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The Weight Loss Motivation Bible: How To Program Your Mind For Sustainable Fat Loss

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FDA Approves Implant to Battle Opioid Addiction

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By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, May 26, 2016 (HealthDay News) — A new long-acting implant that can help treat people addicted to heroin and prescription painkillers was approved Thursday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“Opioid abuse and addiction have taken a devastating toll on American families. We must do everything we can to make new, innovative treatment options available that can help patients regain control over their lives,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert M. Califf said in a statement. “Today’s approval provides the first-ever implantable option to support patients’ efforts to maintain treatment as part of their overall recovery program.”

Probuphine is placed in the upper arm of recovering addicts and releases a steady six-month dose of buprenorphine, an anti-addiction drug designed to combat the cravings that come with opioids like heroin or powerful prescription painkillers like Percocet or OxyContin. Buprenorphine is already available as a pill or a film that can be placed in the mouth.

The steady flow from the implant will reduce fluctuations that can occur when taking a medication once or twice daily, and it removes the need for a patient to remember to take it, said Dr. Annie Umbricht, an expert in substance abuse treatment at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

“A person suffering from addiction would not have to go through the up-and-downs of a daily medication, and therefore will feel much more normal,” Umbricht explained.

Clinical trials published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2010 showed the implant led to higher abstinence rates among addicts, with 40 percent remaining drug-free compared with 28 percent receiving a placebo.

People given the implant also were more likely to remain in treatment, about 66 percent compared with 31 percent of the placebo group.

“It really reduces or eliminates cravings, and they don’t start searching around for opiates,” said Dr. Scott Segal, president and chief medical officer of the Segal Institute for Clinical Research in Miami, one of the centers that participated in the clinical trials.

The implant provides patients with no-fail treatment during its six-month period of effectiveness, Segal said.

“Things happen in life,” he said. “You miss your doctor’s appointment, the pharmacy doesn’t have the medication and there’s problems. The implant takes relapse off the table.”

It takes about 15 minutes to place the implant, Segal said, and side effects are similar to oral buprenorphine. They include headache, depression, constipation, nausea, vomiting and back pain, according to the FDA.

“I was concerned that patients would [not] like this option, and I was dead wrong,” he said. “The patients enrolled quickly. They liked it. They tolerated it well. And they were upset when we took them off the implant at the end of the study.”

The United States is experiencing an epidemic of prescription drug abuse, and the new implant could also help counter that, Umbricht said.

There were 28,647 overdose deaths related to heroin and prescription pain killers in 2014, an average of 78 per day, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That’s because people undergo treatment and lose their tolerance for opioids, but then leave treatment with a high risk of relapse, Umbricht said.

“We know the rate of relapse after drug treatment is more than 90 percent,” Umbricht said. “These people have lost their tolerance, but they don’t realize it. They are at high risk for overdose.”

The implant can help stabilize addicts during treatment, and then provide them with support against relapse once they’ve been released, she said.

Buprenorphine provides effects that are similar to, but weaker than, opioids like heroin or methadone, according to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

But those effects level off at moderate doses, lowering the risk of misuse and addiction, SAMHSA says.

Buprenorphine also interferes with the effects of full-strength opiates, Segal said.

“It tends to saturate the receptors that respond to opiates,” he said. “Even if you were to take opiates with it, you won’t get high. It provides pain relief, but doesn’t give them the buzz or high that heroin would.”

The implant eliminates one other concern associated with oral buprenorphine—the likelihood that someone with a prescription will share their pills with friends.

Researchers estimate that as much as 50 percent of oral buprenorphine prescriptions are “diverted,” Umbricht said.

The intent is most likely to help other people quit their drug habit, Umbricht said, but without drug counseling those addicts are not likely to succeed.

“That person is not going to get the psychosocial support they need,” Umbricht said, adding that drug sharing also maintains illegal behaviors that recovering addicts need to shake.

Addiction specialist Dr. Kevin Cotterell agreed.

