WJJR News & Info

Find Out What’s Making You So Tired!

Find Out What’s Making You So Tired!

Feeling tired? Experts say there are a lot of ways to combat it. But the best way depends on what “brand” of tired you are. So, here’s a list of the most common reasons we feel tired, and how to fix them:

  • You’re emotionally tired. Meaning, you’re wiped out from stress or fighting or anxiety. According to Yale research director Dr. David Katz, emotional exhaustion is a result of our stress hormones interfering with our feel-good brain chemicals – leaving us feeling like we’re dragging – from our brain to our muscles. To combat it, Dr. Katz says do the exact opposite of anxiety, and have some fun. See a friend, go to a movie or take a hike. It’ll divert your mental focus and reduce your stress, so you’ll feel more refreshed.

  • If you’re having a mid-day energy slump - blame your lunch! Studies show that oversize, carb-heavy meals can cause huge blood sugar swings, which leave us feeling tired. Then we reach for something sweet to perk us back up again. But that creates a cycle of a sugar buzz followed by a sugar crash. Instead, eat less at lunch. But make sure what you do eat has a combo of fiber and protein to keep your energy up. Because the fewer sugars and carbs we have in our meals, the more “awake” we feel.

  • What if you’re so tired you’re wired? That usually means you’re suffering from a combination of stress and fatigue. Experts say your brain gets so stimulated that it switches into overdrive – making it hard to sleep. The fix? Try focusing on a non-emotional task – like solving a word puzzle, or counting backwards from 100 in threes – as in 100, 97, 94, and so on. Sleep scientists say that’s a proven way of distracting your brain from whatever’s stressing you out. And when your brain can’t focus on anything else, your body will wind down on its own.

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Play Games With Your Kids

Play Games With Your Kids

Here’s how to bond with your kids - while also helping them improve their math, memory, and social skills.

Just sit down for a game of Crazy 8s… Black Jack... or Go Fish. Psychologists say card games are a great way to improve kids’ critical thinking skills while also strengthening their confidence.

Dr. William Doherty is a family science professor from the University of Minnesota in St. Paul. And he says, card and board games are good for kids in a lot of ways.

First of all, because everybody is playing by the same rules. It’s an even playing field. And when kids can beat their parents or older siblings, it’s psychologically important. Because, symbolically, it gives them a taste of independence - and how they’ll be able to survive on their own someday. And if they lose, it’s an opportunity to handle defeat gracefully, learn from their mistakes and try again.

Card games can also improve math and memory skills. They learn to strategize - and when they have to remember the cards another player has, it works their short-term memory.

Even shuffling and dealing can improve a kids manual dexterity. Kids also learn the art of taking turns and following rules.

But besides all those developmental benefits - Dr. Doherty says games are one of the best ways for families to bond and communicate. Because it creates an environment for all generations to interact and open up.

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What Is It About Opposites That Attract?

What Is It About Opposites That Attract?

You love romantic movies, he hates them. You can't stand baseball; he wants to watch all 128 games every season. And you're madly in love. What is it about opposites that attract? Dating experts broke down the stages of this explosive kind of romance.

Stage 1: First, they drive you mad... But you just can't get enough of each other. Mary Valentis, PHD and author of "Romantic Intelligence", says the reason you're attracted to them is because they "represent qualities in you that you don't express, or qualities that you lack but wish you had".

Then in Stage 2: The Chemistry Begins. At first everything about this person annoys you. How they dress, how they talk, even the way they flirt with you. In cases where your mind finds this person repulsive, you might want to check with your body. R. Don Steele author of "Body Language Secrets" says "If your hands sweat, your heart beats faster, and you feel shaky around the other person then, differences or not, they might be the right one." That anger you're feeling could be you trying to keep the attraction down.

Stage 3: They grow on you. Before you know it you find yourself actually appreciating the differences. They open your eyes to new and different things. This is a very attractive quality and experiencing new things suppresses your stress hormones and fills you with feel-good endorphins.

The final stage you go through when opposites attract: You're hooked. One day you realize that this person might be the one. And they're nothing like the daydreams you had all these years of the perfect partner. Linda Schnapp a NY based psychotherapist says "We think we're going to end up with someone like us. But we're unconsciously drawn to someone who complements us."
So the next time you meet somebody you can't stand, give it a few months. They might just be the yin to your yang.

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Setting Realistic Goals Will Help You Achieve Them!

