Mind & Mood Archive


Is online gambling harming you?

Online gambling is a popular and growing business, but for millions of Americans, what begins as occasional fun can lead to devastating problems. Trouble with gambling often builds gradually and severe gambling problems share risk factors with substance-related disorders.

Try this: Take a tactical breather

Tactical breathing used by military and law enforcement personnel can help people manage anxiety and stay mentally sharp during stressful situations. It can also help calm a racing mind or soothe pain.

Lending a helping hand

People who devote time to helping others are often happier than those who don't. Serving others also helps brain health by increasing social connections, which can protect against loneliness and depression, and improving executive function skills like planning, attention, and remembering tasks. Common ways to help others include volunteering, mentoring, random acts of kindness, and seeing life from another person's perspective.

Grief can raise blood pressure

A 2023 study suggests that extreme grief after losing a loved one can raise people's systolic blood pressure, posing cardiovascular risks.

Mastering memory maintenance

Memory loss is a pervasive worry. Dementia will affect an estimated nine million Americans by 2030 and 12 million by 2040. A 2023 study suggests six healthy lifestyle factors can significantly slow memory decline: eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, not smoking, not drinking alcohol, being socially active, and engaging in brain-challenging activities. Another 2023 study suggests regular Internet use may be linked to a lower risk of dementia.

Heart attacks may speed cognitive decline

Accelerated cognitive decline may be more common after a heart attack, probably because the same factors that lead to narrowed heart arteries (the root cause of most heart attacks) can also cause tiny, silent strokes. An accumulation of these strokes shows up as bright areas (called white matter lesions) on an MRI scan. These lesions are markers of typical cognitive changes that occur with age. But people who have heart attacks likely have more white matter lesions and experience even greater cognitive decline.

Magnesium-rich foods might boost brain health, especially in women

A 2023 study suggests that eating more magnesium-rich foods contribute to better brain health—especially in women—as people get older. This may lower the risk of dementia.

Steps to spot the signs of hoarding

Hoarding disorder is a mental health condition characterized by an inability to discard certain belongings to the point of unhealthy accumulation. While the types of hoarded items vary and might be useless to others—old clothes, boxes, papers, junk mail, or even spoiled food or garbage—the person hoarding the items is convinced they'll be needed one day. The mere idea of parting with them is extremely distressing. In time, stuff fills the home in mounds of disorganized clutter that jams rooms and hallways and threatens safety. Beyond clutter, signs of hoarding disorder include impaired behavior, such as social isolation, sleep loss, or indecision.

Validation: Defusing intense emotions

Validation is a valuable communication technique that can help people feel heard and understood. When used correctly it helps us understand  another person's feelings and establishes trust, particularly in situations with heightened emotions.

Seeing red? 4 steps to try before responding

Simple coping strategies like counting to 10 are often useful to help you avoid an outburst. But as multiple challenges in recent years have amped up stress levels, those strategies may not be enough. So what steps can you take to avoid reaching your boiling point?

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