“The prospect of a long-acting opiate agonist-antagonist surgically implanted for use in the treatment of addiction to opiates is very encouraging,” said Cotterell, a psychiatrist with South Oaks Hospital in Amityville, N.Y. “It will help in overcoming problems with compliance, which is a great barrier to recovery. It will enhance safety and reduce diversion if used widely.”

More information

For more on buprenophine, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.


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FDA Approves Implant to Battle Opioid Addiction

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By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, May 26, 2016 (HealthDay News) — A new long-acting implant that can help treat people addicted to heroin and prescription painkillers was approved Thursday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“Opioid abuse and addiction have taken a devastating toll on American families. We must do everything we can to make new, innovative treatment options available that can help patients regain control over their lives,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert M. Califf said in a statement. “Today’s approval provides the first-ever implantable option to support patients’ efforts to maintain treatment as part of their overall recovery program.”

Probuphine is placed in the upper arm of recovering addicts and releases a steady six-month dose of buprenorphine, an anti-addiction drug designed to combat the cravings that come with opioids like heroin or powerful prescription painkillers like Percocet or OxyContin. Buprenorphine is already available as a pill or a film that can be placed in the mouth.

The steady flow from the implant will reduce fluctuations that can occur when taking a medication once or twice daily, and it removes the need for a patient to remember to take it, said Dr. Annie Umbricht, an expert in substance abuse treatment at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

“A person suffering from addiction would not have to go through the up-and-downs of a daily medication, and therefore will feel much more normal,” Umbricht explained.

Clinical trials published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2010 showed the implant led to higher abstinence rates among addicts, with 40 percent remaining drug-free compared with 28 percent receiving a placebo.

People given the implant also were more likely to remain in treatment, about 66 percent compared with 31 percent of the placebo group.

“It really reduces or eliminates cravings, and they don’t start searching around for opiates,” said Dr. Scott Segal, president and chief medical officer of the Segal Institute for Clinical Research in Miami, one of the centers that participated in the clinical trials.

The implant provides patients with no-fail treatment during its six-month period of effectiveness, Segal said.

“Things happen in life,” he said. “You miss your doctor’s appointment, the pharmacy doesn’t have the medication and there’s problems. The implant takes relapse off the table.”

It takes about 15 minutes to place the implant, Segal said, and side effects are similar to oral buprenorphine. They include headache, depression, constipation, nausea, vomiting and back pain, according to the FDA.

“I was concerned that patients would [not] like this option, and I was dead wrong,” he said. “The patients enrolled quickly. They liked it. They tolerated it well. And they were upset when we took them off the implant at the end of the study.”

The United States is experiencing an epidemic of prescription drug abuse, and the new implant could also help counter that, Umbricht said.

There were 28,647 overdose deaths related to heroin and prescription pain killers in 2014, an average of 78 per day, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That’s because people undergo treatment and lose their tolerance for opioids, but then leave treatment with a high risk of relapse, Umbricht said.

“We know the rate of relapse after drug treatment is more than 90 percent,” Umbricht said. “These people have lost their tolerance, but they don’t realize it. They are at high risk for overdose.”

The implant can help stabilize addicts during treatment, and then provide them with support against relapse once they’ve been released, she said.

Buprenorphine provides effects that are similar to, but weaker than, opioids like heroin or methadone, according to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

But those effects level off at moderate doses, lowering the risk of misuse and addiction, SAMHSA says.

Buprenorphine also interferes with the effects of full-strength opiates, Segal said.

“It tends to saturate the receptors that respond to opiates,” he said. “Even if you were to take opiates with it, you won’t get high. It provides pain relief, but doesn’t give them the buzz or high that heroin would.”

The implant eliminates one other concern associated with oral buprenorphine—the likelihood that someone with a prescription will share their pills with friends.

Researchers estimate that as much as 50 percent of oral buprenorphine prescriptions are “diverted,” Umbricht said.

The intent is most likely to help other people quit their drug habit, Umbricht said, but without drug counseling those addicts are not likely to succeed.

