6 Habits Experts Swear by For More Restful Nights and Happier Mornings

Author Article

1. Spend Some Time Outside

According to the National Sleep Foundation, being exposed to natural light during the day — and being in darkness at night — helps your body maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle. (Among other things, natural light plays a role in regulating the sleep hormone melatonin.) Get outside at some point during the day, and keep devices and other sources of light out of your room at night by investing in light-blocking curtains or shades.

2. Eat Lighter in the Evenings

Eating until you’re stuffed can help you fall asleep, but you might struggle to stay that way. “Heavy protein — which is hard to digest and often metabolized to wake-promoting dopamine — in combination with spicy or fatty foods will give your body way too much to do at night when it should be focused on sleep,” said Dr. Winter. Try to eat big meals three to four hours before bed. This will also help prevent acid reflux, which can wake you during the night.

3. Avoid Late-Night Workouts

While a 2017 review found that exercise improves sleep quality and duration, working out right before bed may actually cause your sleep to suffer. “Your circadian clock and metabolism are connected. Exercise revs up metabolism, and it can stay elevated for hours, keeping you awake,” Mary Ellen Wells, PhD, director and assistant professor of neurodiagnostics and sleep science at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, told POPSUGAR. “For this reason, avoid exercise a few hours before bedtime.”

4. Skip the Nightcap

You probably know the risks of drinking caffeine in the afternoon, but that glass of wine can also disrupt your sleep. “Alcohol does nothing positive for sleep. It is very important for individuals not to confuse sedation with sleep,” Dr. Winter explained. “Alcohol can reduce the deep sleep we get at night and dramatically suppress REM sleep,” the dream phase considered to be the most restorative stage of sleep. “Alcohol is also a diuretic,” he continued, meaning it can cause you to use the bathroom during the night. And even beyond that, “it increases sleep fragmentation and wake time during the night.”

5. Power Down Your Devices

“Electronics and the light they emit — as well as the stress that often comes with them — can dramatically impact our sleep quality and quantity,” said Dr. Winter. “The light can interrupt the brain’s ability to produce the sleep-promoting chemical melatonin.”

Using glasses that filter out blue light or setting your device to a “sleep” setting can help, but it’s better to just power down. “You should avoid bright light and blue light from devices at least an hour or two before bedtime,” Dr. Wells said. Instead, try creating a relaxing bedtime routine, which may include meditation, reading, or deep-breathing exercises.

6. Keep Cool

The National Sleep Foundation recommends setting your thermostat between 60 and 67 degrees for optimal sleep. You should also wear looser clothing to prevent heat from being trapped inside. It’ll benefit your skin, too. “Tighter clothing can lead to friction and irritation, which can cause clogged pores and rashes,” Michael Kassardjian, DO, a board-certified dermatologist at Coast Dermatology, told POPSUGAR. “Additionally, the hot and humid environment caused by warmer clothing is a perfect breeding ground for bacterial and fungal infections. Folliculitis, acne, and yeast infections are some examples of what can develop.”

Feeling Lonely? Discover 18 Ways to Overcome Loneliness

Author Article

The great irony is that as we become increasingly “connected”—on social media, video calling, and messaging—we simultaneously feel increasingly lonely. And even though we may use technology to feel more connected, it may be exactly what’s leading us to feel lonely.

Are you feeling socially connected? (take this well-being quiz to see how you’re feeling). If not, try some of these 18 strategies to stop feeling lonely.

1. Practice self-kindness when you’re feeling lonely

In difficult moments, it’s essential to practice self-kindness. Blaming ourselves when we feel lonely is not helpful. So limit your hurtful self-talkengage in some self-care, and just generally give yourself a break. Perhaps a walk in nature or a day at the spa may be helpful for getting yourself into a self-kindness mood.

