Lack of Support Makes Breakups Harder for Men

Relationships are never easy, but ending them can be quite devastating. Initially, the person that’s not expecting it often feels hurt the most. However, a summary of relationship studies published in Psychology Today explains why men may have a harder time bouncing back after a breakup.

The breakup scene

Most adults have been through their share of relationship breakups. Some breakups are easy, especially if the relationship just sort of fizzled and both people knew it was ending. Others are not so easy, and some people have a hard time moving past that moment when the relationship they thought was going to be the one to last came to a screeching halt.

The stereotypical response to a breakup
After a breakup, women cry on their friends’ shoulders and sooth their wounds with mountains of ice cream, while men head out with the boys to celebrate single life, drink more than their share of beers and overconfidently chat it up with every pretty girl they meet. At least that’s the stereotypical response most people think of when they hear about a breakup.

While some of this scenario may be loosely based on reality, behavior of this sort is short-lived. What’s surprising is that studies are showing that men may actually have a harder time moving on from a breakup in the longer term.

The reality for women

Whether or not the woman initiated the breakup, she may take it harder at first. Women do tend to have more of an emotional attachment to the relationship itself. Once it ends, they need to mourn the loss of the relationship by recounting all the things they’ll miss, while systematically countering those things with all of the things they won’t miss.

Fortunately, most women have a strong network of girlfriends they readily turn to in good times and bad. When a breakup happens, these friends are there and ready to listen, so the woman begins the grieving process almost immediately. This is actually what the shoulder crying, ice-cream eating episode is all about.

The reality for men

The situation for men is different. Even if they weren’t the ones to initiate the breakup, their guy friends will often encourage them to go out and celebrate their newfound freedom. While this temporary distraction may help them feel better initially, the effects aren’t likely to last. This means they’ve only delayed dealing with any lingering sadness over the loss of the relationship.

What makes this more difficult for men is that just as they’re starting to realize all the things they’ll miss about their relationship, their ex has already worked her way through the toughest part of the breakup and appears to be moving on with her life.

As most men don’t have a network of friends that get together to discuss their feelings and express their emotions – something else they’ll miss doing with their girlfriend – they’re left to work through the grieving process on their own.

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What’s the secret to happiness?

It’s no secret. Being truly happy comes from within, and it has everything to do with how you approach life. Anyone who relies on other people or material possessions to make themselves happy is probably chasing something they’ll never find.

Happiness is a choice

Your outlook on life plays a huge role in your happiness. No matter what situation you find yourself in, there’s always a good side and a bad side. People with a positive attitude always see the good side first, and people who are generally negative are the first to point out everything that’s bad.

We all encounter obstacles that can be difficult to navigate. Maybe you didn’t get the new job you wanted and you just found out your best friend is moving to another state. Instead of dwelling in disappointment, try a different perspective. Maybe you didn’t get that job because there’s a better one out there, and maybe it’s somewhere near your friend’s new home.

Be grateful

Happy people are grateful for what they have. This doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy nice things or that they don’t aspire to do more in life. It means they choose to appreciate all of the little things that so many people overlook.

Whether it’s a warm sunny day in the middle of February, getting a phone call from a friend or just finding an earring that had been missing, let these little things make you smile. When you practice this type of gratitude, it leaves little room for coveting things you don’t have.

Foster healthy relationships

Our social networks are a big part of our happiness. Enjoying leisurely activities and talking and laughing with people you care about are important. In addition, close friends and family are always willing to go the extra mile for one another, and having this mutual support system makes us feel good.

Ban negative thinking

Nothing good can come from negative thinking. In fact, negative thinking will prevent you from seeing the positive side of things, and it will prevent you from taking any steps to initiate change.

If you tend to say things like “I can’t” or “it will never work,” you’ve already decided what the outcome will be, so there really would be no sense in doing anything differently. Your negative thinking made your negative thoughts a reality, just like that.

Eat healthy and get active

How you take care of yourself also plays a big role in your happiness. It’s hard to feel good about anything if you’re tired and run down. Eating a well-balanced diet that’s full of fresh, organic whole foods can really boost your spirits. If you add in 30 minutes of daily exercise, both your mind and your body will feel energized, and your outlook on life just might get a little happier.

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Make Your Home More Peaceful

Our jobs, children, families and various other responsibilities keep us running from one activity to the next. Our homes should be where we go at the end of a long day to rest, unwind and reconnect with family. All too often it’s just another source of stress.