“That person is not going to get the psychosocial support they need,” Umbricht said, adding that drug sharing also maintains illegal behaviors that recovering addicts need to shake.

Addiction specialist Dr. Kevin Cotterell agreed.

“The prospect of a long-acting opiate agonist-antagonist surgically implanted for use in the treatment of addiction to opiates is very encouraging,” said Cotterell, a psychiatrist with South Oaks Hospital in Amityville, N.Y. “It will help in overcoming problems with compliance, which is a great barrier to recovery. It will enhance safety and reduce diversion if used widely.”

More information

For more on buprenophine, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.


Also check out healthywithjodi.com

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GMO Crops Don’t Harm Human Health, Report Says

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TIME-logo.jpg

Genetically engineered crops pose no additional risks to humans and the environment when compared to conventional crops, according to a new report.

The research, published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, is the result of a sweeping review of nearly 900 publications on the effects of genetically modified crops on human health and the environment. Genetic engineering has helped agricultural producers in the U.S., including small farmers thrive, according to the report.

But genetic modification is not all good news, the report suggests.Widespread use of genetically modified crops, which are often engineered to resist the effects of pesticides, has contributed to concerning levels of pesticide resistance in weeds and insects. Pests improve in their ability to resist pesticides every time the chemicals are sprayed, creating a vicious cycle of increased spraying and more resistance.

RELATED: Activists Are Restricting a Major Pesticide By Forcing Users to Actually Follow the Label

“There have been claims that [genetically engineered] crops have had adverse effects on human health,” the report says. “Sweeping statements about crops are problematic because issues related to them are multidimensional.”

Researchers behind the report called for a process that evaluates potential health and environmental concerns about new type of crops regardless of whether they are genetically engineered.

The report comes as public health and environmental advocates continue to push for mandatory labeling of genetically modified food. The results of the National Academy report suggest that such measures may not be necessary. Report committee member Michael Rodemeyer said at a press conference that without evidence of health effects from GMO crops, the Food and Drug Administration does not even have the authority to mandate such labels.

RELATED: The GMO Controversy Misses the Point

But the report is unlikely to stop calls for labeling that have already succeeded in some states, such as Vermont, and led some food manufacturers like Whole Foods to promise to curtail their use of genetically modified ingredients. Report authors acknowledged that their report would not—and should not—settle the debate over GMOs.

“We’re hoping that our report is not this big tome but something that starts a conversation,” North Carolina State University professor Fred Gould, who chaired the committee behind the report. He also hoped the findings would help fuel an evidence-based discussion rather than a heated back and forth between. “It would nice not to have a debate, but maybe an eight-hour discussion,” Gould added.

This article originally appeared on Time.com.

Also check out healthywithjodi.com

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This Is the Compelling Science Behind Fitness Trackers

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I wear a fitness tracker that monitors how many steps I take each day. Ask me why, and I’ll tell you I’m not quite sure. Push me, and I’ll say it’s fun. It sort of appeals to my sense of achievement to know if I hit my Fitbit-suggested target every day of 10,000 steps.

My dichotomous enjoyment/ambivalence isn’t unusual. The companies making the trackers claim that counting your steps leads to better health. But as a user the evidence feels shaky. Stacey Burr, vice-president of wearable sports electronics for the German sneaker maker Adidas, makes a powerful argument that such nitpicking misses the point. How to use the collected information is “the next frontier,” she says. “Right now it’s about how to get people moving more and to stay with it.”

The data backs up Burr’s assertion. Just 1% of the U.S. population engages in regular vigorous exercise, she says. Seventy percent is “inactive,” a description that applies to an appallingly high percentage of children. View fitness trackers from that perspective, and the focus shifts from ‘what does this information mean?’ to ‘just getting inactive people moving is a good thing.’