2. Capitalize on the present moment when you’re feeling lonely

When you feel good about something, share it with others right away, and I don’t mean “share” by posting on your social media. You could share by calling or texting a friend. Or share with the people you work with. Keep in mind that the positive things that you can share don’t have to be big. You could simply have woken up on the right side of the bed and think, “Hey, I’m feeling great today.” By sharing these moments, you create small moments of connection with others that can help you overcome loneliness.

3. Connect in real life when you’re feeling lonely

Connecting in real life may not be as easy as it once was. We often default to using our smartphones—it’s easier, and now, and it’s culturally accepted. But we can decrease our loneliness if we build stronger in-person connections. We do this by looking people in the eyes, listening, being mindful, and choosing not be distracted by our phones or other technologies.

4. Rethink how you spend your spare time when you’re feeling lonely

When we feel lonely, sometimes we just want to retreat into a corner and hide. Other times, our endless to-do list may leave us too exhausted to go out and be social. But opting to stay alone every night with our phoneswatching Netflix, or playing on Facebook can really get us stuck in loneliness. We’ve created a life for ourselves that deprives of us of meaningful social connection, and the only way to get out of it is to start living differently.

If we instead use our loneliness to motivate us to reach out to people, then we can strengthen our relationships. By opting to cope with our loneliness by seeking out social support, we create more social moments with the people in our lives that matter to us, which usually reduces our loneliness.

5. Do more things with people to feel less lonely

Engaging in face-to-face social interactions tends to improve our mood and reduce depressionActivities that involve other people — such as attending religious services or engaging in sports — are also likely to have positive effects on our mental health. So find ways to be around people more.

6. Talk to strangers when you’re feeling lonely

A growing body of research suggests that even seemingly trivial interactions with strangers — like chatting with a barista or cashier — may be able to keep loneliness at bay by helping us feel more socially connected. So reach out to other human beings to say hello, ask them how they are, or chat about whatever’s on your mind. These small acts can make a big difference and help you reduce feelings of loneliness.

7. Be active online when you’re feeling lonely

Instead of passively surfing the net or your social media, if you want to go online, opt instead to do something that involves the active participation of other people. For example, you could play games with others, chat about something you care about, give advice on a forum, or have a video call with a friend. The more you interact with others while online, the more connected you are likely to feel.

8. Share for real online when you’re feeling lonely

Somewhere along the way, the word “sharing” got co-opted on social media to describe what is really just “humble bragging.” We post about cool things we did, nice meals we ate, or a fun party we went to—all things that we didn’t actually share with the people who are viewing our posts.

Instead of posting about things you did, reclaim the word “share” for what it really means—to give a small or large portion of what is yours to someone else. You could share advice, words of support, or even empathy all from your smartphone. As a result, your connections are likely to be more kind and supportive.

9. Stop focusing so much on you when you’re feeling lonely

It’s almost inevitable in our modern technology-crazed world that we start to believe that we don’t have enough. Bob got a new car. Sherri got a new house. Sonja got a new job. We also see false or unrealistic images—models Photoshopped to have perfect waists and abs—and we feel envious. As a result, we become increasingly focused on how we are not measuring up.

Instead of focusing on what you can get, shift your focus to what you can give. You could sell T-shirts online to raise money for a good cause. You could ask friends to donate to a charity for your birthday. By giving to others, you take the focus off yourself and do good at the same time, helping you to feel more connected and less lonely.

10. Stop your negative thought cycles when you’re feeling lonely

We might repeatedly think about what we could have done differently to prevent ourselves from feeling so alone. We ruminate on the events or people or causes, because we mistakenly believe that thinking about our loneliness over and over again will help us solve it. Unfortunately, it does us no good to get caught up in our thoughts instead of taking the actions we need to feel better.

To put an end to these negative thought cycles, we need to take action—do something different that stops these thoughts and changes our experience of the world. For example, if I’m feeling lonely, I’ll go to the gym or schedule lunches with friends for the next few days. And it helps.

