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Dr. Heimlich, Creator of Antichoking Technique, Dies at 96; Here's How to Do the Move

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You've seen choking scenes performed to dramatic effect in practically every sitcom. But the reality is no joke. According to a report by the National Safety Council, choking is the fourth most common cause of "unintentional injury death" in the United States; statistics show it killed nearly 4,900 people in 2013.

The number of deaths would be even higher, however, if it weren't for the Heimlich maneuver, the standard antichoking technique that involves sharp abdominal thrusts to force air from the lungs into the windpipe, to dislodge an obstruction.

Henry J. Heimlich, MD—the thoracic surgeon who developed this groundbreaking and life-saving procedure back in 1974— died on Saturday, a week after he suffered a heart attack. He was 96 years old. 

The New York Times reports that just eight months before his death, Dr. Heimlich used his namesake maneuver on an 87-year-old woman who began choking at his table in their senior residence in Cincinnati; the famous technique forced a piece of meat and and a little bone out of her airway so she could breathe again.

If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, do your best to stay calm, and remember these instructions from the American Red Cross. They are meant for conscious choking victims over the age of one.

RELATED: 5 Times You Really, Seriously Need to Go to the ER

If the person is coughing, encourage them to keep coughing

Coughing is a good sign—it means they can still breathe. And the act of coughing may help dislodge whatever is stuck in their throat. But if they're not making any noise and can’t breathe, ask, "Are you choking?" Assure the person you know what to do. 

Get help

Send a bystander to call 9-1-1.

Give five back blows

The Red Cross recommends this step before starting the abdominal thrusts: Have the person bend forward and hit them on the back between the shoulder blades five times with the heel of your hand. 

Do five abdominal thrusts

Make a fist with one hand and place the “thumbside” just above the person's belly button. Grab your fist with your other hand and give five quick thrusts.

Repeat the back blows and abdominal thrusts

Continue performing five back blows, followed by five abdominal thrusts, until the object comes out or the person starts to cough. If the person loses consciousness, however, lower them to the ground and begin CPR.

 

To become more familiar with the Heimlich maneuver, and brush up on CPR, it's a good idea to take a first aid course. You can look up classes in your area at RedCross.org.

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Newsweek Writer Says Tweet Caused Epileptic Seizure

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There's no question certain tweets can throw you for a loop. But can a tweet actually cause a seizure?

Newsweek senior writer Kurt Eichenwald—who has publicly revealed that he has epilepsy—says a troll sent him a malicious tweet meant to do exactly that, and it worked.

After Eichenwald appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight last Thursday, he wrote a series of tweets referencing his acrimonious interview with the Fox News anchor. Apparently the seizure occurred later that night: Newsweek reports that another user sent Eichenwald an image of a strobe light with the message, "You deserve a seizure for your postings." 

On Friday, Eichenwald announced that he would be taking a break from the social media platform: "I will be spending that time with my lawyers &  law enforcement going after 1 of u…" 

"This not going to happen again," he wrote in another tweet. "My wife is terrified. I am … disgusted."

According to Newsweek, Eichenwald's lawyer has filed a criminal assault complaint with the Dallas Police Department, and plans to file a similar complaint in the jurisdiction of the user once that person is identified.

RELATED: 6 Things That Can Trigger a Seizure Even If You Don't Have Epilepsy

So how could a tweet trigger an epileptic seizure? We asked Derek Chong, MD, director of the epilepsy program and vice chair of neurology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, to explain: "There are some people who are very susceptible to strobes and flashing lights. If you open the message and it automatically plays and you’re really susceptible to it, you could potentially have a seizure." (Dr. Chong is not familiar with the specifics of Eichenwald's experience.)

This would fall into the category of photosensitive epilepsy, one of several reflex epilepsies—epiliepsies where an outside stimulus brings on seizures, Dr. Chong explains. The stimulus can be something in the environment, like a certain smell or noise, or can involve more complex behaviors such as reading, bathing, eating, doing math, or even thinking about certain topics. (Sometimes, a specific type of music can trigger seizures—one woman on Long Island had seizures whenever she heard Sean Hall on the radio, says Dr. Chong.) Reflex epilepsies account for about 5% of all cases of epilepsy; photosensitive epilepsy comprises 3% of total cases. Flashing lights are "a well-known trigger," says Dr. Chong. 