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Burr, a founder of a sensor-based clothing business called Textronix that Adidas bought, spoke Wednesday at a lunch panel on “The Exercise Cure: The High-Tech Science of Fitness” at Fortune’s Brainstorm Health conference in San Diego. She says a huge opportunity for combating childhood obesity is teaching kids to be active. School systems have begun experimenting with heart-rate monitors, for example, that kids wear during gym class. Grades are based on minutes of elevated heart-rate activity, and baseline measurements can shift for children of different athletic abilities. Burr says educators have found correlations between more activity and better attendance, behavior, and academic achievement.

Yes, there’s a commercial angle here. Adidas ADDYY -6.07% has released a wrist-based heart-rate monitor for kids called Zone. It’ll be good for kids if the product succeeds.

Maybe this fitness-tracker thing really is about more than fun.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.

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8 Ways to Actually Unplug on Vacation

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After months of lamenting to your friends, coworkers and cats that, “Ugh, I need a vacation”—but refusing to take one—you’ve finally given in and put in for a few much-needed PTO days. Hooray!

But if your first question is “Can I get WiFi?” you’re not alone. In a culture where we earn our vacation days yet don’t always take them, it can be difficult to let go, unplug and relax once we’re physically out of the office. But it’s so important.

“Taking time off allows us to physically, mentally and emotionally recharge, and allows us to gain perspective, which boosts our creativity when we return,” says Brandon Smith, also known as “The Workplace Therapist” and faculty member at Emory University’s Goizeuta Business School.

Here’s how to snap into vacation mode ASAP so you don’t waste half your trip trying to chill.

RELATED: How to Get the Most Out of Your PTO

8 Ways to Make Your Vacation Time Totally Worth It

1. Stay within your budget. If a two-week European luxe vacation is out of the question, consider a long weekend or opt for a resort within driving distance. “Taking shorter breaks more frequently can be more beneficial than just taking one long break once every year or two,” says Melanie Greenberg, PhD, a clinical psychologist in California and author of the upcoming book The Stress-Proof Brain. You don’t want to return from your trip to a negative bank account balance, which will no doubt cause even more stress than what you had before you left.

2. Get yourself in order before you go. You’re not going to be able to chill and eat cake by the ocean if you’re thinking about that deadline you missed or the email you were supposed to send. “Try to work extra hard before you leave, and let people know you’ll be gone,” says Greenberg. Smith adds, “In addition to setting your out-of-office notifications, provide a person that can be reached in your absence.” (Just be sure to give that person a heads up.)

RELATED: 7 Fitness Retreats You Can Actually Afford

3. Remind yourself that, yes, you deserve a vacation. People tend to feel guilty for taking time away for themselves. But don’t! “Relaxation is something we often view as only appropriate for the weekends or vacation time,” says Lodro Rinzler, chief spiritual officer and co-founder of MNDFL in New York City. Rinzler reminds us that we need to take breaks during the week, too, and enjoy the things that make us feel relaxed and happy.

“For many of us, the fact that we’re physically and emotionally unable to relax during the week takes a toll on our bodies. We need to walk away from our work life for a bit in order to recharge and come back to full health.”

RELATED: 17 Positive Affirmations That'll Change the Way You Think

4. Don’t worry about what you should be doing. In an Instagram and Snapchat-driven world, there’s this idea that you should either be super active, totally lazy or whatever other idea you have in your head about what a vacation should be. However you choose to spend your time off, make sure that it serves your interests.

“For some people, that’s being next to a pool. For others, it’s climbing a mountain,” Greenberg says. “Use your vacation to build healthy habits and spend time with people you love. Don’t use your time visiting relatives who stress you out or trying to run around catching up on household errands. Just focus on recovering from your everyday stress.”

RELATED: 5 Easy Tips for Healthy Travel

5. If a problem pops up while you’re away, redirect it. To put it lightly, stuff happens. “If you discover a burning fire during your vacation, don’t tackle it yourself,” says Smith. “Pass it on to others, and remind yourself that you’re on vacation.” Repeat after us: Vacation is not a dirty word!