11. Generate a sense of awe when you’re feeling lonely

Awe (like when we witness the birth of new baby, or a majestic mountain) makes time seem like it’s standing still and helps us be more open to connecting. Something about feeling small in the context of a big world appears to help us see ourselves as a part of a whole, which may help us feel less alone. So expose yourself to something that creates awe—like landscapes, new experiences, or new foods.

12. Spend money on experiences when you’re feeling lonely

If we’re spending all our money on things, we wont have the cash to spend money on experiences with others. And it turns out that spending money on experiences is way better for our mental health. So get creative and think about what you want to do with others. For example, I might go on a canoeing trip, go wine tasting, plan a beach party, or host arts & crafts night. What group activities might make you feel less lonely?

13. Pay attention to the things that matter when you’re feeling lonely

How do we expect to improve our loneliness when we don’t know what causes it? It’s hard. So it’s helpful to start paying attention to the present moment. What are the experiences that make you feel lonely? And what are the experiences that make you feel connected or like you belong? Identifying these moments can help you reduce loneliness because you can limit engagement in the activities that make you feel lonely and increase engagement in the activities that make you feel connected.

14. Create a vision board when you’re feeling lonely

I keep a vision board tacked up by my desk to remind me of my goals. A big chunk of my vision board is about connecting—building community, networking, spending time with family, and the like. Sometimes I have a hard time sticking to it, but having the vision board reminds me to. Once you discover the things that make you feel less lonely and more connected, it can be helpful to create a board or list or plan for what you’ll do—something to keep near you so you remember what you need to do to combat loneliness.

15. Tend to your network when you’re feeling lonely

Sometimes we can end up feeling alone even though we are connected to lots of people. So it can be helpful to reach out to these people and schedule times to catch up. Aim to schedule at least one social hour per week—a coffee date, lunch, or happy hour. Who knows, maybe an old friendship can be reignited.

16. Join an online group of like-minded people when you’re feeling lonely

You can now find people online with just about any interest—for example, politics, cooking, or sports. Joining one of these mission-oriented groupscan be a way to feel more connected to others, even when you don’t have access to face-to-face interactions. You might get to know some new people or make life-long friends. You can even try out a few groups to see which ones fit you best and decrease your loneliness the most.

17. Volunteer remotely or in real life when you’re feeling lonely

For some of us, it’s hard to find people to spend time with, let alone connect with. So we have to find new people. One way to do this is by volunteering for a cause, either remotely or in your town. Just be sure you’re working with others. Working on an important problem with others can help you decrease loneliness.

18. Be nice to yourself when you experience failures

It’s important to practice self-compassion when you fail at things. Remember, everyone fails, and there is no need to be a bully to yourself, feel guilty, or put yourself down. That kind of attitude won’t help you decrease loneliness now or in the future. Instead, try talking to yourself in a way that is supportive, kind, and caring — and you’ll be more likely to acknowledge mistakes you may have made in trying to decrease loneliness, and hopefully do better next time.

Want to learn more about how to build well-being? Check out Berkeleywellbeing.com.

Free Three-Month Trip to Italy from Airbnb

Author Article

Hi, hello, ciao, there’s someone I’d like to introduce you to. It’s future-you—more specifically, it’s five-months-in-the-future you.

Five-months-in-the-future you lives in a charming countryside village in Southern Italy called Grottole. (It’s in the part right between the sole and the heel of the boot.) You start every day with a cappuccino and a lesson in Italian language, before moving over to the vegetable garden to get acquainted with local produce. Next up is a cooking lesson, and a homemade lunch (fingers crossed that it’s pasta). Save some room for a sundown aperitivo, though.

One quick clarification: This could be be five-months-in-the-future you—if you apply for, and win!—one of four spots in the Airbnb Italian Sabbatical program. According to the company:

“Airbnb is sponsoring a unique opportunity for four people to move to the small village of Grottole for three months and experience authentic rural life in Italy. Selected candidates will become temporary citizens of the village and will volunteer for a local non-profit organization called “Wonder Grottole” whose aim is to revitalize the town’s historical center. The small village of Grottole, with only 300 inhabitants and more than 600 empty homes, is at risk of disappearing and is asking for your help!”