RELATED: 9 Foods That May Help Save Your Memory

Other factors besides an outside stimulus can trigger a seizure. If Eichenwald had already had a stressful day, for instance, and the level of excitability in his brain was already pushed very high, then "this could have been the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Dr. Chong explains. 

Fortunately, Eichenwald seems to be okay. Earlier today, he reiterated his outrage on Twitter, and tried to put the seriousness of the attack in context: "Folks, if a blind man says things you don't like politically, it is not okay to direct him toward the edge of a cliff. Find some humanity."

The writer's metaphor is no exaggeration. Each year, some 50,000 people in the United States die as a result of seizures. In general, people with seizures have up to triple the risk of dying than someone without.

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Yes, Your Office's Open Floor Plan Is Ruining Your Productivity

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If you’ve had trouble concentrating in an open floor-plan office, you’re not alone. Now, at least you’ve got science on your side: A new study suggests that overheard work conversations can decrease productivity—and increase annoyance—of other employees within earshot, more so than random and meaningless background buzz.

Open office plans are becoming increasingly common in workplaces, allowing companies to optimize space and, theoretically, encourage dialogue and collaboration among employees. But they also have their fair share of critics, and complaints about lack of privacy and noisy coworkers abound.

It’s no surprise that noise can be distracting, but researchers from Yamaguchi University in Japan wanted to see how work-related chatter might compare with other, less meaningful hubbub. So they performed a series of experiments to investigate the impact of different types of noises, using a test known as the “odd-ball” paradigm.

During odd-ball tests, people are asked to identify unique events sprinkled throughout a series of repetitive events. “To complete the odd-ball task it is necessary to regulate attention to a stimulus," said Takahiro Tamesue, associate professor of engineering, explained in a press release.

In one experiment, participants watched pictures flashing on a computer monitor while listening to either pink noise (similar to white noise, but with a spectrum closely resembling that of human voices) or actual male and female speech. Over a 10-minute period, they were asked to count the number of times a red square appeared in a mix of otherwise similar objects.

In the second experiment, people were asked to count the instances of an infrequent 2-kilohertz tone amid a series of 1-kilohertz tones. Afterward, they were asked to rate their level of annoyance at each sound, on a scale of one to seven.

During these and other trials, researchers measured participants’ brain waves using electrodes on their scalps. They looked specifically at two responses known as the N100 and P300 components, which peak approximately 100 and 300 milliseconds after a stimulus (in this case, a sound) is presented. These are thought to represent the activation of neurons involved in analyzing and making decisions about incoming sensory information, Tamesue says.

The researchers found that when participants listened to meaningful speech, they experienced large reductions in their N100 and P300 components—indicating that their selective attention to thinking-related tasks was influenced by the noise. Other experiments also showed that meaningful noises, such as music and conversation, led to greater declines in performance on memory and arithmetic tasks.

And yes, you guessed it: Meaningful noises had a stronger effect on levels of annoyance, as well, compared to meaningless ones.

Tamesue's research focuses on improving environments by analyzing the physiological and psychological effects of noise. He presented his new study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed or published in a medical journal, at a joint meeting of the Acoustical Societies of America and Japan, occurring this week in Hawaii.

The findings suggest that settings used for cognitive tasks, such as workplaces and schools, could benefit from designs that take into account the sound that’s likely to be present, says Tamesue—not just the volume, he adds, but the meaningfulness, as well.

“Surrounding conversations often disturb the business operations conducted in such open offices,” he says. “Because it is difficult to soundproof an open office, a way to mask meaningful speech with some other sound would be of great benefit for achieving a comfortable sound environment.”

As for employees already stuck in a poorly designed office space? You could always don your headphones and crank up the white noise. Or, take a cue from other scientific research: Studies have shown that music without lyrics can enhance mental performance, and that natural sounds like a babbling mountain brook can be relaxing (and not distracting) in stressful workplaces.

This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com.