Setting Realistic Goals Will Help You Achieve Them!

Why are some goals so hard to keep?  Like our goals to exercise more, lose weight or quit smoking. And why do we keep setting the same goals - again and again - even after we fail?

According to psychologist Dr. Janet Polivy, it may boil down to the fact that we’re too optimistic! In fact, several new studies show that the human brain is “hard-wired” to be optimistic - because optimism is what drives us to challenge ourselves, compete, and believe that we can achieve new things. And while that sounds like a good thing, Dr. Polivy says there are times when our optimism can get the best of us, and sabotage our chances of success.

She says it’s because when we’re too optimistic, we tend to set unrealistically high expectations for ourselves. And over time, if we keep failing to meet our lofty goals, it kills our motivation, and makes us less likely to succeed.

Consider a study Dr. Polivy did with a group of chronic dieters. She put everyone on a moderate diet that helped them lose a pound a week, on average. But then, as soon as the study ended, none of the participants stuck with the diet. Why?  Because everyone had unrealistic expectations that they’d lose much more than “just a pound” a week.  So, they figured the diet wasn’t working – and they gave up!

She says this helps explain why 90 million of us set resolutions each year to lose weight – or to quit smoking – but only 1-in-10 of us succeed.  Dr. Polivy says the key to reaching our goals is to be realistic because many studies show that people who make realistic changes in their life generally do succeed.

Sometimes being optimistic can backfire because it can drive us to set wildly unrealistic goals. Like, instead of just vowing to lose weight, we may tell ourselves we can lose 20 pounds in a month! Then, when we fall short of our goals, we give up, and go back to our bad habits.

So, how can we set more realistic goals? Here are some tricks recommended by NYU psychologist, Dr. Peter Gollwitzer:

First: Don’t be afraid to fail. Because each time we fail to reach a goal, it’s a chance to learn from our mistakes, and come up with a better plan to try. And the more we try, the more likely we are to succeed.

Next: Avoid goals with the word “don’t” in them. Like telling yourself “don’t eat junk food anymore.” Dr. Gollwitzer says people are much more likely to stick with goals if they involve DOING something – like saying, “I will eat more fruits and vegetables”.

Another way to set realistic goals: Have an “if/then plan”.  That’s a specific plan to replace a bad habit. So, if your bad habit is downing a pint of Haagen-Dasz when you have a bad day, Dr. Gollwitzer recommends this “if/then” plan:

“If I have a bad day, then I’m going to call my best friend or spend an hour walking my dog.” He says the easier your “if/then plan” is, the more likely you’ll be to stick with it.

The takeaway is this: When you set smaller, realistic goals, studies show your odds of achieving them will skyrocket!

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Most People File For Divorce In January

Most People File For Divorce In January

You may not have known it, but January is the month that most people file for divorce. In fact, lawyers have actually picked a specific date for D-Day — as in, divorce day: The first Monday after the kids return to school. So, why January? The logic is that no one wants to ruin a child’s Christmas. If you divorce over the holidays, then they’ll be always associated with a traumatic event. In addition, there are other factors contributing to January being D-Day time:

  • Lawyers and counselors take vacations over the holidays, courts are closed, and couples can’t file for divorce, but they’re back in January.
  • One more pair of socks for Christmas was the last straw. The lack of effort in gift giving becomes an example of no effort in the marriage altogether.
  • Also, in the winter, forced togetherness indoors can drive couples nuts.
  • Another reason? One person makes a resolution not to have another holiday with their spouse.
  • Facing the New Year with someone you no longer love is a depressing reality.  
  • Also, the Monday after Martin Luther King Jr. weekend is a big day for splits. By that time, children have gotten back into the rhythm of school and life. They have their friends around them, so parents feel that a family breakup is less jarring.

It sounds bleak, but it doesn’t have to be. On the positive side, appointments for marriage counselors also go up in January, meaning that some couples decide to work on their relationship, and not give up just yet. Studies show that couples who do stay together during rough patches are happier five years down the line than couples who divorce.

So, if you’re feeling stressed about your marriage this month, know that you’re not alone. If you still have hope that you can work through your doubts, talk to a professional.

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Have You Been Feeling Blue Lately?

Have You Been Feeling Blue Lately?