I mean, you really don’t have to twist our arms on this one. Hang on, what’s that, it’s all-expenses paid? And a €900 monthly expense stipend? Okay, we’re double in. Make that triple.

Join The Conversation

TOP COMMENT:
“I would love this opportunity to learn and live in Southern Italy with others that share love of food, travel, and culture. Pretty please!!”
— Gail B.

COMMENT

And now that we’ve reeled you in with that video, we’d like to present the following stream of daydream-inducing photos of Grottole, in an effort to distract you all until you miss the application deadline (Feb. 17). Meanwhile, we’ll be racing to get our essay submissions in! (And pondering how to answer the application question, “Why would you like to take a sabbatical in Grottole?” Forced choice response options do not include photos of our tiny, drafty New York apartments.)

Allora:

To learn more about the program or (ugh! If you must) apply, check out Airbnb’s Italian Sabbatical page.

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Do you ever daydream about taking a sabbatical to Italy? Let us know in the comments!

7 Habits of Existentially Vibrant Living

Author Article

The following are the seven habits that, in my opinion, comprise the basis of existentially vibrant living:

(1)   the habit of making one’s own meaning (instead of “looking for it”)

(2)   the habit of accepting reality “as is” (put differently, the habit of “noticing ordinary perfection”)

(3)   the habit of being present in the moment

(4)   the habit of making conscious choices (which helps you de-program and re-program your life at will)

(5)   the habit of self-acceptance/self-compassion

(6)   the habit of accepting uncertainty (“because we are always flying blind into the unknown of what is yet to be”)

(7)   the habit of forgiving and compassion

These seven vital signs of conscious, meaningful, and mindful living are the goals of the program of existential rehabilitation.  Developing these habits will help you feel freer and more alive, more at ease and psychologically invulnerable, more attuned to yourself and more connected with others, and, most importantly, less preoccupied with what should be and more in awe of what already is.

Adapted from Present Perfect (P. Somov, New Harbinger Publications, 2010)

The Benefits Of Being Kind To Yourself Are More Powerful Than You Think, According To Science

Author Article
BY 

It’s not always easy to be nice to yourself. I’m not sure why this is, but I do know that that cliché about being your own worst critic is definitely true. It’s just so easy to get into the habit of placing other people’s needs or desires (read: your mom, your SO, your boss) way, way above your own. But the benefits of being kind to yourself can actually have a deeper, more lasting impact than you might immediately assume. While self-compassion is an important habit to practice no matter what, the results of a new study suggest it can have a very real, positive, if unexpected impact on your physical body.

Researchers from the Universities of Exeter and Oxford in the UK discovered that, when you actively practice self-compassion, it can actually calm and slow down your heart rate, not to mention switch off your body’s threat response, aka its fight-or-flight mode. Just to put that in perspective a little, when your body’s threat response is activated more than it needs to be (i.e. when it’s consistently activated during times of stress), it can legitimately damage your immune system over time, per research published in the journal Current Opinion in Psychology. So, if there are ways to avoid having that bodily response when it isn’t necessary, it’s all the better for your well-being.

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As for the new research from the UK, which has been published in the academic journal Clinical Psychological Science, here’s how that study went down: According to a press release from the University of Exeter, 135 students from the school were divided into five groups. Each group received different audio instructions, and while some included exercises of self-compassion, others “induced a critical inner voice.” To gauge how these different instructions affected the participants, the researchers tracked their heart rate and sweat responses, and they asked the students to report how they felt after hearing the instructions, with questions like “how safe they felt, how likely they were to be kind to themselves and how connected they felt to others.”