Your kids get home from school, backpacks hit the floor, sports gear winds up on the couch and the kitchen counter is layered in school books, laptops and papers for you to sign. You and your spouse arrive home at the same time, and you know you need to start dinner, but he’s complaining about his boss again and you’re greeted by the chaos that’s already unfolding in the kitchen.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to restore peace in your home.

Cluttered home, cluttered head

When your home is cluttered and disorganized, there’s no peace for anyone. Important papers, car keys and that one left shoe will all get lost at the worst possible times. In order to clear your mind, you’ll need to start clearing out the clutter. It’s actually not as hard as it sounds, and you could make a significant difference in just one weekend.

The first thing you’ll need to do is rid common areas of personal belongings and anything else that doesn’t get used in the space. That means your old sweater, your son’s soccer cleats and someone’s favorite stuffed dinosaur all get returned to bedrooms or the closet where they belong, and that pile of old magazines gets taken to the garage for recycling.

The next thing is to establish designated spaces for all of the activities that happen in the space. This could mean hooks by the front door for backpacks and jackets, a storage bench for soccer cleats and other sports equipment, and shallow bins for important papers and incoming mail.

Of course, it will take some time to establish new routines, and you’ll need everyone to embrace the idea before it will work. However, you’ll be amazed at how much calmer your home and your head feel once the chaos and the clutter are under better control.

Keep it positive

While getting a grip on the clutter will make everyone a little happier, it’s important to nurture that happiness on a daily basis. It’s far too easy to come home from a hectic or unproductive day and immediately start venting to the first person you see.

This type of behavior creates negative energy and it’s contagious. If you and your spouse do this, your kids will follow your ways. No one wants to hear such negativity all the time, and if you’re not careful, you’ll start tuning each other out.

Instead, practice focusing on the positive aspects of your day and encourage your kids to do the same. Take turns sharing something good that happened or something you’re grateful for. Positive thinking is one of the keys to overall happiness, and it’s a super easy way to bring peace to your home.

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Nutrient Deficiencies and the Modern Diet

Every day we hear new information about what we should or shouldn’t be eating. Despite the growing trend of adopting a healthy lifestyle, it’s unlikely that many consumers are getting it all right. While any improvements you make for your overall health are better than the alternative, you may be shorting yourself of important nutrients.

What is optimum nutrition?

Although everyone’s needs are different, it’s important to strive for optimum nutrition with the food choices we make. This means getting the proper intake of nutrients for your body’s needs. This is not always easily determined, as one person’s protein, vitamin and mineral requirements may be quite different from the next.

Why is a balanced diet so important?

Proper nutrition is needed to make our bodies work effectively. Not eating a balanced diet puts you at risk for disease and other ailments. The situation may be more critical for children, as poor nutrition could impede growth and lead to other developmental problems.

Obesity and diabetes are just two examples of conditions that can be caused by nutrient deficiencies. The fact that they are both on the rise serves to show that the general population’s diet isn’t so balanced.

Signs of deficiency

You may think it’s impossible to know if you’re lacking certain nutrients, but there are a few telling symptoms that are often dismissed as something else. For example, muscle cramps, fatigue and an abnormal heart rhythm could be signs of very low calcium levels. Muscle aches, weakness and weight loss can be signs of deficiency for several key nutrients.

Commonly lacking nutrients

While nutrient deficiencies will differ from person to person, there are a few key nutrients that are commonly lacking in many individuals.

Vitamins A, D and E

Healthy bones, teeth and skin are all supported by vitamin A. Similarly to vitamin D, vitamin A is vital to the immune system. Both vitamins work in unison, meaning that if you are deficient of one, you cannot get the full benefits of the other. Good cholesterol and overall brain health are supported by vitamin E. As a powerful antioxidant, it can help slow processes that lead to damaged cells.

Omega-3 Fats

The importance of anti-inflammatory properties found in omega-3 fats is quite clear, as deficiency can be associated with many health problems that can increase the risk of death. This includes depression, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and cardiovascular disease among others.


Lack of magnesium leads to deteriorating metabolic function, which can lead to many other health problems. It is largely responsible for detoxification and is needed to minimize any damage that could occur due to exposure to chemicals, metals and other toxins. It can also help prevent migraines, cardiovascular disease and sudden cardiac death.

What can be done?

With the proper diet, your body can get all the nutrients it needs. However, this would require a diet that is largely based on the consumptions of healthy fats, organic produce, grass-fed meats and pastured poultry as well as other whole foods.