Scientists say that January 17th will be the most depressing day of the year for North Americans – as the winter doldrums set in from cold weather and short days. Today’s a new day and it's time to help you flip on your Happy Switch, with these tips:

  • Fill your home with flowers. Researchers at Harvard Medical School found that people are naturally wired to feel happier, less stressed, and more compassionate when they’re around flowers! So decorate the high traffic areas of your home with bright flowers.
  • Start each day with citrus. The Vitamin C in oranges and grapefruit helps lower cortisol – the body’s natural stress hormone. Studies show that drinking one glass of OJ in the morning or eating one grapefruit for breakfast, gives you enough Vitamin C to stress-proof your day!
  • Socialize! Good friends help lower your blood pressure and stress, which promotes better health overall. If you’re hard up for a cheery friend right now, a pet is the next best thing. Researchers at Saint Louis University found that playing with a dog can instantly lift your spirits – no matter if it’s your own dog, a neighbor’s or one you see in a pet store.
  • Stop and smell the cinnamon. A study in Australia found that the aromas of cinnamon or vanilla will set off a wave of feel good endorphins. You don’t even have to eat anything to get the effect!
  • Finally, if nothing else makes you feel happy: Imagine an island. Studies show that simply imagining a bright and tropical place will trigger a flow of alpha waves that can slow your heart rate and breathing, causing you to relax. So sit back and imagine a Caribbean cruise with the John Tesh Radio Show.
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Think New Year's Resolutions Are A Waste Of Time?

Think New Year's Resolutions Are A Waste Of Time?

Not so. According to researchers from the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, people are 10 times MORE likely to change a behavior if they make a resolution than if they don't. According to Dr, Sanjay Gupta, CNN's senior medical correspondent, you should think of them more as "all year" resolutions because it shows that you're making a commitment to long-term change. Here are three ways to start the New Year off healthy:

  • Exercise regularly. People who work out live up to seven years longer than those who don't. Also, exercise can reduce depression and boost self-esteem. Just 10 minutes of activity three times a day can do the trick.
  • Protect your skin. One in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer, and this time of year, the sun's rays can reflect off ice and snow. So make sure you have a year-round supply of sunscreen.
  • Skip the drive-thru. A study from the Canadian Journal of Public Health found that communities with more fast-food outlets have higher rates of heart disease and death. So, instead of relying on take-out, fill your plate with fruits and veggies. A rule of thumb: The more colors your eat, the healthier you'll be.
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Build The Best Online Dating Profile

Build The Best Online Dating Profile

It’s a new year and everybody’s looking for love. Online dating peaks in January. And these days, 20% of couples meet online. The problem is, if a guy doesn’t find someone he’s interested in after 3 months – 97% of the time, he’ll give up! So, here are tips for online daters – men AND women:

  • Let’s start with your picture. The vast majority of people look at profile pictures to decide whether or not they want to read your message. To figure out which picture to use on your profile, try OK Cupid’s “My Best Face” application. You upload a few photos and members vote on your pictures, so you know which ones people are drawn to – because you’re only as good as your worst photo. According to their algorithms, the strongest photos of men are ones in which they’re doing something interesting and not looking directly at the camera or smiling. For women, guys like pictures of girls smiling and looking directly at the camera. But it also helps if the background is interesting, like you at basketball game.

  • Here’s a tip for guys: When it comes to your profile bio, forget loading it with lists of likes and dislikes. Women respond more to stories, mental images and emotions. So, instead of saying, “I play guitar.” Say, “I remember seeing Jimmy Page on TV when I was 10 and after that, I begged my parents for a guitar. I’ve been playing ever since.”

  • Hint at what you might like to do on a date. The president of SpeedDate.com suggests saying, “My favorite thing to do on a Sunday morning is to go for a hike up Summit’s Peak with my dog Casper,” instead of saying, “I like hiking,” and “I like dogs.” It’s an instant icebreaker.

  • Be genuine in your profile. That comes from psychiatrist and relationship expert Dr. Eva Ritvo. She says you shouldn’t kid yourself into thinking you can get away with pretending to be something you’re not. Why? Because your prospective date will Google you. But the fact is that people do stretch the truth. A study from MIT found that the average female online dater says she weighs less than the average woman of the same age. And the older a woman gets, the more pounds she shaves off. It’s six pounds for a woman in her 20s, 18 pounds for a woman in her 30s, and 20 pounds for women in their 40s. So, how can you tell if someone is fudging the truth about their weight? Take a look at their picture. Women who post photos taken from an odd angle, or who only focuses on one body part, tend to be the ones lying.

