symptoms brought on by substantial changes in blood sugar levels. Minimize sugar and refined carbs, foods that quickly lead to a crash in mood and energy. Boost your intake of omega-3 fatty acids from fatty fish, fish oil, walnuts, and flaxseeds to help improve focus, banish fatigue, and balance your moods.

 

Tip 6: Understand the role of medication

If you’ve been diagnosed with schizophrenia, you will almost certainly be offered antipsychotic medication. But it’s important to understand that medication is just one component of schizophrenia treatment.

Medication is not a cure for schizophrenia and only treats some of the symptoms. Antipsychotic medication reduces psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, and disordered thinking. But is much less helpful for treating symptoms of schizophrenia such as social withdrawal, lack of motivation, and lack of emotional expressiveness.

You should not have to put up with disabling side effects. Schizophrenia medication can have very unpleasant—even disabling—side effects such as drowsiness, lack of energy, uncontrollable movements, weight gain, and sexual dysfunction. Your quality of life is important, so talk to your doctor if you’re bothered by side effects.

Never reduce or stop medication on your own. Sudden or unsupervised dosage changes are dangerous, and can trigger a schizophrenia relapse or other complications. If you’re having trouble with your medication or feel like you don’t need to take it, talk to your doctor or someone else that you trust.

Types of medications for schiziophrenia
Typical antipsychotics
The two main groups of medications used for the treatment of schizophrenia are the older or “typical” antipsychotic medications and the newer “atypical” antipsychotic medications.

The typical antipsychotics are the older medications and have a successful track record in treating hallucinations, paranoia, and other psychotic symptoms. However, they are prescribed less frequently today because of neurological side effects, known as extrapyramidal symptoms, which include:

  • Restlessness and pacing
  • Extremely slow movements
  • Tremors
  • Painful muscle stiffness
  • Temorary paralysis
  • Muscle spasms (usually of the neck, eyes, or trunk)
  • Changes in breathing and heart rate

Risk of tardive dyskinesia

When typical antipsychotics are taken long-term for schizophrenia treatment, there is a risk of developing tardive dyskinesia. This can cause involuntary facial tics, usually of the tongue or mouth, or random, uncontrolled muscle movements of the hands, feet, limbs, or trunk. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the risk of developing tardive dyskinesia with the typical antipsychotics is 5 percent per year.

Atypical antipsychotics
While newer drugs known as atypical antipsychotics produce fewer extrapyramidal symptoms, they have side effects that many find even more distressing. These include:

  • Loss of motivation
  • Drowsiness
  • Feeling sedated
  • Weight gain
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Nervousness

If you’re bothered by the side effects of schizophrenia medication, your doctor may be able to minimize side effects by switching you to another medication or reducing your dose. Sometimes, if you don’t respond to medication, your doctor may consider electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), which today is painless and much more effective than in the past.

Finding the right medication for schizophrenia treatment

Since many people with schizophrenia require medication for extended periods of time—sometimes for life—the goal is to find a medication regimen that keeps the symptoms under control with the fewest side effects, using the lowest possible dose.

Antipsychotics affect people differentlyIt’s impossible to know ahead of time how helpful a particular antipsychotic will be, what dose will be most effective, or what side effects will occur.

Finding the right drug and dosage is a trial and error process. While medication should not be used at the expense of your quality of life, be patient with the process and discuss any concerns with your doctor.

It takes time for antipsychotic medications to take full effect. Some symptoms may respond to medication within a few days, while others take weeks or months—another reason why it’s important to pursue other avenues of treatment and self-help as well. In general, most people see a significant improvement in their schizophrenia within six weeks—if not, your doctor may alter the dose or try another medication.

MedlinePlus chart of common medications for treating schizophrenia
Typical antipsychotics (1st generation) Atypical antipsychotics (2nd generation)

Schizophrenia articles

More related HelpGuide articles

 

Resources and references

Schizophrenia treatment and recovery

Schizophrenia: The Journey to Recovery – Schizophrenia handbook discusses diagnosis and treatment issues including hospitalization, independent living, and emergency planning. (Canadian Psychiatric Association)

Schizophrenia Treatment – Details medications and ECT used to treat schizophrenia. (Mayo Clinic)

Schizophrenia  – Overview of schizophrenia including self-help, treatment, and hopeful outlooks. (Royal College of Psychiatrists)

Modern Treatments – Overview of treatments including medications, therapies, and self-help strategies. (Living with Schizophrenia)

Electroconvulsive Therapy Overview – How ECT can be used in the treatment of schizophrenia. (Schizophrenia.com)

Antipsychotic medications and side effects

Mental Health Medications  – A thorough guide to the safe use of medications for mental illness, including the antipsychotics prescribed for schizophrenia. (National Institute of Mental Health)

Tardive Dyskinesia  – Learn about tardive dyskinesia, an involuntary movement disorder caused by long-term antipsychotic treatment. (National Alliance on Mental Illness)

Finding support for schizophrenia

Featured

Mental Health Awareness Month – (Paranoid)

Are you always scared that something is going to happen to you? Do you frequently find yourself looking over your shoulder or thinking others are talking about you? If these scenarios describe you, you may be experiencing paranoia. Being paranoid may stem from negative thoughts/beliefs or from self-esteem issues. Paranoia may even be a sign of a larger problem such as in paranoid schizophrenia, in which case you should see a doctor immediately.