After all of that, the researchers found that the two groups whose audio instructions were encouraging them to be kind to themselves both reported feeling more self-compassion and connection to other people, and yes, their bodily responses illustrated feelings of relaxation and safety as well: Their heart rates dropped and slowed down, and the participants’ bodies produced less sweat when listening to self-compassion exercises. Meanwhile, the instructions that guided the participants toward a more critical inner monologue seemed to lead to the opposite results: a faster heartbeat, more sweat, and more feelings of distress. The main author of the study, Dr. Hans Kirschner, said in the study’s press release,

These findings suggest that being kind to oneself switches off the threat response and puts the body in a state of safety and relaxation that is important for regeneration and healing.

Giphy

Co-author of the study, Dr. Anke Karl, added,

Previous research has found that self-compassion was related to higher levels of well-being and better mental health, but we didn’t know why.

Our study is helping us understand the mechanism of how being kind to yourself when things go wrong could be beneficial in psychological treatments. By switching off our threat response, we boost our immune systems and give ourselves the best chance of healing.

And listen, I know self-compassion is kind of this lofty, what-does-it-really-mean kind of idea, which can make it feel daunting to practice or really trust as a legitimately helpful habit. But being kind to yourself can truly mean so many different things. Maybe you can create an easy ritual for yourself at the end of a hard week, like getting a bagel at your favorite bodega. Or maybe you can climb into bed early on a Friday night so you can devour more of that graphic novel you never have time to read. Maybe self-kindness just means making a quick list in your phone of all the things that made you smile that day.

Whatever it looks like for you, just do it — give it a try. What’s there to lose, right?

11 Warning Signs of Emotional Abuse in Relationships

Psych Central Article
By Jessica Cline

You never really know someone until you’ve tried to leave them.

Many women who witnessed various forms of physical abuse and domestic violence in their parents’ marriages swear they will never settle for the same kind of treatment in their own relationships.

However, many are so focused on physical forms of abuse that they too often miss the warning signs of emotional abuse, at least, until they find themselves caught in the trap of an emotionally abusive relationship or marriage themselves.

Having set the bar at physical abuse, which is where our society still keeps that bar to a large extent as well, women in these situations often feel that if they aren’t being hit, they aren’t being abused, and they therefore have no right to complain, let along initiate a divorce or breakup.

If you were raised in an environment of abuse, you may feel more comfortable living within a cycle of violence, which includes emotional forms of violence such as threats to your privacy and control of resources, than you realize.

And even if you do realize this and feel certain that you want to get divorced or leave the toxic relationship, abusers have plenty of tricks up their sleeves for making you believe that doing so impossible.

Signs You’re Being Quietly Abused (and Don’t Even Know It)

Check out YourTango for relationship advice

You can leave, and you should and you will, but before you do, you should know what to look out for so you can be as prepared to deal with it all as well as possible.

Here are 11 signs of emotional abuse in relationships and marriages, and how each may affect you in a divorce or breakup.

1. Withholding Affection.

Withholding affection from a partner is a way to punish the partner and to exercise power and control. This is done intentionally and is sometimes stated to the partner by saying something like, “No kisses until you can be nice again.”

Some partners withhold affection after a disagreement because they don’t feel connected or they don’t feel like offering loving gestures in the moment, but in such cases, the behavior happens only occasionally, rather than on a frequent basis.

2. Threats.

An abuser might threaten to expose you in a way you find embarrassing, or they may threaten to take something important away from you, such as money, your home, or even your own kids.

Some might threaten to leave you if they don’t get their way, or they may say they will tell your friends and/or family something personal about you, which is doubly damaging, as not only are they threatening you, but they are implicitly stating that there is something so wrong with you that you should feel ashamed.

3. Ultimatums.

Ultimatums are really a covert threat, with the abuser placing the blame for “having” to make you decide about something back on you.

