Health • Fashion • Travel



  • This Mercury retrograde in Pisces is here to target communication *and* your emotions
    February 16, 2020 at 10:00PM by CWC The week ahead promises change with Mercury stationing retrograde at 7:53 p.m., EST, on Sunday, February 16, and the sun moving into Pisces on Tuesday, the 18th. The energy of the these events invites us to reconcile pain from the past because the Mercury retrograde slows things down, … Read more
  • How to get full-body workout using the cable extension machine at your gym
    February 16, 2020 at 08:00PM by CWC You’re in the gym. It’s 6:30 p.m. on a Tuesday. Nearly every machine is taken. But wait—there’s something off in the distance. Is that… an open cable machine? You dash over, set down your water bottle, and claim your space. So now what? You can do a full-body … Read more
  • I haven’t taken off these sustainably made $25 leggings since I bought them
    February 16, 2020 at 06:00PM by CWC Truth time: Leggings are probably my favorite article of clothing, which is funny because I used to be such a snob about how “leggings aren’t pants.” Guess what, 2012 Allie: Leggings are pants, and you will soon be wearing them seven days a week. While I may well … Read more
  • This chef-approved grocery store hack will make weeknight cooking so. much. easier.
    February 16, 2020 at 04:00PM by CWC
    Cooking on weeknights isn’t always convenient. After a long day at work, it’s not always easy (or fun) to have to rush home, quickly prep your ingredients, cook the meal, and actually enjoy it in a reasonable amount of time. The so-called “joy of cooking” feels … Read more
  • I’m a Sephora beauty director, and I just can’t hide how great these 4 concealers are
    February 16, 2020 at 02:00PM by CWC In the best of skin times and the worst of skin times, I have always, always swiped on a concealer. The beauty product is one of those that stands the tests of acne, aging, sleepless nights, and every reality in between. And when I talked to Sephora beauty … Read more
  • Derms explain what to look for in a shampoo for psoriasis
    February 16, 2020 at 12:00PM by CWC There’s nothing fun about having a flaky, itchy scalp. Some experience small flurries of flakes when their scalp is dry, while others have dandruff, which is caused by yeast on your scalp. There are varying severities of dandruff, but when your scalp is super red and scaly, it … Read more
  • What being on the cusp of Aquarius and Pisces means for your personality
    February 15, 2020 at 08:00PM by CWC Each month with On the Cusp, we point our astrological magnifying glass on all the people born between two zodiac signs. Because when your birthday falls at either the tail end or the very beginning of your sun sign’s season, your personality may be influenced by your cosmic neighbor. Stefanie … Read more
  • 10 delicious, plant-based Mexican recipes that go way beyond rice and beans
    February 15, 2020 at 06:00PM by CWC Here in the States, beef, chicken, pork, and cheese are often staples of Mexican foods eaten at home and at restaurants. Think: tacos al pastor, chicken tinga, carnitas…yum. However, none of those foods really work anymore for people trying to shift to a more plant-based diet. But the … Read more
  • Flip your crunches upside down to work your core in an entirely new way
    February 15, 2020 at 05:00PM by CWC If you’ve spent most of your adult life lamenting that high school math would never have any real life applications (see you literally never, calculus), we’ve finally found a place to put all that info you learned about angles in geometry to good use: Your core routine. By tweaking the … Read more
  • This is exactly happens when you wash your hair too often
    February 15, 2020 at 04:00PM by CWC There are those who can’t let a day go by without washing their hair, and those who get by with only washing once a week… or longer. If you’re one of those daily washers, you probably already know it’s not the best move for your hair. But what … Read more



Reuters’s research experts conducted a survey in 19 super-major cities in the world, concerning protecting women from sexual and cultural abuse, women & health care, women & economy, and women & education.

According to the survey, women living in Cairo, the capital of Egypt, have the worst situation, followed by Karachi, the capital of Pakistan, Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and New Delhi, the capital of India. The best cities for women’s living environment are London, then Tokyo and Paris.

Every aspect of City Women®’s daily post tells them how to care for and care for themselves.


