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

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14 Anxiety-Control Goals For 2017

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If anxiety has been ruling your life in 2016, then this new year is the time for you to have a fresh start. Make mental health resolutions that will help manage anxiety and give you a greater sense of control over your brain and your life.

You can implement these 14 things throughout the year or try one or two a month. Either way, you’ll be feeling stronger, more empowered, and happier every day. We all have anxiety, some of us more so than others — these things can help us keep it in check. Let’s do this!

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Practice deep breathing. Get yourself a tracker or an app, or learn some techniques from yoga. Learning good, slow breathing techniques can come in handy if you’re experiencing a panic attack or extreme anxiety.
Take up a meditation practice. Whether it’s on a meditation app, in a class, with a YouTube video, or on your own, calming yourself at least once a day can help manage your anxiety in a powerful way.
Eat more foods with anxiety-reducing minerals. Did you know that there are foods that can calm you down? Omega 3s, B vitamins, magnesium, and more can all contribute to a greater sense of calm. Many therapists and psychiatrists also recommend a diet that is rich in foods like salmon, which are chock-full of mood-boosting omegas.
Start a gratitude journal. When everything feels too overwhelming, a journal can help. Write down all your thoughts, but also remind yourself of the positives and what is rooted in reality. Bring yourself to the present moment.
Find a therapist you love. You can only do so much on your own. If anxiety is a part of your everyday life, a therapist should be, too. Honestly, we can all benefit from therapy, and we could all stand to learn a little bit more about ourselves, our brains, and how we operate as individuals. Committing to regular therapy can help give you a sense of control over your life and your anxiety; it’s a built-in a support system and a safe place to talk about what you’re going through with tools that have been proven to work.
Find a workout you love. One that actually works for you and your anxiety. While yoga is calming and centering for many, some anxiety sufferers feel like it’s too much stillness and they’re left alone with overwhelming thoughts. Maybe you need a challenging new workout where you don’t have a second to think about anything but what you’re doing in that moment. Finding a workout that forces you to be present is imperative.
Take more self-care days. Too many plans and too many people asking for things from you can agitate your anxiety. Take a weekend day where you say no to plans and give yourself a break to do exactly what you need and want to do, even if that means doing nothing all day.
Disconnect from technology more. Are constant texts, emails, and social notifications bogging you down mentally and emotionally? Turn it off. Keep your phone charger away from your bed. Take a few hours a day to disconnect.
Try a natural practice, like reiki, acupuncture, oil diffusing, forest bathing, or earthing. Each of these holistic approaches have been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Can’t hurt to try!
Have a mantra for the year: “Anxiety does not control me.” Repeating this to yourself can serve as a constant reminder that you are in control of your life and mental illness does not rule you. Everyone has anxiety; it’s what makes us human! What matters is our relationship with it. You wouldn’t let a friend control you, so don’t let your anxiety control you either.
Get more sleep. Sleep is a huge factor in reducing anxiety and stress. Make it a goal to get at least seven or eight hours per night.Remove unhealthy relationships and nurture the good ones. There are going to be people in your life who either just don’t understand anxiety or don’t make you feel good and perhaps make your anxiety worse. You don’t need those people in your life! Foster your relationships with the people who build you up, support you, and understand when you need some time to yourself. Those people are on your team and will be there for you for life.Cut back on caffeine. If you’ve known about your anxiety for a while, you’ll already know this, but if you’re just learning, it’s especially important to know: caffeine can trigger panic attacks. If you’re a daily coffee drinker, you might be surprised at how much it’s impacting your anxiety levels. Stop feeling bad about feeling bad. You’re not a bad person, there’s nothing wrong with you, and it’s OK to have anxious feelings. Feeling guilt or shame around your anxiety is only going to make things worse — they’re useless emotions that serve no purpose! Let go of the burden and know that it’s OK to not feel happy or 100 percent all the time.