  • Don’t give up; just get different people to notice your profile. A lot of people give up after three months if they haven’t found someone they’re interested in. Laurie Davis is an online dating coach, and the founder of eFlirt Expert. She says you can change the system by uploading new pictures and changing the details in your bio. Do that and your profile will climb back to the front page of search results. It’s like shooting to the top of a Google search – and more people will see your profile.

  • Guys, if you send a message to a woman, don’t use the words “sexy” or “beautiful.” It’ll cut your responses by 10%. If you use texting shorthand, like the letters U-R instead of spelling out “you’re,” your response rate will drop by 25%.

  • Don’t troll for dates late at night – it’s the online dating equivalent of drunk texting someone from a bar.

And know this: Michigan State University found that the best predictor of how many messages people receive isn’t how they look – it’s how many messages they send.

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15 Minute Tasks To Make Your Life Easier

15 Minute Tasks To Make Your Life Easier

Let’s call it January’s Law – the bigger your list of resolutions, the less likely you are to accomplish ANY of them. But there’s nothing better than crossing something off your life’s to-do list, whether it’s finishing a book you wanted to read, or finishing that novel you’ve always wanted to WRITE. And here’s the good news – if you can’t get it done in January, there are 11 more months in the year! But, to keep you rolling, here are some easy tasks you can do in just 15 minutes that’ll help make your life easier.

  • Empty your email inbox. Either delete old messages or file them. If your inbox is just too overwhelming to tackle, then focus on one week or even one DAY’s worth of emails.
  • Take digital photos of all the valuable items in one room of your house. For insurance purposes. Keep the photos in a folder with the original receipts or estimated values, and serial numbers and warranties.
  • Create a list of parties you think would be fun to throw this year. Then later, pick one and make it happen. Come up with a fun theme – such as a summer carnival, complete with a hamburger cook-off, or a softball championship competition.
  • Program 5 essential numbers into your cell phone – like your doctor and your favorite take-out restaurant. This way you’ll avoid searching in address books, phone books or through random business cards for the same numbers again and again.
  • Memorize a short poem. You’ll always feel a bit more cultured if you can recite a fabulous poem on cue. Head over to The Academy of American Poets page at Poets.org. You can hear great poets - like Robert Frost – read their own work.
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3 Resolutions To Avoid This Year

3 Resolutions To Avoid This Year

There are certain resolutions you should never make because they're practically impossible to keep. Let us help point you in the right direction this year with a list of the top resolutions you shouldn't make, starting with: 

  • Conquering your fear of heights... by skydiving. Why shouldn’t you do it? Because going to extremes for your emotional health is more foolish than fearless. Psychotherapist Dr. Patricia Farrell says you should have a healthy respect for heights, speed and other dangerous things. So, don’t bungee jump or skydive to conquer your fear – only do it if it’s a longtime dream - not if it’s about proving something to yourself or others. If fear is something that’s really holding you back in life, seek counseling.

  • Do hard-core exercise every day. The boot-camp approach may get you buff in a hurry, but it can also overtax muscles. And personal trainer to the stars, Liz Neporent, says that makes you more susceptible to injury. Instead, vow to do something every day. A goal you’ll actually stick with makes more sense than going for broke and burning out.

  • To fit into your favorite pair of jeans from high-school. Even if you weigh what you did at age 17, your body could be a lot different. According to Fitness magazine, our bodies go through a variety of changes over the years. Muscle is replaced by fat – or vice versa. Curves become more defined, especially after having kids. So, drop your old jeans off at Goodwill and splurge on a new pair. Instead, your resolution should be to stay within 10 pounds of the weight you were senior year, as long as that was a healthy weight. There’s no reason why you have to weigh more as you age, according to Dr. Walter Willet from the Harvard School of Public Health. He says, next to not smoking, that’s the most important thing you can do to stay healthy and live a long life.

Some New Year's resolutions seem like a good idea, but set you up to fail. What New Year's resolutions were a total bomb for you? Which ideas did you think would be great but ended up fizzling out?

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Use The

Use The "Thanksgiving Effect" To Feel Happier Year-Round

Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be a once a year deal. You can use the “Thanksgiving Effect” to feel happier year-round. Study after study proves that saying “thanks” regularly can have the same mood boosting benefits as prescription medication – without the negative side effects.