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Care for Your Brain to Preserve Your Memory

No one likes to be forgetful. While it’s normal to forget a name or two sometimes, or to misplace something right when you need it most, if your memory seems to be getting shorter and shorter, it may be time to rethink how you’re caring for your brain.

Feed it

Proper nutrition is important for overall health, but certain foods have been shown to reduce the effects of aging on the brain and may even improve memory. According to research published on WebMD, blueberries, avocados, wild salmon, and various nuts and seeds are some of the foods known to boost brain function.

Blueberries can help protect the brain from oxidative stress and may help guard against Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and other conditions associated with age. Avocados are also great for brain health as the monounsaturated fats improve blood flow and lower high blood pressure, which could otherwise have a negative effect on cognitive abilities. Wild salmon, nuts and seeds all contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are key to good brain function.

Exercise it

A good round of cardio will get your blood flowing, which will speed delivery of vital hormones and chemicals right to your brain. The extra boost from regular exercise has been shown to increase the size of the hippocampus, which controls learning and memory.

Teach it

As adults, our brains have developed millions of neural pathways, which are key to processing and recalling information. However, these paths will eventually stop growing unless they are continuously stimulated. The best way to do this is to take up a new hobby or activity that requires learning something new.

Energize it

There’s no question that music stimulates the brain. While researchers are still trying to understand exactly how our brains process music, studies have consistently shown that listening to music can lower blood pressure, reduce pain and ease anxieties, and it also has the ability to boost mood, mental alertness and even memory.

Entertain it

Scientists are starting to understand the impacts that regular social interaction can have on our brains. Close relationships and large social networks may be the key to maintaining mental health and reducing the risk of brain-related diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. However, the quality of such social interaction is important, as positive interaction that includes laughter and stimulating conversation seem to have the most beneficial impact on memory and cognitive function.

Give it a rest

Studies have shown that certain brain events responsible for fusing memory take place during deep sleep. Unfortunately, sleep deprivation has become a public health epidemic.

Even just one night of poor sleep can affect our ability to focus and maintain clarity, but regular loss of sleep will do more than make you feel a little foggy, as it can lead to loss of long-term memories. If you are not getting at least the recommended seven to eight hours every night, you could be putting yourself at risk for brain-related health issues as you age.

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Seeds and Nuts for a Healthy Snack

As the world continues to struggle with the growing obesity epidemic, the idea of snacking between meals has gotten a bad reputation. However, not all snacks are created equal. Choosing a sensible portion of a nutrient-rich snack food, such as seeds and nuts, may even have important health benefits.

The bad side of snacking

For many people, the idea of snacking equates to countless hours spent sitting on the couch and watching TV, while mindlessly working your way to the bottom of a greasy potato chip bag. Unfortunately, this type of snacking occurs far too often and does contribute to obesity levels.

Snacking can be good

While mindless eating is never a good idea, having a healthy and sensibly portioned snack once or twice a day can be beneficial to good health. Even the American Heart Association states that choosing nutrient-rich snacks, such as cherry or grape tomatoes, carrots, broccoli spears, and various unsalted seeds and nuts, can be part of a healthy diet.

Why seeds and nuts are a good choice

Seeds and nuts can be great options for a healthy snack. In addition to being packed with vitamins and minerals, they’re also loaded with heart-healthy fats. What makes them even more ideal as a snack food is they’re easily portable and require zero preparation, which is key to avoiding unhealthy choices when hunger sets in.

Top seeds for snacking

Sticking with raw, organic versions of your favorite seeds is recommended by most nutritionists, as irradiating and roasting can reduce some nutrients. While smaller varieties like flaxseed, hemp and chia seeds have good nutritional value, the larger varieties, such as pumpkin and sunflower seeds, make the best choice for a low calorie, healthy snack.

Top nuts for snacking

Just like seeds, nutritionists often point out that raw, organic nuts have higher nutrient levels than their roasted or irradiated counterparts. The many vitamins, minerals and healthy fats found in pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, Brazil nuts, almonds and walnuts make these varieties some of the most popular nuts for snacking, but each may have its own list of benefits.

For example, walnuts are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and they’ve been shown to reduce inflammation. Almonds seem to pack the biggest nutritional punch, as in addition to many vitamins and minerals they have the highest levels of protein and fewer calories compared to some other varieties.

What to watch out for

Seeds and nuts may be great healthy alternative to overly salty and sugary snacks, such as potato chips and cookies, but it’s important to remember that they’re not calorie-free. In fact, some are quite high in calories and need to be consumed in smaller quantities. As you should do with all food choices you make, when you choose seeds or nuts for a snack, just be aware of the fat, calorie content and recommended serving size.