The way they see it, the fact that they are giving you a choice through which you can rectify the situation (by doing what they want you to do) is a way in which they are actually being “generous” to you, and that, therefore, all blame for the situation and any possible consequences are entirely your fault.

4. Lack of Respect for Your Privacy.

This is often a subtle sign of emotional abuse. Your partner may check your private messages or voicemails, either by hacking into them or directly insisting you give them the passwords for all of email and social media accounts.

They might even go so far as to insist your share email and social media accounts, so they can analyze everything you do and say.

5. Property Damage.

This skirts the line between physical and emotional abuse. An abusive partner may break or “lose” something they know is meaningful to you as a way to punish you and remind me you of the power they hold over you.

8 Critical Things Loving an Emotional Abuser Teaches You

6. “Magic Tricks.”

Many emotionally abusive behaviors are “magic tricks”, meant to distract you from the reality of the ways in which you are being mistreated, i.e., “Look at this here (so you don’t notice what my other hand is doing there)!”

This might take the form of redirecting blame for their bad acts back to you, starting fights, and firing accusations at you immediately before or after being especially nice and loving, but the sole purpose of all these things is to distract from the abuse that they are subjecting you to repeatedly.

7. Playing the Blame Game.

Partners using power and control in a relationship often aren’t insightful enough to notice the profound effects of their own behavior, nor are likely to ever be willing to taking responsibility for any of it.

Instead, they prefer to blame you, saying things like, “If you just hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t have had to act that way in response.”

8. Alienation.

Abusive partners often want to control who you are allowed to have meaningful connections with, and how deep those connections should be allow to run. This means that, over time, you may feel as though you have lost some of your most supportive relationships with friends and family, because your partner didn’t approve.

9. Excessive Gift-Giving.

Some abusers give gifts following a fight as an indication of how much they care about you — or, as a threat reminding you of all their generosity you might lose as a consequence should you choose to leave.

In such cases, you may hear them say things like:

  • “Of course I love you. I bought you this ______.”
  • “I buy you so many nice things, even though you don’t appreciate anything I do.”
  • “Everyone else sees what you have and wishes their spouse was as giving as I am.”
  • “If you leave me, you will never have this ______.”

10. Controls of Resources.

Partners may control financial or other resources as a form of punishment or as a way of maintaining control in the relationship, causing you to believe you won’t be able to care for yourself (and your children, if you have them) if you try to leave.

The resources in question aren’t necessarily limited to money. An abuser might limit your access to your car, your cell phone, health insurance, and more.

11. “Micro-Cheating.”

Micro-cheating is considered by some to be ways in which your partner connects with others and hides it from you.

This can take the form of secret messages, code names in their phone’s contact list, going out and refusing to tell you where he’s headed, or giving attention to someone else while withholding attention from you.

You never really know someone until you have divorced them.

Often, we see an even worse side of our partner when we try to leave the relationship. Sometimes divorces and breakups are amicable, however, if you’ve experienced emotional abuse during your marriage or relationship, you can expect these tactics to continue long after you leave.

Leaving partners who are emotionally abusive requires more planning and more support than typical, and it often requires the advice of professionals as well.

If you detect these signs in your relationship, reach out for help from friends, family, a therapist, or a counseling network.

This guest article originally appeared on YourTango.com: 11 Signs Of Emotional Abuse In Relationships — And How Abusers Try Using Them Against You If You Leave.

If You’re Often Angry Or Irritable, You May Be Depressed

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Registered nurse Ebony Monroe of Houston recently went through a period of being quick to anger about every little thing. She didn’t realize then what it might mean for her health.

“If you had told me in the beginning that my irritability was related to depression, I would probably be livid,” Monroe says with a laugh. “I did not think irritability aligned with depression.”

She’s not alone. Many people — including physicians — associate depression with feelings of hopelessness, sadness and a lack of motivation or concentration, but not anger. Some researchers say that’s a problem, given that there appears to be a strong link between irritability and depression.