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18 Nutrition and Fitness Experts Reveal Their New Year's Resolutions

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Eat better, join a gym, drink more water, get eight hours of sleep every night…many of the most popular New Year's resolutions are focused on living a healthier, more balanced life. But what do those people who are already extremely healthy (in fact, it's their job to be) want to improve upon? We polled 18 wellness influencers, from nutritionists to celebrity trainers to healthy start-up founders, to find out what their self-improvement goals are for the upcoming year. From being more mindful to carving out time for themselves to working out a little less (if only we all had that problem), here are their resolutions for 2017.

RELATED: 21 New Year's Resolutions You'll Actually Keep

Embrace mindfulness and live in the now

"Be even more mindful with the words I use, making sure they are influential in a positive, hopeful, and inspiring way; not just for the clients I train, but for everyone I interact with, including myself." 
—Tanya Becker, co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Physique57

"Furthering my meditation practice. I find that mindfulness not only allows me to react more calmly in stressful situations, but it also helps me feel happier overall and more in the moment, whether I’m eating, being active, or spending time with my hubby and pets."
Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, Health's contributing nutrition editor

"I resolve to listen closer, breathe deeper, and be more present. I hope to think less and risk more. And while focusing on all these things, I hope to empower others to do the same. I'm very excited for 2017!"
—Olivia Young, founder of box + flow

"My New Year's resolution is to commit—to be more instinctual and trust my gut. To work harder, and to live in the now."
—Derek DeGrazio, celebrity trainer and managing partner at Barry's Bootcamp Miami

RELATED: 13 New Year's Resolutions You Shouldn't Make

Pay it forward

"My New Year's resolution is to advocate on more result-oriented ways and less social ways to educate and support people's lives. This is an important year in health and I feel a strong commitment to providing people tools that help them invest in their health and their futures. I feel that the trends in fitness will be taking a backseat to people wanting life-long solutions that pay it forward in a really meaningful way."
—Tracy Anderson, Health contributing fitness editor, celebrity fitness trainer, and founder of the Tracy Anderson Method

"To do a random act of kindness every day. [It] forces you to think about how you can be more compassionate all day, so you can realize the perfect moment to act on it."
—Danielle DuBoise, co-founder of SAKARA LIFE

Carve out more personal time

"I want to make sure to spend more quality time with my closest friends and call my mom and sister more often. I’m going to work on improving my cooking skills. Professionally, I’m going to hire an assistant. And physically, I’m going to take more rest days. I’m on my feet working six out of seven days a week. I’d like to change that to five days a week." 
—Lacey Stone, celebrity trainer and founder of Lacey Stone Fitness

"Put more 'me' time on the calendar. It can be difficult to manage the work/life balance when you own a business because you're emotionally invested. This year, I'm going to make more of an effort to put the computer away and take time for myself."
—Tracy Carlinsky, founder of Brooklyn Bodyburn

"I am so busy and pulled in so many directions—single parent to twin girls, business owner—I don't take enough time to decompress. I know doing so will make me more grounded, balanced, and ultimately more productive."
—David Kirsch, celebrity fitness and wellness expert

RELATED: 28 New Year's Resolutions to Look and Feel Better

Schedule in restorative workouts

"Take it down a notch! As a fitness pro, I often push myself as hard as possible in every. single. workout, choosing the most advanced poses or sequences. Movement is my 'drug of choice' and I'm working on sometimes allowing that movement to be peaceful or restorative rather than only the most intense."
—Amy Jordan, founder and CEO of WundaBar Pilates

"Being an athletespecifically a boxer and a runnermy body is always tight, and I often don't take much time to stretch and recover, as I'm in a go-go-go mentality. I want to try out new yoga classes a few times a week and get into my own stretching routine so I can feel better doing what I love."
—Ashley Guarrasi, founding trainer of Rumble Boxing

Stress less

"Learn to only focus on controlling the things I can control. Too often we stress about things we really can't control, and it just makes us put unnecessary worry and pressure on ourselves."
—Skylar Diggins, Dallas Wings guard 

