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Caroline V.

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The 5-second rule

The idea that food is safe to eat off the floor if you pick it up quickly is not accurate.

A study showed that in some cases, bacteria takes less than a second to transfer to food. The longer food was allowed to stay on a surface, the more bacteria was transferred to the food. The higher the moisture, the higher the risk of transfer.

@car_vv437

Still Good? 5-Second Rule a Myth, Study Finds | Live Science

livescience.com

Bacteria travel through moisture. Wet food like watermelon will pick up the most bacteria, while less sticky food like gummy candies picks up the least. Regarding the surface, carpet has a lower rate of bacteria transfer to food than other surfaces.

The risk of illness from eating food that has fallen on the floor will depend on factors such as prevalence, concentration and type of organism, moisture of the food, the nature of the surface, and the length of time the food was in contact with the surface.

Intermittent fasting (IF)

Intermittent fasting (IF) became very popular back in 2013 with "The 8-hour diet" by David Zinczenko and Peter Moore. They claimed that eating your food within an 8-hour window would result in drastic weight loss.

Unlike other diets, IF is about limiting when you eat rather than what you eat.

Intermittent Fasting for Real People: Practical Tips

healthline.com

  • Do your research. Intermittent fasting can be dangerous for people with low blood sugar.
  • Decide which type of intermittent fasting schedule you want to try. Currently, there are six popular fasting patterns. The most popular option is the 16/8 method, where you fast for 16 hours, then eat within an 8-hour period.
  • Start with an adjusted schedule that's realistic for you, then add to the intensity and duration.
  • Stay hydrated with noncaloric fluids during your fasting periods, such as water, herbal teas, and calorie-free flavoured drinks.
  • During the eating period, aim to eat every 3 hours.
  • Plan nutritious meals ahead of time.
  • Eat nutrient-dense foods that are higher in fat, protein, and fibre.
  • Add 2 to 3 tbsp of healthy fat to your evening meal, like olive oil, coconut butter, or avocado, to keep your blood sugar levels stable.
  • IF can be difficult at first. You may experience grumbling of your stomach, fatigue, irritability, and stress.
  • IF isn't recommended for people with a history of eating disorders, like anorexia or orthorexia.
  • IF my interfere with sleep patterns and alertness.
  • IF can increase stress, anxiety, and irritability.
  • Ensure that you get enough calories every day to fuel your body. IF can become dangerous if you don't get your recommended daily calorie intake.
  • A 2019 study showed that people who ate between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. had reduced hunger and increased fat burning after 4 days of starting IF.
  • A 2005 study indicated that alternate-day fasting leads to 2.5 percent body weight loss after 22 days.
  • A 2018 study showed that IF could potentially manage blood sugar and insulin levels.
  • A 2007 research review on IF showed possible protection from heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease.
Hoarding Isn’t About Stockpiling

Hoarding is a serious psychiatric disorder which has been witnessed by doctors for centuries, and is not some behavioural trait of otherwise normal people.

Symptoms of this disorder start from adolescence, and later become problematic.

Hoarding, stockpiling, panic buying: What's normal behavior in an abnormal time?

theconversation.com

  • Most people would think a hoarder would have clutter all around the house. The reality is that they have difficulties deciding on what to discard, and typically hoard their clothes, shoes, tools, household supplies, newspapers and mail.
  • Hoarding disorder impacts one’s marital life, increases medical illness, anxiety and depression, makes people suicide prone and even cognitively impaired. Not to mention the problems that arise from keeping things stored for long in the basement or cupboard.

Apart from mental issues, hoarding increases the chances of:

  1. Risk of falls or tripping.
  2. Infestation.
  3. Unsafe living conditions.
  4. Fire.
  5. Lost work days.

Stockpiling is a comparatively normal behaviour coming as a result of an event or condition that can impact the availability of a particular item.

A person anticipates the shortage of something in the future, and reserves it in case it is needed later.

Panic Buying is more of an impulsive, reaction which is usually temporary and is mainly the anxiety which is felt due to an impending future event or crisis.

It includes buying huge quantities of.. toilet paper too. It also involves going into ‘survival mode’ and scavenging during an ongoing crisis.

Mindfulness And Our Brains

Meditation or mindfulness is not a uniform, unchanging process, but a highly subjective one, having unique effects on different individuals.