If you pick up what is often called the “bible of psychiatry,” the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, you’ll find that the list of core symptoms for major depression doesn’t include anger.

“It’s not included at all in the adult classification of depression,” says Dr. Maurizio Fava, a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and a professor at Harvard Medical School.

But he points out that irritability — a reduced control over one’s temper that results in angry outbursts — is listed as a core symptom of depression for children and adolescents. It has never made sense to him that it’s not included for adults. “Why would someone who happens to be irritable and angry when depressed as an adolescent suddenly stop being angry at age 18?” he asks.

Anger is an emotional and physical feeling that makes people want to warn, intimidate or attack a person who is perceived as threatening. Fava says a depressed adult with lots of anger is often assumed to have bipolar disorder or a personality disorder.

“We see in our clinics patients who are labeled as having other diagnoses because people think, ‘Well, you shouldn’t be so angry if you are depressed,’ ” says Fava. The diagnosis matters because it affects the kind of treatment people get.

Back when he was trained decades ago, Fava says, he was taught that in depression, anger is projected inward — that depressed people would be angry at themselves but not at others. That didn’t match what he was seeing in a lot of his patients with depression.

“I would say 1 in 3 patients would report to me that they would lose their temper, they would get angry, they would throw things or yell and scream or slam the door,” says Fava. Afterward, these people would be filled with remorse.

Fava thinks these “anger attacks” may be a phenomenon that is similar to panic attacks. His research found that this kind of anger subsided in the majority of patients treated with antidepressants.

Psychiatry has carefully studied how anxiety and depressed mood are experienced by patients, notes Fava, but anger has been relatively neglected. “I don’t think that we have really examined all the variables and all the levels of anger dysregulation that people experience,” he says.

That view is shared by Dr. Mark Zimmerman, a professor of psychiatry at Brown University. “The field has not sufficiently attended to problems with anger,” says Zimmerman.

“The most frequently used scales to evaluate whether or not medications work for treating depression don’t have any anger-specific items,” he notes.

Yet Zimmerman says clinicians frequently see increased anger in people who come to doctors seeking help. “Irritability is not that much less frequent than sadness and anxiety in patients who are presenting for psychiatric treatment,” he says.

Zimmerman and some colleagues recently surveyed thousands of patients who were making their first visit to the Rhode Island Hospital’s outpatient psychiatric practice. All were asked about the level of anger they had felt or expressed in the preceding week.

“Two-thirds of individuals reported notable irritability and anger,” he says, “and approximately half reported it at a moderate or severe level.”

Another large study by a different research group looked at more than 500 people who had been diagnosed with major depression. It found that more than half showed “overt irritability/anger,” and that this anger and irritability appeared to be associated with more severe, chronic depression.

Monroe, the nurse, was lucky enough to have a concerned friend who gently suggested that maybe she should talk to someone. “The way that she approached me decreased that wall of anger and anxiety,” says Monroe, “and that’s when I decided to seek the help.”

Monroe came to realize that traumatic events from her childhood had left her depressed and full of unresolved anger. With nowhere for that anger to go, she was lashing out at loved ones like her sister and husband. “So they caught the back end of my irritability when, in fact, they had nothing to do with the source of it,” she says.

After about a year of counseling, her life has improved a lot, Monroe says. She now works with a group called Families for Depression Awareness to help others recognize the signs of depression. Its list of symptoms that families should watch for includes “picking fights, being irritable, critical, or mean.”

Still, people with depression can have a hard time recognizing this in their own lives.

When I called up the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance to ask about anger, I reached its communications person, Kevin Einbinder. He initially thought to himself, “I’m sure somebody else certainly deals with anger, but I don’t have anger issues associated with depression.”

Then he started reflecting on his life with depression over the past three decades. “I thought of all the people in my life who have interacted with me — my family, the counselors, psychiatrists, even employers, significant others,” he says, “and I realized that anger was an underlying factor in all those relationships.”