Fuel up the right way

"Be more mindful of how I'm fueling my body. Being 38 years old, it's getting harder to bounce back from eating badly consecutive days in a row. My goal is to incorporate a more Paleo-based way of eating, with lots of chicken and fish!"
—Alonzo Wilson, founder of Tone House

"Most resolutions focus on things to cut out. Here's what I plan to add more of in 2017: more colorful veggies on half of my plate, more outdoor workouts, and more books (for fun!)."
—Erika Horowitz MS, RDN

"I like to set my New Year's resolution to be realistic and achievable, so my nutrition plan is based on the 80/20 rule: stick to the Ketogenic diet six days a week, and one day a week splurge with my cheat food of choice (rhymes with "rasta")."
—Ross Franklin, CEO and founder of PureGreen Cold Pressed Juice

RELATED: 57 Ways to Lose Weight Forever, According to Science

Take a risk and try new things

"Trying new sports and workout classes. I want to break out of my comfort zone a bit more! I've never been rock climbing or snow skiing, so I'd like to try those. I would also like to make more of an effort to prioritize recovery. I work out hard and throw around some pretty heavy weights. Somewhere along the line I've started to skimp on stretching, foam rolling, and resting. Not okay!"
—Melody Scharff, instructor at the Fhitting Room

"I'm going to find a better balance between my strength training, mobility, and Jiu Jitsu. I tend to hyper focus on one type of training and my body needs the variety to perform and feel optimal. I'm committed to sitting down before the new year and re-structuring my schedule to reach my goals. If you don't plan, it won't happen!"
—Ashley Borden, celebrity fitness trainer

"Although I work out (and I'm lucky to LOVE working out), my exercise was all over the place in 2016 and I want to take it up a notch in 2017. This includes getting in a few races, planning a few hiking trips, and being consistent with four intense workouts a week."
—Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN, and founder of Nutritious Life and the Nutrition School

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I wish to introduce you to a powerful tenet which gives rise to whatever it is you’re attempting to achieve along with your physique is not external, yet contained within your mind. The vital to dropping weight is determined by exactly how you attach meaning to it – the thoughts and emotions associated along with it. Weight loss implies removing something unwanted or unhealthy i.e. excess physique fat. exactly what if we re-framed it in our minds as an expression which affirms the adhering to instead; allowing our physique to…

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A Helpful (and Realistic) Way to Manage Your Post-Election Emotions

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The election is finally over. But it’s safe to say that, as a nation, the tensions and anxieties related to this historic race—and its outcome—aren’t going away anytime soon. While about half of the country is celebrating Donald Trump’s victory today, many others are facing feelings of disappointment.

If you’re in the latter group, you may be looking for ways to cope. Should you avoid the news, or wallow in it? Will you feel better by sharing your thoughts on social media, or worse?

Yes, it's a cliché but you can start by taking a deep breath—literally—says Diana Winston, director of mindfulness education at UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center. It won’t change the outcome of the race but that simple act has been scientifically proven to help curb anxiety and refocus your attention. That’s important, says Winston, because dwelling on negative emotions will only push you deeper into sadness and despair.

And since stress is an inevitable part of life no matter what your political persuasion, Winston says mindfulness is a skill everyone can benefit from learning. Here's a cheat sheet to help you feel calmer in no time.

1. Focus on your breath. Mindfulness is about living in the present moment with openness, curiosity, and willingness, says Winston. That concept may be hard to grasp right now, but you can start small—by bringing your attention to your breath for a few minutes, and tuning out everything else around you.

Try to practice mindful breathing for a minimum of five minutes a day, says Winston. (To get started, listen to a guided tutorial on UCLA’s website.) “Once you get used to it, you can do it anytime in the day you need it,” she adds—like when a political conversation gets heated, or you feel yourself getting overwhelmed by the news.

2. Tune into your whole body. If you end up in a heated conversation, notice what’s going on with your body in that moment: Feel your feet on the floor, your heart racing, and the heat rising in your cheeks, for example.

Acknowledge those feelings, but don’t let them take over. “If you notice there’s anxiety or anger there, then you can bring consciousness to it and not necessarily be so reactive when you choose to respond,” Winston says.