New experiments using machine learning dive deep into the brain, breath and body states during the various stages of meditation, helping the machine learning program recognize internal attention brain networks during breath attention, mind wandering, or thinking about the past.

This Neuroscientist Decoded the Brain Patterns of Meditators - Mindful

mindful.org

Extensive experimentation recording more than 2000 brain patterns per person led to certain insights which were not possible before.

  1. Meditators had the maximum amount of time paying attention to their breath.
  2. A feeling or even the warmth of the heart can be the center of focus during meditation, instead of repeating words or phrases, which are just instrumental for distracting us from our own thoughts.
  3. The moments of meditation are not static, but an ever-changing kaleidoscope of experiences, feelings and mind-states.
Mindfulness Meditation

It is the process of being fully present with your thoughts, being aware of your surroundings and not reactive to what is going on around you.

Although some prefer to sit in a quiet place while focusing on their breathing, mindfulness meditation can be done anywhere.

A Guide to 7 Different Types of Meditation | Everyday Health

everydayhealth.com

Transcendental Meditation

The goal of this technique is to achieve inner peace without concentration or effort. 

A person is assigned a mantra to repeat in a specific way. It is practiced 20 minutes twice each day while sitting comfortably with eyes closed.

Guided Meditation

It is also called visualization or guided imagery, where you form mental pictures or situations that you find relaxing.

It is commonly led by a guide, and practitioners are encouraged to use as many senses as possible to evoke calmness.

Vipassana Meditation

The goal of this ancient Indian form of meditation is self-transformation through self-observation.

It is typically taught during a 10-day course, and students are expected to follow a set of rules throughout the entirety of the time, including abstaining from all intoxicants, telling lies, stealing, sexual activity, and killing any species.

Metta Meditation

... or Loving Kindness Meditation is the practice of directing well-wishes toward others to evoke warm-hearted feelings.

It is practiced while sitting in a comfortable, relaxed position, breathing deeply and repeating well-wishes toward yourself first, then circling out toward others, ending with a universal mantra.

Chakra Meditation

Chakra meditation is made up of relaxation techniques focused on bringing balance and well-being to the centers of energy and spiritual power in the body.

Some techniques include visually picturing each chakra in the body and its corresponding color. 

Yoga Meditation

It involves performing a series of postures and controlled breathing exercises meant to promote flexibility and calm the mind.

Practitioners are encouraged to focus less on distractions and stay more in the moment.

Deterioration Of Memory

We cannot be expected to hold on to all the information we have accumulated in our lives, at all times.

As we age, memory slips usually become common and can be embarrassing as well as stressful. Some amount of memory lapse is normal and does not automatically mean that one is having dementia.

Minding your memory - Harvard Health

health.harvard.edu

Insomnia, anxiety, depression and various mental health issues can lead to memory loss, as well as a decline in other cognitive skills like attention, language, and executive function.

The many memory-related problems are absent-mindedness, blocking of a certain piece of information, fading memories, and incorrect recall.

... by a set of criteria and habits known as DANCERS:

D: Disease Management by maintaining your weight along with blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar.
A: Activities like walking, swimming or exercising at the gym.
N: Nutrition of the body, with focus on whole fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats.
C: Cognitive engagement and challenges to your brain.
E: Engagement, social interaction and avoiding isolation.
R: Relaxing your mind, by yoga and mediation
S: Sleeping properly, adequately and in a fixed schedule, while avoiding electronic devices in those hours.

  • When our brains are engaged in too many different tasks, we tend to forget simple things.
  • The way to avoid absent-mindedness is to make use of a task list that lists out the activities in order of importance and trying to focus on only one task at a time.
  • Make good use of the calendar and phone reminders, along with habitual routines (like putting everything in a travel bag, for instance) to not to forget anything.

Sometimes a piece of information is stuck in our minds but is not getting recalled. We know the information but cannot label it or remember the actual name.

This can be helped to an extent by associating a piece of information (like a person’s name) to something that can help trigger the recall. Connecting the name to a similar name, or a celebrity name, or even a song, helps us remember.

Certain facts or events simply fade from our minds, something known as transience. The brain cannot store all information infinitely.

The way to label the information as important, so that the brain keeps it for long, is to make it emotionally charged, making it feel important and worth hanging on to. It also helps to revisit the memory.

We often jumble up the information, a common error known as misattribution, when we recognize someone incorrectly or swap pieces of information.

