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Mental Health



The Perils of Food Porn: How Lustful Food Photos Affect Our Appetites

We’ve all been there: It’s late, you’re scrolling through Pinterest and you see a sexy photo of an ice cream-topped brownie with a thick drizzle of fudge running down the side. On top? A hefty mound of fresh whipped cream and plenty of strawberries. Immediately, you’re sucked in: You need that brownie.

Whether this has happened to you or not, you’ve likely heard of the phenomenon that’s now commonly known as “food porn.”

As a food blogger and food gawker myself, food porn has affected me over and over again. Just this summer while visiting friends in Portland, I stumbled across a photo on Pinterest of a chocolate chip skillet cookie. In that moment, I decided I absolutely had to have some for myself. Hours later I was happy as a pig, mindlessly eating my own thick slice of ice cream-topped cookie pie.

Pinterest isn’t the only website pimping out its tantilizing food photos. In fact, it’s just the beginning. Dozens of other food sites like Foodgawker, Tastespotting and Dessert Stalking host a wide array of tempting food photos, with the cheesiest, gooey-est and most comforting shots often gaining the most attention. 
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Mindfully Eat Your Way to Weight Loss This Fall

In many parts of the country, fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year. Other bonuses of the season including being able to exercise outdoors without fear of heat stroke and the holidays are quickly bringing family an friends together. However, that’s also a downside. With the holidays comes the lure of many enticing foods that will quickly pack on the pounds. Fad diets that promise quick weight loss may show results at first, but many times lost weight is regained as soon as the holiday decor is taken down.

Before this holiday season gives you even more reasons to overeat, change your bad eating habits in favor of ones with lasting weight loss.

We spoke with Susan Albers, PsyD., a clinical psychologist and author of Eating Mindfully, to hear her advice on how to achieve weight loss goals through permanent changes in eating habits.

“Seventy-five percent of overeating is caused by emotions, yet most of our diets focus on food, which is why they fail,” she said. “They don’t teach what to do for cravings or slip ups.”

Instead of another diet failing, focus on what she calls mindful eating. It’s not a diet with menus or recipes, instead it’s about changing psychological habits. “It’s more about how you eat than what you eat,” Dr. Albers said.
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When Common Life Problems Turn into Mental Health Diagnoses

I was pretty excited to watch “Diagnostic & Statistical Manual: Psychiatry’s Deadliest Scam,” a production of Citizen’s Commission on Human Rights. Most people in the mental health field are anxiously awaiting the official reveal of the updated Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) – the book that outlines and defines all known mental health disorders. 

There are even debates about the potential changes. Whether you love it or you hate it, this book does make a big impact on our field. As a practitioner I am not a big fan of diagnosis, but I believe insurance is to blame for this more than the DSM.

Most people want their insurance to pay for treatment, even when simply dealing with the normal grief of losing a loved one, stress regarding life changes, or marital problems. However, for insurance to fund treatment, a diagnosis is required.

These kinds of situations, in my opinion, have led to the exaggeration of common life problems into diagnoses more so than the DSM itself. Most people, even when given the choice, choose diagnosis for the benefit of insurance-funded treatment. While this might save money and stress immediately, there are many longterm consequences of mental health diagnoses.
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Regular Yoga Practice May Increase Productivity at Work

Most of us are familiar with the benefits of having a wellness center at the workplace. While some of these centers offer treadmills, free weights and a scattering of fitness mats for stretching or core work, others provide classes for yoga and meditation.

It is almost impossible to ignore the headlines that boast how a regular yoga practice promotes health. From improved digestion to a peaceful state of mind, the benefits of yoga seem endless.

One of the lesser known perks of yoga is that it yields a higher level of productivity at work. While you might gain a fit body and a calm mind as a result of your efforts on the mat – whether at your workplace wellness center or your local yoga studio – your boss benefits from a more engaged and active worker. It is a win-win situation that might just lead to a raise, a promotion, or an opportunity to switch careers and find your dream job.

The following are three ways yoga might help increase your productivity and boost your mood at work.
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4 Surprising Exercises for Stress Relief

When it comes to stress and frustration, sometimes it’s just good to let it out. We yell, run, punch – whatever it takes to blow off some steam. However, letting out aggression forcefully isn’t the best habit to fall into especially if you find yourself needing to do so often.

When I think of the best workouts for stress, my mind naturally goes to punching, kicking or tearing things in half. However, fitness expert and health coach Stephanie Mansour would suggest otherwise.

In college, Stephanie had a professor in an aggression and media class who told her the worst thing you can do when you’re upset is to start punching things. As a result, she’s concluded that when we’re angry or upset and need to take it out on something, we’re not teaching ourselves how to actually deal with our issues or become a mature, centered person.

As a fitness coach, Stephanie sees her fair share of clients who come to her for a stress-relieving workouts. But instead of letting them rip into a punching bag, she guides them toward these more relaxing exercise instead.

Breathing techniques - To practice intentional breathing, place your hands on your stomach and draw in air like you’re trying to inflate a balloon, and then slowly let your breath out through your nose like you’re deflating the balloon. In the process, feel your stomach getting bigger and smaller as you breathe, and think about breathing in perspective and breathing out stress.
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