In fact, gratitude is so powerful there’s a whole field of research dedicated to it. Dr. Robert Emmons, a leader in the field and the author of The Psychology of Gratitude, says being grateful increases your chances of being successful in work, love and life. So, here’s how to use gratitude everyday.

  • The next time you have a small setback – like a fight with a friend or a stressful assignment from the boss – jot a note to a friend or relative thanking them for doing something that made you happy. People who do that automatically feel stronger in the face of adversity.
  • If a friend does you a favor – don’t say “I owe you one.” Being indebted to someone increases feelings of stress. Instead, just say thanks. Data from the Institute of Heart Math shows that people who regularly feel appreciation toward others have healthier heartbeats. 
  • Writing in a gratitude journal is another way to add years to your life, but it doesn’t have to be a huge commitment. People who list the things they’re thankful for only once a week get the same benefits as those who write daily.
  • You can even use gratitude to reduce your stress on the way to work. People who are stressed out and unhappy at work are more susceptible to heart attack and stroke. You can squash all those negative effects on the way in. No matter how late you’re running, do a gratitude exercise. Focus on everything that’s gone right. The dog did his business outside – your wife looked pretty as she kissed you goodbye – or even that the traffic is going faster than a snail. Thinking those thoughts will immediately boost your enthusiasm, alertness and energy – and reduce your blood pressure and stress.
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Top Chef Secrets To Roast The Perfect Turkey

Top Chef Secrets To Roast The Perfect Turkey

Are you dreaming of serving the perfect thanksgiving turkey? If so, throw out everything you thought you knew about cooking a bird. I have tips from the world’s greatest chefs that’ll turn your Thanksgiving meal into a four star experience!

  • First things first: buy an oven safe, electric thermometer with a digital read-out! Chef Rich Torrisso has been roasting meats for years in his two New York Restaurants. He says a digital thermometer takes the guesswork out of cooking meat. When the turkey hits 140 degrees you pull it out of the oven and let it rest under a tinfoil tent. It’ll continue to cook under there for a while. When it hits 165 degrees, start carving!

  • Turkey tip number two comes from celebrity chef Bobby Flay. He says forget about cooking the turkey whole. That’s a recipe for dry, tough meat. Instead roast the bird until the breasts are done – and you’ll know they’re done because of your digital thermometer reads 140 degrees! Then, cut off the legs and thighs and throw them in with the pan drippings to continue cooking while the breasts rest.

  • Flay also recommends keeping a pot of chicken stock bubbling away on the stove all day. You can use it in the stuffing, and to make gravy. Just before you serve the turkey, ladle a little bit over the meat to keep it moist.

  • The final turkey tip comes from James Beard Award winner Gabrielle Hamilton. She says do yourself a favor and don’t try to DO everything yourself. If you have a recipe that calls for peeled chestnuts, buy them peeled and if you’ve been slaving over a zillion dishes, no one will mind if the cranberries are canned.

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Keep Your Pet Safe This Thanksgiving

Keep Your Pet Safe This Thanksgiving

Let’s talk about Thanksgiving and your pet. Many dishes that make holiday meals special for humans can be harmful to your dog or cat. So, here are some tips for keeping your pet safe, courtesy of the ASPCA:

  • Stick to your pet’s regular diet. Diana Guerrero is an animal behavior specialist and publisher of the website ArkAnimals.com. She says that not sharing the drumstick with your dog or cat shouldn’t make you feel guilty - in fact, you’re doing them a favor! Turkey skin can cause pancreatitis, bones can puncture the digestive tract, and undercooked turkey can cause salmonella.
  • Speaking of salmonella:  Cooks should wash their hands before touching an animal. According tothe experts at Petsmart, many animals get food poisoning when they’re fed or petted by someone who’s handled raw poultry.
  • Pet safety tip #3:  Watch the spices. Onions, garlic, and sage sound like the start of a good stuffing recipe, but they’re big trouble for pets. Onions and garlic contain a compound called thiosulphate, which is toxic to pets, and sage and many other herbs contain oils that can depress an animal’s central nervous system.
  • Secure the trash. According to the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, many emergencies happen the day after Thanksgiving, when an animal smells goodies in the trash can. In addition to all the unhealthy food, your dog or cat can ingest things like pop-up timers, foil, and plastic wrap. So be sure to double bag all your trash and place it in a secure container.
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Living With Unhappy Parents Is Harder On Kids Than Divorce