6. Try meditating. Need help unplugging while on vacation? Do a quick 10-minute meditation to start your day. You can’t meditate while Snapchatting. “Meditation can help you work with whatever stressful situations come up in life,” says Rinzler. “It’s been scientifically proven to reduce stress, relax the body, normalize sleep, and boost the immune system.”

RELATED: Can the Right Mattress Change Your Life?

7. Set some connectivity ground rules—and abide by them! Whether you need to check on the kids or get back to a few clients, we can’t always escape the real world entirely. “Some of us have no choice but to monitor what’s happening at work or back home,” says Greenberg. “Try to keep this to a minimum and check email only once or twice a day.”

Other guidelines you can set for yourself: checking and answering email for only 30 minutes a day before logging off. Or, limiting Instagram scrolling to five minutes each day but maybe avoiding other apps. “If you want to post a photo of your perfect vacay, fine, but post it and walk away,” Rinzler says. Don’t fall down the rabbit hole of going through every friend’s account.

RELATED: 7 Tips to Actually Succeed at Your Digital Detox

8. Ease back into reality. Try to schedule your flight back home on a Friday or Saturday, so you have time to readjust to real life. “Plan a re-entry day that serves as a buffer between your vacation and your first day back to work,” says Smith. “This day should be used to catch up on email and prepare for going back to work. This will relieve pressure to check your email while you’re gone.”

Ultimately, says Greenberg, “Some stress when coming back to work is unavoidable. Integrate healthy and pleasurable activities into your everyday life after vacation—and every day, ideally—so you’re not always reliant on vacation to de-stress.”

This article originally appeared on DailyBurn.com.

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Why positive affirmations really work

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Combat the negative thoughts and feelings by discovering how and why affirmations and positive reinforcement can help you succeed.

 

Looking at yourself in the eye in front of the mirror (or looking inward to your mind’s eye) and repeating positive affirmations is not a new concept. It’s a psychological ‘trick’ that has been used by those in the know to boost chances of success and to counteract the negative chatter that so often infiltrates our thoughts.

“Positive self-talk helps people to achieve good results in many areas, including completing simple and complex tasks, improving productivity, winning sporting events and boosting recovery and rehabilitation,” says psychologist Yuliya Richard.

“Individuals who can tell themselves, ‘Yes, it is really uncomfortable, but I can do it. It might be really hard and usually I run away from such situations but this time I will give it a go’, are more likely to take risks and overcome fears.”

Yes, positive affirmations work – when they’re well constructed – in more ways than one, says psychologist Lana Hall.

“Firstly, it means that you’re more likely to act in ways that bring you to your goal, because you’re regularly reminding yourself of its importance and so more likely to keep focused and motivated,” she says.

“Secondly, it helps you to be alert to opportunities that might help you reach your desired state. And lastly, affirmations can start to help you change your sense of self, your identity, to fit with your affirmation. This is a really key part of the change: believing that you are the type of person who can reach your goal. This is why a lot of resolutions end up failing: you say you’ll exercise regularly but you’re the kind of person who’s a bit suspicious of people who love to exercise. Your sense of self is threatened by your goal and so you don’t follow through.

“Tapping into your sense of identity is the scientific reason why affirmations are meant to be said in the present tense, as though you are already there.”

All these elements fit into what is known as the ‘confirmation bias’ – our tendency to look for information that fits with what we already believe.

“Every time you recite an affirmation, you’re confirming your belief, and so the affirmation makes it easier to see evidence that supports the affirmation, and harder to see the evidence against the affirmation,” says Hall.

For more motivational tips and advice read more about how to overcome motivational barriers. 

 

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6 Life Lessons from LegendaryCosmoEditor Helen Gurley Brown

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As the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine from 1965 to 1997, Helen Gurley Brown was famous—and famously criticized by feminists—for doling out endless advice on how to lose weight and how to catch a man. And while she often deserved the flak, she also dispensed gems of wisdom on countless other subjects, from balancing a budget to becoming an individual, at a time when most women’s magazines taught housewives how to whip up the perfect pot roast and wax the floors before their husbands got home. Here are some of the best life lessons, both big and small, I discovered while writing a new biography of HGB, Enter Helen: The Invention of Helen Gurley Brown and the Rise of the Modern Single Woman ($29; amazon.com).