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Why We Can’t Give Up Sugar

Study after study recommends eating more organic whole foods and less processed foods. Consumers are responding by demanding better nutrition labeling and badgering food manufacturers to rid their products of genetically modified ingredients and harmful chemicals. However, even with consumers’ growing knowledge of healthful eating habits and the greater availability of nutritious food choices, we just can’t stop eating so much sugar.

How much is too much?

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that only 10% of total energy intake comes from sugars. However, they also suggest that 5%, or about 25 grams, would be an even better number to target. As a point of reference, just one can of regular soda can contain up to 40 grams.

Why is it bad?

Sugar consumption is a known contributing factor to growing levels of obesity and other chronic diseases, as well as dental decay. What’s worse is the fact that sugar is highly addictive. Studies have shown that sugar releases large levels of dopamine, which triggers the reward system. The addictive qualities are one of the biggest reasons we keep eating it even though we know it’s bad for us.

It’s big business

Unfortunately, all of the studies outlining the health hazards of sugar and the recommendations for reduced consumption aren’t having a big enough impact on consumers. This is mainly because large food manufacturers know what sells, and they know how to sell it. Holidays are a good example of this, as on just about any given holiday you’ll find that even the smallest grocery stores have some sort of holiday-themed candy or baked goods for sale, and people happily snap them up because they want to be part of the celebration.

It makes us nostalgic

Another reason many people find sugar so irresistible is the association with happy memories. This is especially true if you grew up in a household that only allowed sugary snacks on special occasion, as you’ll almost certainly associate anything sweet with being a treat or a reward. For example, at first mention of a birthday party, it’s almost impossible not to envision a beautifully frosted cake and maybe some ice cream.

Saying no to sugar

It sounds easy enough. Sugar is bad for your health, so just don’t eat it. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Not only is it hidden under various names in processed foods, but it also occurs naturally in foods such as fruit juices, fruit juice concentrates, honey and syrup. Avoiding most processed foods is a good place to start though, as they usually have high amounts of added sugar and often contain other chemical ingredients that could be questionable.

Curb the cravings

Working out on a regular basis can also play a large role in cutting back sugar consumption, as it seems to have a positive effect on eliminating cravings. It’s also a great way to burn some of the excess fuel generated by sugar consumption.

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Hamstring Issues May Run Deeper than Basic Stretching

Flexibility and range of motion are key to athletic performance. While many athletes turn to static stretching in an attempt to loosen up tightness, the issue may actually be a little deeper.

Muscles do get sore and tendons do get tight, but the tissues that surround these areas need attention too. This tissue is known as the fascia, and it can be overloaded with knots and scar tissue that build up over time and decrease our flexibility and range of motion.

What’s the cause?

Any number of issues can cause scar tissue and painful trigger points. Whether they are due to a specific injury that occurred in the past or just everyday wear and tear on the body, if left untreated, this buildup can cause pain throughout the body, reducing athletic performance or even limiting our ability to perform simple tasks.

What to do?

To release tension and restore range of motion, many athletes are turning to a form of deep tissue massage known as myofascial release. This type of massage is often done by a professional, but there are also a few good DIY methods.

Because pain can sometimes be felt in areas other than where the actual problem is, it can be difficult to locate some trigger points. Before attempting to go it alone, it’s best to consult with a physician or professional trainer to make sure you’re treating the correct area and to rule out any more serious type of injury.

Get to the point

Once you’ve gotten the go-ahead from your doctor, you’ll need to decide what method and tool you want to use. For example, myofascial release for tight hamstrings can be performed with a rubber ball, foam roller or even a barbell. In all three examples, you’ll use your body weight to work the tool into the scar tissue and knots and release the trigger points.

Rubber ball

Sitting on a wooden bench or hard chair, place the ball under your hamstring. Raise and lower your foot off of the ground by bending at the knee, while compressing the ball between the bench and the back of your thigh. You can also roll the ball from side to side by pivoting your leg from left to right while it’s parallel to the ground.

Foam roller

Kneeling on the floor, extend one leg straight out to the front and bend the other so it’s behind you. The foam roller should be under your hamstring on the extended leg, and it should fit snuggly between your thigh and the floor. Roll slightly forward and backward, flexing and straightening your foot.


To work a more targeted area of the hamstring, you could use the technique above with a barbell instead of a foam roller. You could also perform this exercise from a standing position by straddling a barbell that is seated in a rack at about hip height. Starting with your forward leg, simply press your hamstring into the bar and glide forward and backward to work the entire length of the hamstring.