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How to Survive a Quarter-Life Crisis and Find Your True Purpose

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During my quarter-life crisis, I felt paralyzed to make a change. I felt like I was at the intersection of hopeless, stuck, and FOMO (or fear of missing out).

I said to myself, “I hate my job and I want to do something else, but I don’t know where to start. I’m interested in so many things, but none of them seem perfect. All my friends on Facebook are so happy and successful. My friend is a Forbes 30 Under 30. My buddy is traveling around Thailand. My friend just got engaged. I’m tired of being single. I’m a failure.”

Everything feels impossible during a quarter-life crisis, even small decisions like which shampoo to buy, or which show to watch on Netflix. 

But the five simple steps below helped me get through that period of intense confusion—and eventually, find my true purpose. I hope these tips will be helpful as you discover yours.

Stop the comparisons

Social media has made it all but impossible to avoid comparing yourself to others. We see only the coolest parts of our friends’ lives, like when they get a new job, fall in love, or travel somewhere beautiful. We think, “Wow, I really need to get my act together.”  All of us are figuring it out, even our friends whose Instagram grass looks really green. All of us are on different paths, with no right or wrong answer. Comparing yourself to others is a waste of time. Stop worrying about what other people think and start figuring out what you want.

RELATED: Elizabeth Gilbert Shares Her Secrets to Living a More Creative Life

Pursue what’s meaningful to you

If you want to turn your quarter-life crisis into a breakthrough, you have to stop focusing on everyone else’s noise, and start asking yourself why you’re here. What do you care most about? What do you want to do for the world? What are you really good at? What types of people do you want to surround yourself with? How much money do you need to live your desired lifestyle? I call this finding alignment between who you are and how you’re spending your days.

Turn your doubt into action

When I was stuck in my old job, fear of the unknown often kept me up all night. This doubt never really goes away, but I’ve learned that we can turn our doubts into research, into positive energy that takes us closer to our next lily pad. If you write your doubts and fears on paper, you can begin to take tangible action steps toward figuring out what’s next in your life. This might mean reading a book that interests you, signing up for a class, launching a crowdfunding campaign for a creative project, starting a blog, attending a cool conference or event, traveling somewhere you always wanted to go, having coffee with a mentor, or pursuing an apprenticeship or volunteer opportunity that excites you.

Find a community of people who believe in the beauty of your dreams

Surviving a quarter-life crisis is the result of both hard work and finding the right people to support your journey. You can’t do it alone. Building a community of believers is the difference between your breakthrough being a dream and a dream come true. So, start finding people who make you better. People who inspire you; who are creative, who are living for others, who hold you accountable. Depending on where you live, believers might be easy or incredibly difficult to find. Attend conferences, ask your network for ideas, and use social media to find local meet-up groups based on your interests.

RELATED: 8 Promises Every Woman Should Make to Herself

Practice weekly self-care rituals

When I was stuck in my quarter-life crisis, overworked and stressed, I definitely wasn’t taking care myself—and I got shingles! I didn’t give myself time to eat well, see friends, meditate, write in my journal, or exercise. If you don’t take care of your body, it’s nearly impossible to reach your goals or help anyone else reach theirs. Finding your purpose doesn’t translate to applying to as many to jobs online as you possibly can. Finding your purpose means spending time doing the things you love, with the people you love most. It also means learning how to be kind to yourself. So, what are three things you can do to be kind to yourself this week? Think about ways you can treat yourself, take care of yourself, and create yourself.

If you’re lucky, practicing self-love might even bring you closer to the purpose you’ve been searching for.

Adapted from The Quarter-Life Breakthrough: Invent Your Own Path, Find Meaningful Work, and Build a Life That Matters by Adam Smiley Poswolsky, available from TarcherPerigee/Penguin Random House. Subscribe for more career resources at smileyposwolsky.com.

 

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The ‘Love Hormone’ May Help People With Ringing in Their Ears

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THURSDAY, Sept. 22, 2016 (HealthDay News)—People suffering from chronic ringing in the ears—called tinnitus—may find some relief by spraying the hormone oxytocin in their nose, a small initial study by Brazilian researchers suggests.