Living With Unhappy Parents Is Harder On Kids Than Divorce

There's no doubt that living with two happy parents is the best thing for children, but with the divorce rate over 50%, that's not always a reality. However - the operative word to keep in mind here is happy. Lisa Strohschein, a professor in the sociology department of the University of Alberta, says that living with unhappy parents is actually harder on kids than divorce! Here are the details, courtesy of Web MD:

  • Strohschein followed thousands of children for four years. They all started out living in two parent households, but about half those marriages ended in divorce.
  • Compared with kids whose parents remained married, the children of divorced parents exhibited more antisocial behavior, such as lying, cheating and bullying. They also were more likely to be diagnosed with depression.
  • The problems these kids had started while they lived with both parents. In fact, their behavior improved after the split.

Strohschein says her research shows it's living in a dysfunctional household - not divorce - that causes a lot of bad behavior. Psychologist Judith Primavera - who's published research on children of divorce - agrees. She says that your marital problems don't need to be of the Jerry Springer variety. In her work, she's found that troubled couples who don't fight verbally stress their kids out almost as much as hot-blooded parents. That's because when people live in the same house but don't interact like a couple, children have more trouble in school and more difficulty socializing. This might be the most important point: Since children learn how to have adult relationships from their parents, staying in an unhappy marriage for their sake increases your child's chances of being in a similar situation one day.

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Anyone Who's Ever Driven Away From A Thanksgiving Dinner With Their Tires Squealing Knows This:

Anyone Who's Ever Driven Away From A Thanksgiving Dinner With Their Tires Squealing Knows This:

Families can be tough. And now there's statistical proof.
There's a new book out called "The Pecking Order: Which Siblings Succeed and Why" by Dalton Conley, Director of Social Science Research at New York University. And in his studies, Conley found that a child's place in the family is a strong predictor of how their life will turn out in the long run. He based his research on data from hundreds of thousands of families. So the next time you're munching on a drumstick at Thanksgiving dinner, think about a few of these.

  • Those with the worst chance for financial success are middle children and children with skin darker than their siblings.
  • In large families, the struggle for attention from the parents creates identities that stick through adulthood. Kids from large families feel more pressure to stand out either by achieving more or by rebelling and causing trouble.
  • And in families with 3 or more kids, there will often be a drastic difference in the kids' financial outcome. One sibling tends to be a lot richer than the others.
  • When it comes to divorce, it's hardest on the eldest child. Especially if the eldest is a daughter, because she'll often have to take on more housework, take care of younger siblings, and give emotional support to the single parent. That oldest daughter often gets trapped in that sacrifice role and ends up having a harder life than her younger siblings.
  • In families with a stay-at-home mom, brothers are more likely to get college degrees than their sisters. When the mother works outside the home, those differences disappear.

But Conley wants everyone to know that these are statistics, not the rule. So any predicted outcome can be changed.

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Your Healthy Thanksgiving Eating Guide

Your Healthy Thanksgiving Eating Guide

Before you dig into that Thanksgiving spread this year, take time to think about what’s in front of you. Here’s an eating guide:

First: The bird. If you’re preparing the turkey, don’t buy the “self-basting” kind, which is injected with a solution that’s supposed to help “improve” the flavor and juiciness of the meat. Those turkeys have nearly twice the fat and salt as the old-fashioned kind. And skip the skin altogether – that’s where almost all the fat is.

Next: Cranberry sauce. As long as it doesn’t come in a can, go ahead and load up! Cranberries are high in vitamin C and tannins, the heart-healthy compounds also found in red wine. Just make sure the sauce isn’t loaded with sugar, like the canned kind.

What about stuffing? To make it really healthy, use whole-wheat bread or high-fiber grains like wild rice. And cook it outside the bird, where it won’t get soaked in fatty drippings. If someone else has made the stuffing and they didn’t follow those guidelines – skip it.

And watch out for gravy, which is basically salty, flavored fat.

Finally: Sweet potatoes. One potato has nearly zero fat and only 120 calories – not bad at all. Sweet potatoes also contain an anti-oxidant that fights cancer, and reduces the risk of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Just don’t top yours with a million mini-marshmallows!

