Instant exercise… just add water?

Thursday, 27 November, 2014

I think, despite the seeming ease and convenience that… exercise in a bottle – a metabolism stimulating enzyme that can be ingested in drink form – offers, I prefer to continue doing things the hard way. That’s just me mind you.

The world’s biggest food company, known for KitKat candy bars and Nespresso capsules, says it has identified how an enzyme in charge of regulating metabolism can be stimulated by a compound called C13, a potential first step in developing a way to mimic the fat-burning effect of exercise. The findings were published in the science journal Chemistry & Biology in July.

Is an endorphin rush on offer here as well?

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Following that morning coffee to its logical, if absurd, conclusion

Thursday, 30 October, 2014

I don’t really want to lower the tone here, but I’m going to anyway… while our morning cup of coffee has all sorts of benefits, for some there is a distinct, delayed reaction type, downside

In brief: For many (although not for everyone), the caffeine in coffee stimulates muscles in the colon causing peristalsis, the contraction and relaxation of intestinal muscles that causes bowel movements. For those who suffer from workplace bathroom anxiety (I count myself among them), the morning cup of coffee is a strange ritual that begins with pleasure and then devolves into shame, anxiety, and fear. The gut- and sphincter-clenching, nerve-wracking need to finish one’s personal business before someone else enters the bathroom, the obsession with one’s shoes being recognized, irrational fear that our coworkers will giggle and whisper or worse, pointing and laughing.

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Curmudgeons, able to see what the rest us can’t?

Monday, 27 October, 2014

Curmudgeons may not be the most popular of people, but they have a way of getting what they want. They’re also not half bad at honing in on the smaller details that other people, those usually in a more positive frame of mind, tend to miss.

Feisty personalities, although unpleasant, can be tremendously effective. The psychological agility we’re advocating here would expand your repertoire to give you access to the tougher, more direct, and sometimes more effective approach. You’re probably avoiding this strategy because you think that being negative is, well, negative. You may think that aggressive, hostile, or downright mean people are generally jerks and you don’t want to run with that crowd. The good news is that a whole range of negativity – of beneficial negativity, mind you – has nothing to do with being a jerk.

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Mirror, mirror, on the wall, am I making the right decision?

Friday, 24 October, 2014

It happens too often, we agonise over a decision, and then tear our hair out when it becomes apparent we chose the wrong course of action. It could be then that looking into a mirror should be part of the decision making process… seemingly the larger the pupils of our eyes at such a time, the more likely it is we are making the wrong choice.

This is because pupil size is a measure of a person’s arousal: the more aroused they are feeling, the wider their pupils are and the worse they perform on the test. As with many things in life, the ideal level of arousal for most tasks is somewhere in the middle: when people’s arousal levels are low they are bored and when they are too high, they can’t concentrate.

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For best results, take a short digital sabbatical each day

Thursday, 11 September, 2014

Sometimes I think the only reason people talk about taking so-called digital sabbaticals is just that, so they can talk. I think it absurd that we divest ourselves of the likes of smartphones, and tablet devices, because we think we’re too connected, or spend too much time doing one thing or another online.

Luke Thomas, in a Medium article on the subject, hits the nail square on the head:

Most discussion is geared towards extended periods of time (i.e. a vacation), and while that’s great, there doesn’t seem to be much discussion around incorporating a digital break into our daily/weekly lives. If you look at “being connected” as an addiction, since when is going cold-turkey a good idea? This is one of the toughest ways to quit, and many relapse.

Indeed, try going without your devices for a few hours each day, rather than taking the whole hog, for like a year, approach.

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Could should always be an option when it comes to decision making

Monday, 8 September, 2014

From the office of infinite possibilities, an alternative problem solving method… when a decision looms, instead of asking yourself what you should do, ask instead what you could do.

Asking yourself, for example, “What should I do with my life?” tacitly implies that there’s a right and a wrong answer to that question. It seems that the word should can cause us to think in black and white, while could reveals the in-between shades of gray.

Now where was this pearl of wisdom when I needed it the most?

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How do you like your gratification… instant or delayed?

Friday, 5 September, 2014

If we’re increasingly unable to keep to the plans we’ve made, possibly electing to change our minds should something we deem to be more enticing come along beforehand, then perhaps it could be said we favour instant gratification over anything else.

Anticipation, or waiting for something to happen, such as a dinner get-together that we committed to going to, rather than a last minute change of plans, may, just may, however be more be enjoyable, or fulfilling, though:

That’s not to say it can’t be fun to anticipate buying a new shirt or car – people do tend to derive enjoyment from this sort of anticipation. But waiting for experiences is more enjoyable, and the researchers think there are at least a couple of different possible reasons why.

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The best thing to do after drinking coffee? Sleep, it would seem…

Wednesday, 3 September, 2014

Some recent research puts to bed the notion that coffee and sleep don’t mix… on the contrary, a cup of coffee, followed by a short nap, can be a recipe for boosting mental agility:

Yes, nap. Coffee clears the body of chemical called adenosine. Levels of this compound rise while you’re awake; when enough accumulates, it helps tell your brain to go to sleep. The chemical is then broken down while you sleep. Coffee reduces adenosine in the brain, a process that takes about 20 minutes, so coffee followed by a 15-minute nap may maximize alertness.

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In space no one can sleep… or rather sleep all that well

Tuesday, 19 August, 2014

Crews aboard long haul space flights, such as trips to Mars, should one, be introverts, and two, be possessed of the gene variant that allows them to function on less sleep than others since space, it seems, is not particularly conducive to slumber

Researchers tracked the sleep patterns of 85 crew members aboard the ISS and space shuttle and found that despite an official flight schedule mandating 8.5 hours of sleep per night, they rarely got more than five. In fact, getting a full night’s rest was so difficult that three-quarters of shuttle mission crew members used sleep medication, and sometimes entire teams were sedated on the same night.

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Could you condition yourself to go without shampoo?

Monday, 18 August, 2014

While the notion of a single, global, time zone is something I could quite easily get my head around, the thought of ditching shampoo and conditioner, something that appears to make an equal amount of sense, would be another matter entirely.

Left to its own devices or washed with natural substitutes, the scalp eventually theoretically returns to its natural balance, producing enough oil to keep hair soft and smooth without the associated grease-slick. The oils produced by the scalp – notably sebum – keep the shaft of the hair clean, smooth and protected, performing the role of “shampoo and conditioner” far more effectively than the manufactured alternatives. The upshot should be healthier hair that is stronger, thicker and fuller as it is less damaged than shampooed hair.

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