Oxytocin—dubbed the “love hormone” because it promotes social connections—might also help relieve the annoying and sometimes disturbing noises of tinnitus.

“Oxytocin has actions in the brain and the ear that may help in tinnitus treatment and provide immediate relief,” said lead researcher Dr. Andreia Azevedo. She is with the department of otolaryngology at the Universidade Federal de Sao Paulo.

But, at least one hearing specialist was unconvinced that oxytocin would help.

And, even Azevedo said it isn’t clear how oxytocin might work to relieve tinnitus. She speculated that it may have an effect in the ear, probably related to fluid regulation in the inner ear, and a brain effect that may be related to the production of the neurotransmitter dopamine.

“For some patients, tinnitus disappeared or reached a non-distress level,” Azevedo said. “As usual in tinnitus treatment, in some patients the tinnitus kept low, and for some it raised after drug therapy ended.”

Although oxytocin appeared safe, its long-term effects aren’t known, Azevedo said. “We did not have any side effects, but further larger studies are necessary to establish the role of oxytocin in tinnitus treatment,” she added.

The research team is conducting additional studies to see if increasing doses of oxytocin can improve and lengthen the response.

“We expect that these trials will raise the interest in this drug and result in larger randomized trials,” Azevedo said.

The results of the study were scheduled to be presented Thursday at the meeting of the American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery in San Diego. Findings presented at meetings are generally viewed as preliminary until they’ve been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

As many as one in 10 Americans suffers from tinnitus. The disorder is characterized by hearing sounds when there are none. The sounds can be perceived as ringing, buzzing, crickets or hissing. For those who struggle with it daily, the noise is so bothersome that it interferes with thinking, emotions, hearing, sleep and concentration, according to a previously published study. That study was released online July 21 in JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery.

For the new study, the researchers randomly assigned 17 people with tinnitus, average age 63, to puffs of oxytocin or a placebo (distilled water) in each nostril.

The study volunteers were asked to assess their symptoms 30 minutes after treatment, and then again, 24 hours later.

Azevedo’s team found that patients who received oxytocin reported a significant reduction in tinnitus, compared with those who received the placebo.

Dr. Darius Kohan is chief of otology/neurotology at Lenox Hill Hospital and Manhattan Eye, Ear, and Throat Hospital in New York City. “It’s good people are doing research on this,” he said, “because there isn’t any one treatment that works very well.”

Kohan remains skeptical, however, about using oxytocin to treat tinnitus, because so many treatments have been tried and have failed.

“Whenever there is a medical condition and there are a thousand different treatments, it means that none of them work, because if there was one that worked we would all be doing it,” he said.

Results of this small trial are not sufficient to draw any conclusions about oxytocin as a treatment, Kohan added.

“There are too many ifs with this. Is it possible that it helps? Yes. Is it possible it’s a placebo effect? Yes,” Kohan said. “You can’t tell from this small study whether or not the treatment is effective over the long term.”

In addition, he said, the hormone can have serious side effects, including abnormal heartbeat, abnormally low blood pressure, high blood pressure, allergic reactions, breathing difficulty, nausea and vomiting.

People suffering from tinnitus shouldn’t start using oxytocin in hopes of curing themselves, Kohan said.

“This is not something you take lightly. You don’t know if it has benefits in the long term, and you can potentially have bad side effects. I would not recommend it,” he said.

More information

For more on tinnitus, visit the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery.

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Got Ringing in Your Ears? Here's How to Cope With Tinnitus

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You might be the only one who can hear the ringing in your ears, but that doesn’t mean you’re alone. A new study published in JAMA Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery found that 1 in 10 adults suffers from tinnitus, or the perception of noise that isn't actually there.

For some people it's a high-pitched buzz. Others might hear a low roar, hissing, or clicking. Tinnitus may come and go, or never stop. And doctors may never determine the exact cause of the symptom.

It can be triggered by anything from a buildup of earwax or a very loud concert to a blood vessel disorder or age-related hearing loss. Even some antidepressants and other meds can trigger a phantom noise.