The way to handle this is to write down important details on the fly, or aid recall by recording voice notes or clicking pictures/videos.

On a side note, do not share any personal information on the phone or the internet, as many scamsters exploit this failure to recall, and try to gain information.

Cortisol levels in your body peak three times per day, one which is in the early morning.

The best times to drink coffee are between 10 in the morning and 12 noon, and between 2 and 5 in the afternoon.

How to make your coffee habit benefit you

bigthink.com

The Invisible Illness Called Depression

Depression is a serious mental illness and can be overlooked by friends and family because the depressed person expends precious energy just to camouflage the problem.

Depression is like a chameleon for therapists as it has different manifestations for different individuals based on their age, gender and a cocktail of other emotional issues that form a unique package.

You Are Not Your Depression - Mindful

mindful.org

  • Women under depression usually exhibit sadness, guilt, hormonal changes, among other seemingly unrelated symptoms.
  • Men can get irritable, exhausted and start having sleep issues. They then get into drugs and alcohol, or start to overwork in order to distract themselves.
  • Kids under depression usually start to sulk, feel lonely and misunderstood, or have long periods of irritability.

The common treatments of depression are antidepressant medications and therapy, which has a large relapse rate.


However, if mindfulness is part of the treatment, the relapse rate declines. What is being pointed out is that mindfulness is effective when it is part of a treatment, and not so much on its own.

This is a therapeutic treatment combining cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and mindfulness practices. MBCT helps the depressed person understand that 1) Thoughts are not facts; and 2) Depression is not to be identified with.

MBCT takes care of our behavioural patterns as well as our thought patterns, making the treatment a thorough approach towards depression, taking care of the mind and body.

Shame Affects Our Mental Health

Shame is that uncomfortable sensation we feel in our stomach when we realize our irrationality and cannot run away from the judging eye of other people. It usually happens when we violate the social norms that we and the community we live in, value.

Shame is a universal emotion, its affect on mental health and behaviour are not fully known, and new studies point out that it has a strong link with depression.

The Scientific Underpinnings and Impacts of Shame

scientificamerican.com

  • Women and adolescents are quick to feel the negative effects of shame, and dive into low self-esteem and depression at a much faster rate than men.
  • Young people have a stronger ‘pull’ towards any kind of emotion, including shame, which is the reason for them being susceptible to severe depression.
  • The propensity of shame decreases as we grow older, but elders again start to feel ashamed just as a young person, as they get self-conscious of their actions, appearance and bodily decline.
  • Guilt is related to shame but is easier to rectify, as we focus our attention on the other person and apologize, accepting responsibility.
  • Shame is an inward emotion that makes us view our entire self in a bad light, with us getting punished by our conscience.
  • Guilt is actually a positive emotion, showing our empathy and encouraging us to reverse the harm that we may have done.
The different kinds of memories

We hold on to different kinds of memories.

  • Short-term memories last seconds to hours and long-term memories last for years.
  • We also have a working memory, which allows us to keep something in mind for a limited time by repeating it.
  • Declarative memories are memories you experience consciously, like facts or "common knowledge."
  • Nondeclaritive memory unconsciously builds up. These include procedural memories, such as riding a bicycle or playing the piano.

Human memory: How we make, remember, and forget memories

nationalgeographic.com

By studying people with amnesia, it seems that short-term and long-term memories don't form in precisely the same way, nor do declarative and procedural memories.

  • Emotional responses such as fear occur in a brain region called the amygdala.
  • Memories of learned skills are associated with the region called the striatum.
  • The hippocampus is essential for forming, retaining, and recalling declarative memories.
  • The temporal lobes play a critical role in forming and recalling memories.

Memories are held within groups of neurons called cell assemblies. They fire as a group in response to a specific stimulus, such as recognising your friend's face.

The more neurons fire together, the more the interconnection of the cells strengthen. We experience the nerves' collective activity as a memory.

For a short-term memory to become a long-term memory, it must be strengthened for long-term storage. The process is called memory consolidation and occurs using several processes.

Long-term potentiation consists of individual nerves changing themselves to grow and talk to their neighboring nerves differently. The remodeling modifies the nerve's connections, which makes the memory stable.

When we recall a memory, many parts of the brain share information, including regions that do high-level information processing, regions that deal with our senses' new inputs, and the region that help coordinate the process, the medial temporal lobe.

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