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    Overcome pessimism.[1] One of the reasons you may be paranoid is that you tend to assume the worst in any situation instead of being realistic about possible outcomes. You may think everyone is talking about you, that everyone hates your new haircut, or that your new boss is out to get you. However, it’s highly possible that none of this is true. The next time you have a very pessimistic thought, stop and do the following:

    • Ask yourself how likely it is that the pessimistic thought you’re having will come true.
    • When you’re expecting the worst, consider all of the possible outcomes of a situation, not just the most negative ones. Then, you’ll see that there are many possibilities in virtually every situation.
    • Try to combat each pessimistic thought you have with two realistic thoughts. For example, if you’re worried that everyone is laughing about your shoes, consider that 1) it’s unlikely that a pair of shoes will keep everyone laughing throughout the day, and 2) it’s more likely that a new, hilarious cat meme is making its way around the office messaging system.
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    Stop obsessing over every little thing. Part of being paranoid means not just considering that everyone is against you or out to get you, but it also means thinking about this constantly. The more you think about the same negative thing, the more you indulge in your paranoid thoughts, and the more you become convinced that they are likely to be accurate. Though it’s impossible to stop obsessing completely, there are a few tricks that can help you minimize your obsessive thoughts:

    • Give yourself a designated “worry time.” Spend this time sitting down with your paranoid thoughts, evaluating them, and trying to minimize them. If a worry comes up during a different part of the day, just try to mentally move it to your “worry time.”[2]
    • Keep a journal that tracks your paranoid thoughts. Reread it weekly. This can help you not only unload some of your paranoid feelings in a more healthy fashion, but it can also help you see that some of your paranoid fears were completely unfounded when you read back over what you’ve written. You may see that you worried about X happening on a certain date. Once the date passes, and X didn’t happen, you may be able to accept that many of your paranoid beliefs are unwarranted.[3]
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    Confide in a close friend. Having someone you can talk to about your paranoid feelings can help you get your worries out in the open and get a different perspective. Even the act of vocalizing some of your fears can help you see how they may be illogical. [4]
    • If you tell your friend that you think your group of friends really hates you, your friend will be able to provide rational and concrete examples that prove you wrong.
    • Just make sure you pick one of your more rational and even-keeled friends. You don’t want someone who might encourage your paranoid behavior and make you feel worse.
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    Stay busy.[5] Another way to avoid being paranoid is to not give yourself a lot of time to wallow or sit around thinking about what everyone else is thinking about you. Though staying busy can’t help you escape your problems, it can help you focus your energies on more productive outlets, such as pursuing your interests or attaining your personal goals.

    • If you spend even a few hours a week pursuing something that you really love, whether it’s yoga or coin collecting, you’re guaranteed to be less absorbed in your paranoid thoughts.
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    Put yourself in someone else’s shoes. This exercise really helps. If you put yourself in the shoes of the people you’re so worried about, it’ll help you see that many of your fears are unfounded. For a simple example, let’s say you head to a party and tell yourself, “Everyone will probably notice that I’m wearing the same outfit that I wore to that party three weeks ago.” Ask yourself if you remember what anyone else was wearing at that other party; the chances that you remember what anyone was wearing are very slim.

    • Ask yourself what the chances are that all of the people you’re worried about are thinking about you as much as you’re worried about them thinking about you. Do you spend hours thinking about how much you don’t like those other people? Probably not.
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    See if your paranoia is rooted in anxiety. If you have anxiety, then you may be plagued by worry and a constant fear that something may go wrong. Anxiety may even trigger your paranoid thoughts, though these two conditions are different. Anxiety may cause you to worry that you’re suffering from a fatal illness; on the contrary, paranoia may lead you to believe that your doctor purposefully made you sick.[6]

    • If anxiety is in fact the main cause of your problems, then you may want to seek medical help or take actions to stop anxiety.[7]
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    Seek professional help if it’s necessary. There’s a difference between occasionally worrying that all of your friends are talking about you and letting this thought completely consume you. There’s also a difference between knowing that your thoughts are irrational on some level and suffering from serious delusions that everyone is really out to hurt you. If you feel like your paranoid feelings are taking over your life and preventing you from enjoying your everyday interactions or socializing, then talk to a psychologist or other mental health professional to get help for your condition.[8]

Part 2

Getting Rid of Paranoia When Socializing

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    Stop caring what other people think.[9] If you want to be able to socialize without constantly worrying about how others perceive you, then you have to slowly learn to stop caring about what people think. Of course, this is easier said than done, but once you start believing in yourself and get comfortable around others, you’ll see that every little thing you do, say, or wear doesn’t really matter to anyone around you.