Unfortunately for most chronic cases, there's no cure, as the American Tinnitus Association points out. But there are steps you can take to manage the symptom. For tips on coping with the ringing, we tapped Sarah Mowry, MD, an assistant professor and member of the Ear, Nose & Throat Institute at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio. Here, Dr. Mowry's tips for anyone bothered by the noise.

Mask it

If you're having trouble concentrating or resting, turn on some white noise. You could use a sound machine, a fan, or even the TV at low volume. “These help your brain suppress the [phantom] noise so it’s less bothersome,” Dr. Mowry explains. 

RELATED: 7 Best White Noise Machines for a Good Night's Sleep

Try to de-stress

Tinnitus can actually be a sign from your body that it's time to take a breather, says Dr. Mowry. “My patients will say they’re not sure why [their tinnitus is] so bad today, and then it turns out they’re stressed and not sleeping,” says Dr. Mowry. When you put stress management techniques into practice (like breathing exercises, or gentle stretching before bed), you may find that you don't notice the noise as much.

Consider biofeedback

If your usual tension-busting measures don’t help, you might want to look into biofeedback therapy, in which you learn to control your body's physical reaction to stress. Dr. Mowry compares some cases of tinnitus to phantom pain (or sensation perceived in a body part that's been amputated); when a patient is suffering from tinnitus from hearing loss, she explains, it may be that "their brain is trying to fill in missing information" with the phantom noise. "For those patients, we do a lot of biofeedback," she says.

Or tinnitus retraining therapy

A combination of biofeedback, psychotherapy, and music therapy, tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) is another option for patients who are struggling to live with the noise, says Dr. Mowry. It can be difficult to find a practitioner, she warns, and may not be covered by your insurance plan. But when nothing else has worked, TRT can make a world of difference.

Join up

It may be helpful to connect with others who are dealing with the same problem, Dr. Mowry points out. By attending meetings of a tinnitus support group, not only will you realize you're not alone, but you'll be able to share coping strategies with the people you meet. 

RELATED: 15 Everyday Sounds and How They Affect Your Hearing

Protect your ears

“Tinnitus gets worse as hearing loss gets worse,” explains Dr. Mowry, which means it's really important to protect your ears when you know you'll be exposed to loud noise. Dr. Mowry recommends taking precautions such as wearing earplugs when you blow dry your hair (seriously!) or go to a concert. Research suggests earplugs really do help: A study published last month found that only 12% of concert-goers who wore them experienced ringing in their ears afterwards, compared to 40% of people who didn't use ear protection.

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7 Ways to Carve Out Time to Meditate

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Establishing a meditation routine can be difficult. You’re busy! Who has time to breathe, let alone sit and breathe? But if you think the only way you’ll learn how to meditate is with a 25-hour day, think again.

RELATED: How to Meditate (Even If You’re Really Impatient)

Plenty of busy people are making time for meditation. Media guru Arianna Huffington makes it a part of her morning routine. Rapper 50 Cent uses meditation to help him remain positive when faced with negative personalities. And Jerry Seinfeld won’t let anything get between him and his meditation time—he allegedly takes time between TV shoots to get zen.

Cultivating Calm, On Your Time

“I have a really chaotic schedule so I do it whenever I can,” says Dan Harris, a correspondent for ABC News and the author of the New York Times bestseller 10% Happier. “I don’t freak out if I can’t fit it in but I do think it’s important to do something every day.” Harris has been meditating ever since he experienced a panic attack on air nearly a decade ago.

He credits meditation with helping him control knee-jerk reactions to frustrating situations. Thanks to improved patience, Harris says he’s a better listener and is able to hold shorter, more fruitful meetings. Meditation, he says, is “fighting a lifetime pattern of letting your thoughts lead you by the nose.”

RELATED: The 8 Best Apps for Guided Meditation

Dina Kaplan, founder of The Path, a weekly meditation practice in New York City, says meditation allows her to have more “mental agility” during her day. She’s much more calm when faced with stress, and feels as though she makes better decisions. And science confirms these benefits: your brain will actually change if you stick with meditation, just as your body changes when you exercise regularly. You’ll be rewarded with improved memory and other cognitive benefits.