Pinpointing your emotion may even have a soothing effect in itself, she adds. “Research shows that when we are aware of feeling and we label it correctly, it calms down the primitive part of the brain, and activates the part that helps with impulse control instead.”

3. Maintain perspective. It’s easy to get caught up in thoughts about worst-case scenarios. But remind yourself that that’s exactly what they are—and that dwelling on them won’t change things or help you feel better.

“Mindfulness teaches us that we shouldn’t believe everything we think,” says Winston. “When a thought comes into your head—‘I have to leave the country,’ or ‘I’ll never talk to my relatives again’—you don’t have to follow that train of thought.” Instead, take a deep breath (see No. 1), bring yourself back to the present, and do your best to take things one step at a time.

4. Be proactive, not reactive. Practicing mindfulness doesn’t mean you should just sit back and give up on your beliefs and your passions. But it does mean you should think before making rash decisions while emotions are running high.

“Mindfulness can help you act for change, but from a place of wisdom and compassion rather than a place of reactivity—two very different ways of acting that can have completely different results,” says Winston. “When you practice it over time, you cultivate a quality of even-mindedness and balance, even amidst the ups and downs of life.”

5. Acknowledge your judgments. Mindfulness can be especially valuable when talking with others who have different opinions. (You may not feel up to doing that at all today, says Winston, and that’s okay. But doing so at some point, with mutual respect, will be an important step toward bridging the divides in our country.)

It’s only human—and totally normal—to form opinions about why a person feels the way they do. But you can acknowledge those judgments, in your head, without letting them go any farther. Remember, you don’t have to believe everything you think.

“Everyone wants the same thing deep down—to be safe, happy, and healthy,” she says. “So instead of writing someone off before really hearing them out, see if you can listen to these deeper needs and come to an understanding.”

6. Practice gratitude. “There is some neuroscience around the idea that people can’t have both fear and gratitude in their minds at the same time,” says Winston, “so doing some kind of gratitude practice right now can definitely be helpful.”

Call a loved one and tell them how much you appreciate them. Spend a few minutes writing down things you’re thankful for. Or just take the opportunity to bring awareness to the time you spend with your favorite people, places, or activities.

These strategies certainly won’t solve all of the country's challenges, nor will they erase your anger or anxieties. But that’s not the point of mindfulness—and that’s what makes it realistic.

“It’s not about trying to get rid of these feelings,” says Winston. “It’s about giving yourself tools so you can tolerate them and be at peace with them, so you can then move onward and upward.”

 

This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com.

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8 essential tips for dyeing your hair

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Are you in need of a hair revamp? Before you jump on the boxed hair dyes, here are eight things to keep in mind before you dye your hair at home.

1. Check the ingredients

Filling your car with the wrong type of petrol can cause serious damage to your vehicle, so it’s important for you the read the signs. The same concept can be applied to dying your hair. According to Vince Sferlazza, owner of Vince and John New Image Salon in Melbourne, it’s crucial to check how many chemicals are in the hair dye to avoid damaging your locks. “The fewer chemicals there are, the better it will be for your hair, so always be sure to check,” says Sferlazza. “Strong chemicals like ammonia shock the hair shaft open, leaving it looking dry and dull after a colour. Herbatint hair colours gently open the shaft of the hair to deposit colour while maintaining the shine and health of your hair.”

2. Opt for natural botanicals

Hair dyes that contain natural botanical ingredients help to restore moisture throughout the dyeing process. “It’s a synergy between nature and technology; different botanicals have different uses,” says Sferlazza. “They can protect the scalp, add shine, moisturise the hair and skin, enhance colour, strengthen and soothe. So ensure that all your hair products are enriched with certified organic extracts.”

WHF pick: restore moisture with Herbatint’s range of hair dyes, which contain aloe vera to protect and nourish, and meadow foam to moisturise and add shine and condition.