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How To Fight Off Seasonal Affective Disorder

How To Fight Off Seasonal Affective Disorder

We recently turned the clocks back an hour and even though sleep experts say that the time change is good news – because we typically get more rest – it can also trigger Seasonal Affective Disorder. And it can hit anyone, no matter how healthy you are. The disorder makes you feel tired, have less energy and feel hungrier - and your risk of depression jumps. So, here are a few ways to fight off Seasonal Affective Disorder:

  • Load up on light. The idea is to get your mind out of “it’s getting dark outside, time to sleep mode.” So, go outside during your lunch break to get your daylight fix! And as soon as you get home, turn on the lights so your brain doesn’t get lulled into “sleep zone.”

  • Go for a nighttime workout. Studies show that early evening exercise can help keep you energized during the evening. The key? Work out two hours before bed. That way, your brain has time to come off the dopamine exercise high so you’ll actually be able to fall asleep.

  • Don’t sleep late on weekends. Dr. Michael Terman, a psychologist and SAD specialist, says that oversleeping allows your body clock to drift later. And when you’re out of sync with local time, it can make you sluggish and depressed.

  • Use a light-therapy box. This mimics natural outdoor light. Dr. Terman believes that half the population would benefit from 30 minutes of light box therapy every morning. It’ll help increase your energy by mimicking natural sunlight, so a regular lamp won't do the trick.

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Get Ahead Financially

Get Ahead Financially

Want to get ahead financially? Then stop acting like you have money to burn! That’s the strategy of Dr. Thomas Stanley, who’s made a career out of researching and writing about America’s wealthy. Most of us think of millionaires as Hollywood celebrities or banking tycoons, but Stanley says that the majority of affluent people are in middle-of-the-road professions such as engineering, teaching and farming. The secret to their success is living below their means. So, here are a few tips for building your bank balance, from Stanley’s book Stop Acting Rich...and Start Living like a Real Millionaire:

  • Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses. Stanley says that almost nine out of 10 luxury cars are driven by people who don’t have a lot of money in the bank. He calls these folks “aspirationals.” Aspirationals buy expensive things, and then struggle to make the payments. While the wannabes are buying fancy rides, most millionaires are driving Toyotas and Chevrolets.  
  • Don’t borrow money. By staying away from the credit cards, you’re allowing compound interest to help you, not hurt you. For example, if you charge a new thousand-dollar TV and make the $45r minimum payment, you’ll lose more than $400 in interest. However, if you put the same $45 a month into a savings account, you’d bank almost $4,000.
  • Don’t buy more house than you need. Millionaires who live in houses worth less than $300,000 outnumber those who live in swanky mansions by almost 4 to 1. Stanley says you shouldn’t spend more than twice your annual income on a home. In the long run, you’ll be happier and more fiscally fit. Plus, you can sock away the savings into a retirement account or 401(K).

Want to learn more? Check out Stop Acting Rich...and Start Living like a Real Millionaire, by Dr. Thomas Stanley.

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Get Happier By Giving Thanks Every Day!

Get Happier By Giving Thanks Every Day!

Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be a once a year deal. You can use the “Thanksgiving Effect” to feel happier year-round. Study after study proves that saying “thanks” regularly can have the same mood boosting benefits as prescription medication – without the negative side effects.

In fact, gratitude is so powerful there’s a whole field of research dedicated to it. Dr. Robert Emmons is a leader in the field and the author of The Psychology of Gratitude. He says being grateful increases your chances of being successful in work, love and life. So, here’s how to use gratitude everyday:

  • The next time you have a small setback – like a fight with a friend or a stressful assignment from the boss – jot a note to a friend or relative thanking them for doing something that made you happy. People who do that automatically feel stronger in the face of adversity.

  • If a friend does you a favor – don’t say “I owe you one.” Being indebted to someone increases feelings of stress. Instead, just say thanks. Data from the Institute of Heart Math shows that people who regularly feel appreciation toward others have healthier heartbeats. 

  • Writing in a gratitude journal is another way to add years to your life, but it doesn’t have to be a huge commitment. People who list the things they’re thankful for only once a week get the same benefits as those who write daily.

  • You can even use gratitude to reduce your stress on the way to work. People who are stressed out and unhappy at work are more susceptible to heart attack and stroke. You can squash all those negative effects on the way in. No matter how late you’re running, do a gratitude exercise. Focus on everything that’s gone right. The dog did his business outside – your wife looked pretty as she kissed you goodbye – or even that the traffic isn’t at a standstill. Thinking those thoughts will immediately boost your enthusiasm, alertness and energy – and reduce your blood pressure and stress.

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