“Don’t put the pressure on yourself that you have to do it forever,” Harris says. It’s okay if you fall off the wagon for a few weeks, so long as you muster the grit to return to your practice. The power of meditation, he says, is derived from practicing daily. Watch this video for a short meditation exercise from Happify, featuring Harris and Sharon Salzberg, a meditation teacher and author.

So what’s the secret to actually making time for meditation? We asked Harris, Kaplan and David Ngo, a behavioral designer at Stanford University and behavior consultant for The Path, for their best tips on how to actually create a meditation habit.

7 Ways to Start Meditating Today 

1. Type it into your phone calendar
Instead of simply hoping you’ll be able to squeeze in meditation on the fly, try setting aside a specific time for it. “If I carve out time to [meditate], that’s the space for my practice to go,” says Ngo. When you create that space, the habit can grow. But rather than thinking of meditation as another item on your to-do list, think of it as a gift to yourself, says Kaplan.

 2. Do it in the morning
“If you’re starting out and you’re struggling with developing the habit, I do think you should do it first thing [in the morning]” says Kaplan. She meditates right after she brushes her teeth. By doing it right away, she has no excuse. Especially for parents with young kids, doing it before the day gets underway is your best bet for fitting in some “me time,” she says. Kaplan recommends not setting your goals too high in the beginning. “If you can do five minutes, that’s better than nothing.”

RELATED: 19 Ways to Trick Yourself Into Becoming a Morning Person

3. Start with one breath
Don’t underestimate the power of small behaviors. By focusing on taking one conscious breath when you have a spare moment, you can pave the way for creating a meditation habit. Ngo says this philosophy comes from BJ Fogg, Ph.D., behavioral scientist and founder of Stanford’s Persuasive Technology Lab, who pioneered the idea of creating tiny habits. For example, to create a habit of tidying up at home, you might start by making your bed each morning. A tiny habit should be a behavior that requires little effort and can be performed in less than 30 seconds. “That seed of the habit can then grow into a full-blow tree,” says Ngo.

4. Perform meditation after an existing habit
After you get into your car for your daily commute, try meditating for a few breaths instead of racing to turn on the ignition. Or quiet your mind after you go to the bathroom at work. “The pattern is always after,” says Ngo. “This is called anchoring.” Ngo recommends choosing a daily occurrence or existing activity to remind yourself to meditate.

5. Use headphones
As a TV correspondent, Harris has a packed schedule that involves a fair amount of travel. “People think you have to sit in some position, but that isn’t true,” he says. “There are four ways to do it: walking, standing, sitting or lying down.” No matter how busy life gets, Harris tries to fit in 30 minutes of meditation each day. His secret weapon? Headphones. He puts on a pair to cancel noise when he meditates in airports and on planes. “As long as you’re somewhere that’s reasonably quiet, you’re good,” says Harris. (And if you’re lying down and you fall asleep, that’s ok, he says.)

RELATED: How to Overcome Anxiety, Starting Now

6. Siphon time from superfluous activities
Think about it: Do you really need to hit ‘reply all’ to every email that hits your inbox? “I would have considered myself busy at my last job, but it was just an excuse to procrastinate from what was really important,” says Kaplan. As a successful start-up founder and Emmy award-winning TV reporter, Kaplan says she was writing redundant emails and taking meetings that were unnecessary. “If you’re answering emails you don’t really need to respond to, that would give you 15 minutes,” she says. With that extra time, she suggests finding a quiet park bench to relax, or even sneaking into a hotel lobby for a few minutes.

7. Practice mindfulness when you’ve got time to kill
Resist the urge to scroll through Instagram the moment your friend or dinner date heads to the bathroom. “I think it’s very healthy to have all sorts of moments in the day where you’re just being,” says Kaplan. It’s tempting to use our phones as entertainment during those “black spaces” during the day, but Kaplan recommends pausing and just letting the moment happen instead of gluing yourself to your Facebook feed. Look around, smile at other people and enjoy some momentary calm. While it’s not the same as doing a seated meditation, being fully present during these small moments can help you feel more comfortable confronting the thoughts rattling around in your mind.

This article originally appeared on DailyBurn.com. 

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