Take your pleasure seriously

“What is a sexy woman? Very simple. She is a woman who enjoys sex,” Helen wrote in her 1962 bestseller, Sex and the Single Girl. It was a shocking message at the time (nice girls weren’t supposed to have sex before marriage, let alone enjoy it), and it’s one that she continued to deliver for the rest of her career: The more pleasure you get, the more pleasure you give.

Work hard and pay your dues

As a young woman, Helen worked 17 secretarial jobs before she became a high-powered and high-paid ad copywriter à la Peggy Olson. In Sex and the Single Girl, she shared what she learned along the way. Rule Number 1: “DON’T DEMAND INSTANT GLAMOUR.” “Give yourself time to get useful before you get difficult,” she advised.

Pack your lunch

I know it’s not the sexiest advice, but it is sound. When I worked at a magazine in Manhattan, I easily dropped $20 on an average meal, spending up to $100 a week! In Sex and the Office, Helen provides two Brown Paper Bag Plans designed to fill up the working girl without draining her wallet. “Home-lunch can be delicious glamor-girl fodder instead of junk,” she wrote, adding that you can even “save enough money to spend Christmas in Jamaica.”

RELATED: 5 Mental Blocks That Are Ruining Your Sex Life

Listen to people

“Never fail to know that if you are doing all the talking, you are boring somebody,” Helen wrote in her 1982 book, Having It All. A conversation should be two-sided. Sometimes it’s better to listen and learn.

Sit up straight

Helen gave a lot of nutty beauty advice over the years (she advocated wigs, plastic surgery, and lots of makeup), but this tip is timeless: “Sit up straight, stand up straight, posture, posture, posture!” she wrote in her 2000 book I’m Wild Again. “Good posture can make more difference in how you look than virtually anything else”—and the best part is, it’s free.

Let your problems be your fuel

A self-described “mouseburger” from Arkansas, Helen told and retold the tale of her childhood: Her father died young, her mother sunk into depression, her sister contracted polio, and the family fell on hard times. But those hard times also fueled Helen’s need to succeed. “Early-in-life problems can be the yeast that makes you rise into bread!” she once wrote. In other words, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Take it from HGB—or Beyoncé.

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The 5 Steps to Quitting Anything Gracefully

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Volunteering in a pediatric playroom at a cancer hospital is a pretty good thing to do, right? So I felt downright evil for wanting to quit. I was in my 20s; I had gotten a job with long hours, which meant I sometimes ended up stuck at work and had to bail on my 6 p.m. volunteer shift. Being unreliable wasn’t fair to those kids, but I still couldn’t bring myself to resign.

A lot of us delay quitting anything—jobs, activities, relationships, fitness routines, and even bland books—because we think we should have the grit to see it through, women warriors that we are. Extreme endurance is a virtue, if not an essential for succeeding in today’s competitive work and Match.com market. Besides, most of us have been brought up to believe that winners never quit. We can do it! Even if it makes us miserable!

Quitting can be scary, but it’s vital for overall satisfaction, not to mention joy. "Life is too short to waste time and energy on things you find unrewarding or unproductive," says James E. Maddux, PhD, senior scholar at the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. "Replace your source of dissatisfaction with something more fulfilling and you’ll find more happiness."

RELATED: The Best Advice From the Healthiest People on the Planet

So what makes us stay the course when we’re disgruntled or uninspired? It’s human nature to adapt to circumstances, as frustrating, stressful, or just plain annoying as they may be. "It’s like having a bad knee—you learn to live with it, paying attention only when it really hurts," notes Maddux. Of course, you don’t have to tough out that tempestuous neighborhood association or tepid hot yoga class. Time is not infinite, and by ending something punitive, you make room for something pleasant.