Many people will compare City Women’s fashion with the general fashion trends, but this should not be the case. The range of fashion trends is very limited, and city women’s fashion pursues an “art of life.” Its realm should be to extract the essence from the fashion trend, to refine the true meaning of city women’s fashion, to enrich women’s aesthetics and taste, and to create their own beautiful temperament. City Women’s fashion pursuit is not a passive follow-up, but a rational and skilled control. City Women’s fashion is an all-encompassing concept. Its tentacles penetrate into every aspect of city women’s life. Generally speaking, city women’s fashion should bring them a pleasant mood and elegance, pureness, taste and extraordinary feelings, giving women different temperament and charm, reflect the extraordinary taste of women, exquisite, and reveal personality. Every woman has her own fashion, and city women fashion is a cyclical change.


At a time when work and life are getting faster and faster, what health problems are plaguing our busy city women? What are the similarities and concerns of people living in different cities at different ages?

The over-expenditure of physical strength and mental strength is threatening the health of city women. the survey suggests 73.2% of the respondents were in poor health or worried, and the proportion of women with poor health was 10% higher than that of men. This situation is related to (some) women’s own weak body condition and most women are often involved in housework in addition to work. The survey also showed that sub-health has been growing a clear trend of youthfulness, and the health status of young people was far worse than that of middle-aged people. Young City Women need more planned fitness routine and health tips.

  • This Mercury retrograde in Pisces is here to target communication *and* your emotions

    February 16, 2020 at 10:00PM by CWC

    The week ahead promises change with Mercury stationing retrograde at 7:53 p.m., EST, on Sunday, February 16, and the sun moving into Pisces on Tuesday, the 18th. The energy of the these events invites us to reconcile pain from the past because the Mercury retrograde slows things down, and the sun in Pisces connects us to our most profound sense of empathy. The combination of these cosmic events may lead to more-sensitive-than-usual feelings, thus opening up the opportunity to forgive past grievances and envision where we wish to dedicate our intentions moving forward. Simultaneously, we can also see the truth from a crystal-clear vantage point.

    To tune into what might surface for you during this Mercury retrograde in Pisces, which lasts through March 9, consider what’s emerged in your life since Mercury reached 28 degrees of Aquarius, the degree where Mercury will station direct next month. Mercury traveled at this degree of Aquarius on February 1, and as the planet of communication seemingly retraces these degrees (he doesn’t move backward, it’s just an optical illusion), we are asked to revisit the past before forging ahead. So, what dynamics with others have emerged since then? To get clarity about those dynamics, ask yourself the following questions: How have I been evading truth? Where have I been going along to get along? What truth do I need to honor and accept at this moment?

    To tune into what might surface for you during this Mercury retrograde in Pisces, consider what’s emerged in your life since Mercury reached 28 degrees of Aquarius on February 1, the degree where Mercury will station direct.

    After introspecting about your past communication, be mindful of your actions right now because Mercury retrograde periods are famously associated with crossed communication wires. Double-check your emails and texts before pressing send, be intentional with anything you share on social media, and think twice before venting. Really consider what you stand to gain from acting on the impulse to overshare. You might even think to update your online presence, scrubbing old social posts that no longer represent you and unfollowing those who no longer serve you.

    When it comes to business, revisit and complete older projects. If new opportunities present that are connected to efforts of the past, trust that they are worthy of your time, but if new business and opportunities arise out of nowhere, think twice before idealizing them. Because Mercury rules contracts and in his retrograde position he’s not at his most reliable, avoid signing anything for the next couple of weeks. If that’s not possible, trust the timing.

    To soften the situation, and even bring a touch of magic to the week, Jupiter in Capricorn harmoniously sextiles Neptune in Pisces on Thursday. With Jupiter, the planet of good luck and hope, connecting positively with Pisces’ ruling planet, Neptune, we receive a heady dose of cosmic healing. Jupiter is in cardinal Earth, and Neptune is in mutable water, and together, these two elements create mud. Mud has many healing properties, as when Earth and water combine, they make fertile soil that makes growing food possible and and also provides nourishment for your skin. So, this week especially, tap into the power of clay face masks, and possibly even explore taking a mud bath.