3. Select your colour wisely

To find a shade that suits your complexion, Sferlazza recommends picking a colour that’s a few shades lighter or darker than your natural tone. While you can play it safe with the base colour, don’t be afraid to have a little fun with highlights. “You can always play with tones, add some warmer tones, like copper and mahogany, or cooler tones, like ash, to your natural colour to enhance your skin tone.”

4. Prep your space

Before you embark on a DIY colouring session at home, ensure you’ve prepped your space and have the right equipment. “Make sure surfaces are covered and you have all the right tools for the job: a colouring cape, old towel, measuring cup, tint bowl, tint brush and a comb,” says Sferlazza. “And make sure you aren’t wearing your Sunday best when you’re applying your colour.”

5. Read the instructions

While this seems like an obvious tip, you’d be surprised how many people don’t actually read the instructions from start to finish. And perform a skin test to ensure you don’t have an allergic reaction to the product.

6. Show your locks some love

So, you’ve dyed your hair and you love the new colour, but the hair care doesn’t stop there. It’s important to use products that will nourish and restore moisture. “It’s in your best interest to invest in products containing natural ingredients to restore the hair after colouring,” says Sferlazza. “Allow yourself five to 10 minutes when washing your hair to leave the Herbatint Royal Cream Conditioner on as an intensive regenerating treatment.”

WHF top pick: Herbatint’s Normalising Shampoo and Royal Cream Conditioner. Enriched with aloe vera, jojoba and wheat germ, it nourishes and revitalises dry, damaged and colour-treated hair.

7. Space out your colouring

It’s tempting to reach for the colouring brush as soon as re-growth starts to show. But Sferlazza advises waiting a minimum or four to five weeks between colourings to allow your hair enough time to repair itself.

8. Practise long-term hair care

While many will admit to getting extremely irregular haircuts, they’re vital for healthy, glossy hair. Sferlazza recommends getting regular haircuts every six to eight weeks and using a good-quality hair brush. Also, avoid overusing hair dryers and straighteners, but if you are using them, always use a heat-protecting serum or cream.

WHF pick: TEK wooden hairbrushes help stimulate blood flow to the scalp, promoting hair growth.

Discover more about Herbatint’s philosophy and you’ll be on your way to having lucious, healthy locks.

 

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The Mental Tricks Laurie Hernandez Uses to Summon Crazy Confidence

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Team USA gymnast Laurie Hernandez is blowing us away in Rio: Her talent is obviously out of this world, but what’s just as impressive is the poise and confidence the 16-year-old first-time Olympian exhibits pretty much every time she’s on camera.

Take her performances so far. At the Olympic trials back in July, Hernandez calmly stood before a huge crowd, closed her eyes, put one hand on her stomach, and breathed deeply. Then she proceeded to kill it on beam. (She took first.)

This week, as she struck her starting pose for the floor exercise, she sent the judges a smile and sneaky wink. Later, before hopping up on the beam, the camera caught her whispering to herself, “I got this.” And she was right.

But these little pre-routine behaviors aren’t just a fun part of her personality, says sports psychology consultant Robert Andrews. They’re actually valuable tools for getting in the right mindset for optimal performance—and they’re easy enough for anyone to learn, elite athlete or not.

Breathing like a champ

Andrews, who has a master’s degree in psychology and a background in fitness, runs the Institute of Sports Performance in Houston. He’s worked with hundreds of professional athletes, including Hernandez and her teammate Simone Biles; in fact, he taught Hernandez that very breathing routine she practices before competition.

“I like to say that oxygen is the cure for stress and anxiety,” says Andrews. “A lot of athletes, when they’re stressed out, start breathing a lot shallower and faster. So learning how to monitor and be aware of breathing patterns under stress is important.”

What Hernandez is doing before she competes, he explains, is called diaphragmatic or “belly” breathing. “She’s moving her diaphragm down so that her lungs can open up,” he says. “Laurie, like a lot of people, tends to hold her stress in her stomach—so she’s connecting her mind to her stomach and her breathing patterns.”