There are even health payoffs to knowing when to throw in the towel. Research has shown that people who are better at bailing on unattainable goals have lower levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) and fewer headaches than those who have a harder time. In one pivotal study, University of British Columbia psychologists tracked teenage girls for a year. The ones who more easily stopped pursuing hard-to-reach goals had declining levels of a protein that indicates bodily inflammation, linked to heart disease.

These are the simple steps for giving the heave-ho to what’s not working and getting to a better, happier place. It’s mainly a mind shift—you focus as much on what you hope to gain as what you plan to lose from your life.

RELATED: 12 Worst Habits for Your Mental Health

1. Quit calling yourself a quitter

The word quitter is associated with failure, notes Maddux, and feeling like a loser is dispiriting, so reframe your perspective. Try this financial analogy: "Think, 'I am going to divest from this and reinvest my energy and efforts in something that will have a better payoff,'" he suggests. "Once you stop seeing yourself as a quitter, it’s easier to disengage."

2. Get real about your misery

Sometimes it’s hard to admit just how fed up or overwhelmed you are, especially if you’re the Little Engine That Could type. "Stoicism is first cousins with masochism," says Alan Bernstein, a psychotherapist in private practice in New York City and coauthor of Quitting. Whether you’re assessing how you feel about your job, your marathon training or a biography you’re slooowly reading, it helps to consider if you have "flow"—when you get so absorbed in what you’re doing that you lose a sense of time. It’s one of the purest forms of contentment around, and if it’s lacking, you’re missing out.

RELATED: Eat Your Way to Health and Happiness

3. Ask yourself one little thing

A question to ponder: Who, exactly, are you doing this for? That’s the advice from Molly Mogren Katt, 33, of Minneapolis, who left her position as a communications director for a celebrity chef—which her friends considered the coolest job—to become a writer, one she finds to be the coolest. Now she regularly interviews accomplished quitters on her blog, Hey, Eleanor! It’s named after Eleanor Roosevelt, who famously said, "Do one thing every day that scares you." "People I speak with often say they were doing things they didn’t love because they felt people or society expected them to," says Katt. "One of my favorite stories is about a makeup artist who put in so much effort to look younger. Then she quit coloring her hair at 49—and landed a job as a model for Dolce & Gabbana. Once she embraced who she was, she got a great gig."

4. See the future

The more you focus on what you’re going to do with that extra free time, the easier quitting is. "Writing down what you want next is motivating, empowering and invigorating," says Bernstein. So if you want out of a relationship, say, mull over the essential qualities you’re looking for in a future partner. True, it’s not like you can order a boyfriend off Amazon (even via drone), but you’ll feel more inspired to make it happen. As for times when there is no "next," like when you just feel like ditching your role as PTA treasurer because you’re overbooked, picture the benefits of life without it: Hello, more free time with your kids (not to mention your Hulu queue).

5. Rehearse your exit

Thinking ahead to what you’ll tell a boss or your weekend tennis partner when you end things can quell paralyzing anxiety. "Couch it in an empathic way: 'Although it may not be convenient for you…,'" advises Bernstein. "The point is to connect to the other person’s needs as well as yours." No matter how much you dread telling someone that you’re bailing, the reality may surprise you. There’s a chance that if you’re feeling it, others are, too, as I discovered the day I finally told the coordinator I had to stop volunteering. She said she knew I was headed in that direction. And then she offered to let me volunteer on holidays, which I did for years to come. Proof that I’m a quitter? Hardly—I’d call that a win-win.

Permission to quit, granted

Watch only the good seasons of Orange Is the New Black/House of Cards/Luther.
Unfriend people on Facebook who regularly post "meh" updates. Who cares if she’s powerwashing her deck?
Accept that you’ll never do a triathlon. Not now. Not next year. Not ever.
Give up making smoothies so healthy you have to hold your nose to drink them.
Forget about getting the kids to make their beds. The neat police will not descend on your home.
Quit forcing yourself to read the entire Sunday paper.
Leave your hairdresser. She will survive.
Abandon the hope of putting all your family photos into albums—iCloud for the win!

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