    Come Friday the 21st, Mars in Capricorn trines Uranus in Taurus. This Earth trine helps to root desires for growth, as we provide a real jolt of creativity. Given that the moon will be moving through its balsamic phase at this time—the days leading up to the next new moon—it’s time to meditate and get ready for the new moon in Pisces. This new moon happens on Sunday, February 23rd, at 10:31 a.m. at 4 degrees of Pisces, the last sign of the zodiac, which brings things to completion. This new moon nods to Mercury in retrograde, signifying a time to go back over where you’ve been and digest past lessons so you can best sculpt your future reality.

    Jennifer Racioppi is the creator of Lunar Logic—a philosophy that integrates the deep wisdom of both science and spirituality, and blends her expertise in astrology, positive psychology, and women’s health—to coach high-achieving female entrepreneurs to reach their next level of success. 

    Author Jennifer racioppi | Well and Good
    Selected by CWC

  • How to get full-body workout using the cable extension machine at your gym

    February 16, 2020 at 08:00PM by CWC

    You’re in the gym. It’s 6:30 p.m. on a Tuesday. Nearly every machine is taken. But wait—there’s something off in the distance. Is that… an open cable machine? You dash over, set down your water bottle, and claim your space. So now what? You can do a full-body workout using a cable machine. It’s true!

    “The cable machine is one of the most versatile and quality pieces of exercise equipment around,” says Justin Roethlingshoefer, CSCS, personal trainer, author, and NHL performance coach. “Many people are not aware of how simple adjustments can create an amazing full-body workout without leaving the 5-foot square space.” He says because the leverage point of the pulleys can be changed, you can work the body through all three planes of motion (frontal, lateral, and transverse) and hit your muscles at different angles.

    To start, how does a cable machine work? Watch the video below, and then keep reading for Roethlingshoefer’s full-body workout using the cable machine.

    5 moves for a full-body workout using the cable machine

    Complete three sets of the following moves.

    bicep curl

    Attachment: rope

    Place the pulley at the lowest level. Grab the rope in each hand, with your thumbs pointed to the roof. With straight arms, take two steps back to create tension between the weight stack and the cable. Bend your knees and sit your butt back a bit (like your doing a quarter of a squat) with  your feet shoulder width apart. Keeping your elbows by your side, bring your fists to your shoulders squeezing through the biceps. Roethlingshoefer says you’ll want to stabilize through your lats, and core to prevent upper body movement. Repeat for 10 to 15 reps.

    split stance cable overhead triceps extension

    Attachment: rope 

    Position the pulley at the top of the cable machine. Grab the rope in each hand, and face away from the cable machine. Bring your arms overhead, and bend you arms, only at your elbows, down to 90 degrees. Extend your arms straight overhead, and then bend back to 90 degrees. Repeat 12 to 15 reps for three sets.

    cable “T” series

    Attachment: individual handles

    Place the pulleys at the bottom level, and grab one handle with each hand. Begin in a quarter squat position facing the cable machine. With your arms straight (with slight bend in the elbow), bring your arms straight overhead and return to the bottom. Then, bring your arms to the side in a T position and return. Repeat 5 to 6 times in each position.

    cable step up

    Attachment: individual handles

    Using the individual handles with the pulleys at the lowest level, face away from the machine with one handle in each hand. With a bench in front of you, hold the cables firmly at your side and place your left foot on the bench. Step up, and bring your right foot on to the bench and you are in an upright position. Step back down, leading with the left foot. Repeat eight times on each leg.

    cable pull through

    Attachment: rope 

    Put the pulley at the lowest level, and grab the rope in each hand with thumbs pointed to the roof, facing away from the machine. Straddle the attachment, so the ropes are between your legs. Take two steps forward, to create tension, and bend over with a flat back. Inhale and tighten your core. As you feel a stretch in the hamstring, squeeze through the glutes to an upright position. Keeping your elbows by your side, and arms straight push your hips back to the starting position. Repeat for 10 to 15 reps.

    Bookmark this HIIT routine for your next full-body workout:

    According to a corrective exercise specialist, eccentric exercise is the fastest way to get stronger and more flexible. And these are the top mistakes people make while doing a tricep pushup—and how to do it right.