Deep, diaphragmatic breathing can release tension in the body, says Andrews, which can also relax the mind. That changes hormonal function in the brain, and lowers the production of the stress hormone cortisol.

RELATED: How 6 Olympic Athletes Deal With the Pressure

Acting confident goes a long way

Andrews also works with athletes on body language and posture, which he says can have a big psychological influence on performance. “Laurie has a very upright, straight posture when she’s getting ready for a routine,” he points out. Not only does that make an impression on the judges, he says, it can also make an impression on her own brain.

“Strong body language like that can actually increase the production of testosterone and lower the production of stress-related hormones,” he says. “It creates brain chemistry that increases assertiveness and confidence, which you need just the right amount of when you’re on the bars, the beam, the floor, wherever.”

The same goes for Laurie’s now-famous “I-got-this” pep talk. Andrews didn’t teach her those words exactly, but he says he has talked with her about the power of positive thinking.

“Where you point your mind, your body follows—so Laurie has figured out that those words are very empowering for her mind and body, and they’re going to help her bring out that fierceness that she needs,” he says. “I can’t think of a better powerful, affirmative statement of belief in herself.”

RELATED: What 5 Olympic Athletes Can Teach You About Body Confidence

You can use belly breathing too—and not just for sports

Anyone can benefit from diaphragmatic breathing before a stressful event, says Andrews—from an age-group runner competing in a race to a teenager taking an exam. The practice can help in the corporate world, too, with everything from job interviews to sales pitches to public speaking. 

“I’ve had high school and college students who report back to me that they’re making better grades on tests and giving better presentations in front of the class because they’re using these mindfulness techniques,” says Andrews. “Athletes call it their peak performance zone, but really everyone works better when they’re in a mindful, centered state.”

Ready to give it a try? Here’s what to do next time you’re in a stressful situation and feeling nervous. (If you’re not in one right now, just picture yourself there.)

Close your eyes and sit or stand up straight.
Find the spot in your body where your stress is building up. Is it in your throat? Your chest? Your stomach? Focus on that spot.
Inhale deeply, so that your stomach expands out and not up. It can help to put your hand on your stomach to feel this movement happening.
Concentrate on slowly breathing in and out, and feel your stress levels come down.

Andrews works with athletes on bringing those emotions down to the appropriate level. If 1 means no stress at all and 10 means all-out freak out, some people might perform best at a 5, others at a 3, he says. The key is to learn what works best for you.

And while Andrews says that the mental aspect of competition is especially important in Olympic sports—where a hundredth of a point or a literal split second can determine the winners—he agrees that it’s also a big part of successful performances of any type, at any level.

So next time you’re feeling unsure of yourself, try giving yourself a little mental boost a la Laurie Hernandez. Close your eyes, focus on your breath, and maybe even give a little wink. Because guess what? You’ve got this.

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One Big Interviewing Mistake You Should Try to Avoid

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Say you’re in the running for your dream job, but it’s on the other side of the country. The higher-ups call you for a final interview, and give you a choice: You can video conference in, or fly out to meet with them face-to-face.

You might be tempted to choose the easier option that doesn’t involve travel or additional expenses. But it may be wise to make the trip: A new study suggests that in-person interviews tend to leave better impressions on both the hiring company and the candidate.

“We live in a world where we increasingly rely on technology, but this study reminds us that personal interactions should never be underestimated,” study co-author Nikki Blacksmith, a doctoral candidate at the George Washington University’s Department of Organizational Sciences and Communication, said in a press release. Blacksmith and her colleagues wanted to see how tools like telephone and video interviewing might affect overall decision making, so they analyzed the findings of 12 studies published between 2000 and 2007.

Their results, published Monday in the journal Personnel Assessment and Decisions, found that overall, technology-mediated interviews resulted in lower ratings—for both parties involved—than face-to-face interviews. Video interviews received the most negative rankings, followed by telephone and computer interviews.

Initially, the researchers assumed that these differences would have lessened over the years, as people became more accustomed to technology in the workplace. But they were surprised to find the opposite: The ratings were actually more negative in the later research. (They do point out, however, that even the most recent study took place seven years ago.)