For example, he used to use caustic, sarcastic humor to put people down. “This really drove people away,” says Einbinder. He also recalls sending angry emails late at night after lying awake and ruminating about things that had happened during the day. A counselor helped him see why this wasn’t such a good way to handle problems.

Overall, though, he and his caregivers never focused on anger.

In hindsight, he says, he really wishes they had.

“I think that would have provided a tremendous amount of context for what’s adding to my depression and in helping me, early on in my life, with more effective coping mechanisms,” Einbinder says.

With medication and therapy, he is doing much better now. Einbinder hopes that sharing his experiences will help people understand that if they’re dealing with depression and anger, “they’re not alone and there’s loads of resources out there.”

5 Tips to Help You Sleep Better at Night

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By

Sleep

Poor sleep can have negative effects on your physical, emotional, and mental health. When you don’t get enough sleep, you’re susceptible to weight gain, reduced brain function, and increased disease risk. On the other hand, getting enough sleep can boost cognitive function, help you feel more alert, and give you more energy throughout the day. If you want to get a good night’s sleep, here are five tips to promote better sleep.

1. Limit blue light exposure

While exposure to light during the day can have positive effects on your health, nighttime light exposure can trick your brain into thinking it’s still daytime, reducing melatonin production and delaying sleep. When exposed to blue light—the light that’s emitted from your smartphone and computer—your sleep can dramatically be affected. Either stop using screens at least two hours before bed or install a blue light blocker on your phone that can shield you from this type of light.

2. Regulate caffeine and alcohol intake

When consumed late in the day, caffeine can stimulate your nervous system and prevent you from naturally relaxing at night. Since caffeine can stay in your blood for six to eight hours, it’s probably not a good idea to sip on some coffee after mid-afternoon. If you’re really craving a cup of coffee, go for a decaffeinated option. Similar to caffeine, alcohol can increase symptoms of sleep apnea and snoring and disrupt sleep patterns. Because of this, try to avoid consuming alcohol before bed.

3. Get enough exercise during the day

Finding 20–30 minutes every day to work out has the potential to help you fall asleep faster. Working out helps the body produce endorphins, which act as natural painkillers and improve the ability to sleep at night. Even if you have a jam-packed schedule, go for a short walk after work or try out a yoga class with a friend.

4. Remove distractions from the bedroom

To create the most optimal sleep environment, address factors such as noise, temperature, and other external stimuli. External noise, like traffic or yelling, can cause poor sleep. Buy a white noise machine to cancel out these disruptive sounds. In addition to external noise, you’ll also want to regulate any indoor noise pollution. Repair appliances that create rattling sounds, opt for a sunrise clock instead of an alarm clock, and buy a sound-absorbing rug for your room. Regarding temperature, try to keep your room at 60–67 degrees—this is the optimal temperature for a good night’s sleep.

5. Follow a consistent sleep routine

Whether you like to curl up with a good book before dozing off or would rather take a warm bath and practice meditation, keep your bedtime routine consistent. Relaxation techniques before bed have shown to improve sleep quality and treat insomnia. Try a few different methods over the course of a week and find a routine that works best for you.

The Morning Routine That Can Completely Change Your Productivity Levels

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By Jack Canfield

In this video, Entrepreneur Network partner Jack Canfield talks about some of the small tweaks in your morning that can lead to more success.

A few habits successful people to each morning may sound familiar to you: meditation, exercise and something uplifting.

Another habit Canfield emphasizes is the tendecy of being an early riser. Canfield mentions that many successful business leaders wake up before the sun rises, mainly to get ahead of their days or begin diving into reading early. This habit feeds into Canfield’s personal habit of a morning power hour. Canfield explains that this slice of time has drastically improved his mental health, as well as empowered him to make better decisions.

Canfield ends with this: Small changes in your routine can have a big impact on your daily results.

Click the video to hear more about the optimal morning routine.