    Author Kara Jillian Brown | Well and Good
    Selected by CWC

  • I haven’t taken off these sustainably made $25 leggings since I bought them

    February 16, 2020 at 06:00PM by CWC

    Truth time: Leggings are probably my favorite article of clothing, which is funny because I used to be such a snob about how “leggings aren’t pants.” Guess what, 2012 Allie: Leggings are pants, and you will soon be wearing them seven days a week. While I may well have a dresser packed with options, these days one pair, in particular, are on my bod 24/7: the H&M Conscious Sport Wrapover Waist Sports Legging, $25.

    The leggings are part of H&M’s just-launched spring activewear collection that contains dancewear-inspired pieces like leg warmers, bodysuits, and sweats that make me feel like I should be starring in an early aughts dance movie alongside Channing Tatum. Most of the products in the collection are sustainably made with materials like recycled polyester and polyamide, and BCI-grade (Better Cotton Initiative) cotton. This is part of H&M’s ongoing sustainability effort, as the brand plans to use only recycled or sustainably-sourced materials by 2030.

    Photo: H&M

    Made with a high rise and a thick waistband, these leggings—which come in light, khaki green and black—don’t roll down when you work out in them, and they don’t get baggy or slide around while you’re moving. I can absolutely see myself wearing the light green leggings (with the matching sports bra, ofc) while explaining to someone that they need to back up their computers and phones, and not engage in any difficult conversations while Mercury is in retrograde. Or when I want to emulate my new yoga muse, Heather Lilleston of Yoga for Bad People, which is pretty much every day.

    I was a little skeptical of how the crossover detail would look, but I actually loved it. It shows just a teeny sliver of navel—like just enough to let people know I wasn’t Kyle XY (I didn’t realize this was a quality I would appreciate in a legging, but here we are). If I haven’t convinced you to try the wrapover waist, I also like the H&M Conscious Sport Tights Shaping Waist, $34.99. These ones are also high waisted, and they keep their shape after multiple washes. I’m a sucker for black leggings with a little something-something, and the wavy mesh panels on this pair certainly deliver.

    TLDR; H&M’s sportswear is high-quality, inexpensive, and well-designed. My credit card is sad that I’ve now found another place from which to purchase copious amounts of leggings. Here we are, 2012 Allie.

    One Well+Good editor tried CBD-laced leggings—here are her honest thoughts. And we finally settled the age-old question: do you have to wear underwear under your leggings? 

    Author Allie Flinn | Well and Good
    Selected by CWC

  • This chef-approved grocery store hack will make weeknight cooking so. much. easier.

    February 16, 2020 at 04:00PM by CWC

    Cooking on weeknights isn’t always convenient. After a long day at work, it’s not always easy (or fun) to have to rush home, quickly prep your ingredients, cook the meal, and actually enjoy it in a reasonable amount of time. The so-called “joy of cooking” feels a little far-fetched when there are just so. many. steps.

    You’re not the only one who falls into this trap—even professional chefs deal with this feeling. On the premiere episode of Well+Good’s new show, Cook With Us, celebrity chef Dale Talde revealed that after a long day of cooking at his restaurant Goosefeather at the Tarrytown House Estate, he relies on shortcuts like pre-cut vegetables, frozen vegetables, and other tricks to get delicious food on the table fast.

    “As much integrity as I have in my cooking at home, any minute you can save to get food on a plate to either you or your family, it’s like so valuable,” Talde says.

    His go-to hack that blew the mind of Cook With Us judge Jessie Van Amburg: raiding your favorite supermarket salad bar (oh hey, Whole Foods!) for pre-cut vegetables and other ready-to-go ingredients when time is of the essence. “It’s using really nice salad bars as your mise en place,” he says. “They did all the work for you.”

    For example, if you hate cutting onions, or don’t feel like buying a whole thing of bean sprouts? Hit up the salad bar and fill up a carton with the portions that you need. Instead of spending the 15 extra minutes slicing and dicing, take advantage of the pre-cut vegetables your local grocery store might have readily availableyour weeknights definitely will thank you. (The only downside to this technique is that it’s a bit pricier, but if you have it in your budget, it’s a good way to save time.)