“Considering the rate at which technology has changed, it is clear that we lack understanding of the modern interview,” the authors wrote.

Senior author Tara Behrend, PhD, director of the Workplaces and Virtual Environments Lab at George Washington University, says the study was not able to determine what, exactly, was wrong with technology-mediated interviews—but does offer a guess.

“On the phone I can’t shrug my shoulders, roll my eyes, wink, or nod my head to show that I understand,” she told RealSimple.com. “That means that the interviewer can easily misinterpret something I say.”

On top of that, she says, taking turns is harder in a video or phone setting. “The chance of accidentally interrupting the interviewer would be much higher,” says Behrend. “If you’re afraid of interrupting, then you might have a long awkward pause instead. Neither option is going to give the perception that you are a strong communicator.”

It’s also difficult to engage in what Behrend calls “impression management”—doing things to make the interviewer like you—when you’re not face-to-face with them. You might not be able to make friendly small talk or show that you’re attentive by smiling and sitting up straight if you’re on the phone or staring into a webcam, she says.

The problem is, many interviewees aren’t given a choice as to what kind of meeting they’ll have. If a company holds all of its interviews for a certain position the same way, the study authors say, then no one has an unfair advantage. But if some candidates are given in-person interviews and others aren’t, results are likely to be skewed. In fact, the study concludes, these findings could potentially open up companies with such hiring practices to lawsuits.

Behrend says that an important next step is finding a way to improve perceptions in video interactions. “There is plenty of popular advice out there about how to do well in a Skype interview,” she says. “For example, making eye contact is very tough online. But, you can configure your computer so that ‘eye contact’ with the camera happens more naturally.” (You can find our expert tips for acing a video interview—and other smart interview tips—here).

She hopes that by studying tips and techniques like these, researchers can help level the playing field—and give remote interviewers gain back a bit of their lost advantage.

 

This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com.

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What to Do If You Spot Blood in Your Poop

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Q: I've been noticing blood in my poop. Should I be concerned?

I don't want to alarm you, but you should have this checked out ASAP. How much blood have you been noticing, and what color? And is it mixed in with the stool or on top? These are details that will help your doctor pinpoint where the bleeding is coming from. If you spot bright red or maroon blood on the surface, you may have an anal fissure (a tiny tear), which can happen from passing large or hard stools. While they can be painful, the cuts are typically nothing to worry about and heal on their own within a few weeks. Anal fissures that don't get better within six weeks may require medicine or surgery—but that's pretty rare.

RELATED: Can't Poop? Here's Everything You Should Know About Constipation

Blood on your poop, or bleeding during or between bathroom runs, could also be a sign of hemorrhoids, which are swollen veins in your anus or rectum. You can develop them from a variety of causes, including straining when you go, constipation, or pregnancy, when there's extra pressure on the veins. Often hemorrhoids can be made less troublesome with dietary tweaks, like drinking plenty of water and adding fiber to help soften stools. In the meantime, your doc may suggest using an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream to help with the swelling and itchiness.

However, red or darker blood in the toilet or mixed in with the poop might indicate something more serious, such as colon cancer or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The most common types of IBD are Crohn's disease, which involves inflammation anywhere in your digestive tract, and ulcerative colitis (UC), in which the inflammation specifically affects the lining of the colon and rectum. IBD can also cause abdominal pain, fever, and weight loss when it flares up. Mild IBD symptoms can often be controlled by medication, combined with avoiding certain foods (including fatty and high-fiber kinds, as well as dairy), eating smaller and more frequent meals, drinking plenty of water, and exercising. In extreme cases, surgery or additional medications may be required.

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Those with Crohn's disease and UC are also at higher risk of developing colon cancer, which is why it's important to bring up any blood in your number two with your doctor to figure out the reason behind it and start treating it as quickly as possible.

Health’s medical editor, Roshini Rajapaksa, MD, is assistant professor of medicine at the NYU School of Medicine.

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