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Strength Training with Gymnastic Exercises

There’s no denying the sheer strength of a competitive gymnast. While they may not rely on fancy equipment or technology to achieve their fitness goals, there are no shortcuts. Serious gymnasts spend countless hours training and perfecting their form.

Benefits of adding gymnastics to your workout

Of course, increased strength and flexibility are the obvious benefits of adding gymnastics to your workout routine. However, learning proper form and technique takes time and patients, which is something most people have little of these days. Those who are willing to commit will also strengthen their minds, learning to appreciate small, hard-earned gains.

How gymnasts build strength

Strength training with gymnastics focuses on using your body weight as the source of resistance. The tension and contraction of muscles that occurs is what builds muscles and overall strength. Many of the exercises involve muscles throughout the entire body, which means you’re not focusing on one particular body part over another.

How to train like a gymnast

When competitive gymnasts train using their own body weight, they often have to increase the difficulty of the exercise they perform, as they can’t just add more weight like you would to a piece of equipment at the gym.

There are a few basic moves that all new gymnasts must learn, and that’s a good place to start when you’re adding gymnastics to your strength training routine.

Forward roll

A forward roll might not sound like it will do much for your strength training. However, being able to do a forward roll is key to many other gymnastics moves, making this an imports skill to master early on.

Starting position: Squat on a soft surface, such as thick carpeting or an exercise mat. You should be leaning forward with your hands on the ground in front of you.

Next: Tuck your chin toward your chest and place the top of your head between your hands. Your heels should be off of the ground, making it easier for you to push forward and roll your hips over your head.

Final position: Once you feel your feet passing over your head, push downward with your hands for an extra boost to get you back to a standing position.


The L-seat is another important exercise for gymnasts, as it’s a base component of many gymnastic routines, especially the rings and the bars.

Starting position: Sit on the floor between a pair of flat-sided dumbbells with your hands on the bars. With your hands gripping the dumbbells, straighten your arms as you pull your shoulders down toward the ground.

Next: While bending your knees toward your chest, raise your legs as well as your glutes up off the ground.

Final position: Slowly lower yourself down to the starting position.

Hollow Body Hold

The hollow body hold is key to gymnastics form, as it teaches you how to tense and support your body using you abdominal muscles.

Starting position: Lying on your back, with legs extended and feet together.

Next: Keep your legs straight and point your toes outward while extending your arms over your head. Your elbows should be straight and you should be facing the ceiling.

Final position: Using your core, lift both your arms and your legs off of the ground. You should be squeezing your abdominal muscles and pressing your lower back into the floor. If you’re doing it correctly, your body will take on a crescent shape.

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Design Basics for Today’s Lifestyles

Today’s families have busy schedules and most days are long and hectic. There’s no denying that time is tight and, as the cost of raising a family continues to climb, money is often tighter. When it comes to interior design and décor, these trends are driving a whole new approach, with a focus on function, feeling and fun.

You want to update your space, but you need to make sure it’s practical and functional for your needs. You also need to make sure you’re happy with how it makes you feel after a long busy day. Most of all, it needs to be fun and inviting so that everyone will want to spend time there.

Make it functional

Gone are the days of the picture-perfect formal living room that’s only used on holidays and other special occasions. Today’s families are more practical, and decorating a room that isn’t used would never make it into most budgets. Whether it’s a family room that’s also a home office, a kitchen with a homework space or a bedroom shared by two or more children, most spaces need to serve multiple functions.

Before you redo any family space in your home, sit down and make a list of everything you’ll do in the new space. You may not be able to completely accommodate everyone’s needs, but you’ll have a better idea of where to start, and it will keep you from being disappointed with the outcome.

It should feel good to be home

It’s not easy to relax after a busy day when your house feels cluttered and chaotic. One you decide how the room will be used, be sure to incorporate appropriate storage and work spaces so that everything has its place at the end of
the day.

You should also plan for soft, comfortable furniture so you have a place to sit and enjoy the feeling of your new, neat and tidy space.

Invite the fun

Every family is unique, so when you’re planning a space for the whole family to use, be sure to incorporate fun and expressive elements that really express who you are as a family and individually.

If your family loves spending time at the beach, you could use light, airy colors and cottage-style design elements to recreate a beachy feel. If sports are what brings your family together, a set of metal gym lockers would make a great place to store backpacks, briefcases or sports equipment. You could also preserve your memories by covering an old coffee table with ticket stubs and photos from games you’ve attended.

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