    • Work on being less self-conscious. Self-conscious people worry about the subjective experiences of others, which is something no one really has control over.[10] Recognize that no matter what someone thinks of you, they have the power to think it. Sometimes, other people make comments about us that reflect what we think of ourselves. Even in these situations, it doesn’t make the opinion a fact. Aim to shrug off these comments and stop questioning yourself every time someone states a subjective opinion of you.
    • Work on accepting yourself unconditionally.[11] No matter if you did just trip over a rug or if your hair is sticking up, you’re still human. All human beings are flawed creatures. Embrace your natural quirks and quit thinking everyone else is perfect except for you. Need a reality check? Visit YouTube and watch a few klutzy videos to remind yourself that all humans make mistakes – and sometimes these mistakes are laughable.
     
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    Put yourself out there. Many paranoid people are so afraid that no one likes them or wants to hang out with them that they’re more likely to spend time alone or at home instead of in a social setting. If you never put yourself out there, then you’ll only expect the worst because you won’t ever experience the positive aspects of social interaction. Make a goal of getting out of the house and hanging out with people fairly often, or at least once or twice a week.[12]

    • The more time you spend socializing, the more comfortable you’ll be with the people around you and the less likely you’ll be to imagine that they all hate you.
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    Take note of all the kindness around you. After hanging out with a group of friends or even just talking to a neighbor on your street or chatting with the check-out girl at your local grocery store, you should come away with at least a few positive impressions of your fellow citizens of the world. At the end of every day or week, write down all of the good things that happened when you interacted with other people, all of the positive ways they made you feel, and all of the reasons why these interactions benefited your life.[13]

    • When you’re feeling paranoid, review this list. Reminding yourself of all the concrete reasons why you should have more faith in others’ intentions can help you ease your paranoid thoughts.
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    Learn to accept criticism.[14] You may think that a person hates you when he’s just giving you constructive criticism and telling you how to improve. If your teacher gives you a poor grade on an essay, read the feedback and try to see if she has a valid point instead of assuming that you got the bad grade because your teacher just doesn’t like you.

    • If you’ve been given some hurtful criticism, remember that it is entirely up to you how to receive it. You can cry or dwell on it for weeks, or you can think of it as an opportunity to refine yourself. Write down the critical comment and ponder its validity. If there is even the slightest chance that the critical remark is warranted, then you need to think hard about whether this is an aspect of yourself you want to change, or whether you are willing to stay the same.
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    Accept that there are mean people in the world. Unfortunately, not everyone you meet or interact with is going to like you or be nice to you. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put yourself out there! In fact, being aware of the fact that there are mean, careless, or bitter people out in the world will make you appreciate all of the good people in your life even more. If someone is just outright rude to you for no reason, then you need to learn to accept that this is a result of that person’s insecurities and personal issues, and not because of something you did.

    • Remind yourself that it takes all kinds of people to make the world. Not everyone is going to be your best friend, but that also doesn’t mean everyone wants to be your worst enemy.

Part 3

Overcoming Situational Examples of Paranoia

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    Confront your partner if you think he or she is cheating on you. If you’re worried that your current partner is cheating on you – especially if you’ve had this concern about every person you’ve dated – then, chances are, your worries are rooted in paranoia. Ask yourself if you have any concrete evidence that this may be happening or if all of your concerns are in your head.[15]

    • Be open and talk to your partner about it. Tell him or her that you know your feelings are irrational and that you want help dealing with them.
    • Don’t accuse your partner of cheating or check in every two seconds when you’re not together to make sure he or she is not cheating. This will only make your partner feel like there’s a lack of trust in the relationship.
    • Maintain your own identity. If you get too obsessed with the person you’re dating or start depending on him or her too much, then you’ll be even more likely to be paranoid because you’ll feel completely dependent on that person’s loyalty. Maintain other relationships outside of a romantic one.
     
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    Question whether your friends are really talking about you. Ask yourself what you and your group of friends talk about when one of you isn’t around – do you spend all of your time gossiping and talking about how much you hate that person? Unless you’re in a really gossipy or mean group of friends, then most likely not. Ask yourself how likely it is that people talk about you the second you leave.

    • Do your friends invite you to hang out? Send you text messages? Compliment you? Ask you for advice? If so, then why would you think that they completely hate you?
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    Combat paranoia on the job.[16] A common paranoid worry that people tend to have at work is that they’re always on the brink of being fired or that their boss hates him or her. If this is you, then ask yourself about what evidence you actually have that you’re going to lose your job. Do you get to work on time? Put in your hours? Show improvement? If so, then why would you get fired? If you’ve had no warning signs and people around you aren’t getting fired left and right, then it’s very likely that your worries are all in your head.

    • Help yourself feel better by making a list of all the great contributions you’ve made in the workplace.
    • Make a list of all of the compliments or positive feedback that your boss has given you. Now, write down anything negative you were told. You’ll see that the positive far outweighs the negative, and, if they don’t make an action plan to shift your work efforts in a positive direction.
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    Remember that not everyone is looking at you when you step out. Another form of paranoia is ego-driven.[17] You may think that as soon as you step into the halls or into a party, that everyone is staring at you, laughing at you, or making fun of you behind your back. Ask yourself how often you stare at a random person who arrived on the scene; chances are, like most people, you are too concerned with how you look and how others perceive you to pay all that much attention to anyone else.