    This shortcut was crucial for Talde, who was challenged in the episode to create a healthy, vegetarian fried rice in just 30 minutes. Using a cauli-broccoli rice blend, Talde goes on to make a scrumptious meal that’s packed with veggiesmost of which can be found at just about any salad bar. He used radishes, bean sprouts, Shiitake mushrooms, shredded Brussels sprouts, and Chinese broccoli, but really, he says any vegetables that you like (and/or can find at your local salad bar) could work for his fried rice recipe.

    There you have it, folks. If a three-time Top Chef contender and restaurateur can hit up the Whole Foods salad bar for chopped onion and diced peppers, so can you. For the final result and more cooking hacks, watch the full episode here. 

    Want to really revamp your weeknight cooking routine? Try this healthy dinner a dietitian can make in six minutes or less. Or, check out our definitive ranking of meal kits so you can pick the plan best for you. 

    Author Francesca Krempa | Well and Good
    Selected by CWC

  • I’m a Sephora beauty director, and I just can’t hide how great these 4 concealers are

    February 16, 2020 at 02:00PM by CWC

    In the best of skin times and the worst of skin times, I have always, always swiped on a concealer. The beauty product is one of those that stands the tests of acne, aging, sleepless nights, and every reality in between. And when I talked to Sephora beauty director Jeffrey English, I learned that he, too, has a long and loving partnership with the best concealers.

    “I’ve always had a really strong relationship to concealer because I feel like—as a male, when you start getting into grooming and you really look into makeup—I think concealer is one of the first products that you grab for because you know you really want quick results, fast,” he says. Over his years as a makeup artist, English has narrowed down the five concealers that never (never!) leave his makeup kit. Curious about what they are?

    Sephora beauty director Jeffrey English names the 4 best concealers at Sephora

    1. NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, $30

    best concealers at sephora

    “I would be remiss not to talk about the Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer. I think that that is the tried-and-true. It’s a Sephora favorite, and it’s really been living and breathing at the Sephora beauty studio,” says English. The formula’s velvety texture makes it stand out among the rest, and once it’s on, it dosen’t budge. “I like this particular product because it’s great for self-setting, so you don’t have to put any powder on top of it to kind of keep it in place,” adds English.

    Shade range: 30

    2. Hourglass Vanish Airbrush Concealer, $34best concealers at sephora


    This cruelty-free, vegan formula is a favorite of the Well+Good office, and English can’t rave enough about it. “I’ve just found that I really love the texture. It’s almost a serum-like-formula that dries down beautifully on the skin and wears like a dream. It’s so flexible. It’s so beautiful,” English says.

    Shade range: 22

    3. Sephora Collection Bright Future Gel Serum Concealer, $14


    “I love this particular product for a lot of reasons. For one, I feel like it’s really versatile: you can use it all over the face and you never really experienced any dryness or any texture problems with it. For two, it’s really affordable at only $14, which is awesome. It’s great for anybody that’s been on a budget, or that really just wants a quality product and doesn’t necessarily want to spend so much,” English says.

    Shade range: 20

    4. Becca Light Shifter Brightening Concealer, $28

    If you’re planning on spending the day snapping pics, English says this product will make you absolutely luminescent. “I’m really loving sheer formulas that have a lot of light reflection. I think of it almost like building coverage under the eye or on top of the cheekbone but building it with light. So instead of adding a lot of pigment in the skin, you’re adding a lot of reflectiveness,” he says. In other words: the camera will love you.

    Shade range: 8

    Make sure your skin-care routine is primed before adding any makeup:

    Now that you’re equipped with new concealer, here’s how to use it as a foundation (it’s possible!). And some pro tips from making artists on how to use the product. 

    Author Kells McPhillips | Well and Good
    Selected by CWC

  • Derms explain what to look for in a shampoo for psoriasis

    February 16, 2020 at 12:00PM by CWC

    There’s nothing fun about having a flaky, itchy scalp. Some experience small flurries of flakes when their scalp is dry, while others have dandruff, which is caused by yeast on your scalp. There are varying severities of dandruff, but when your scalp is super red and scaly, it might be more than dandruff. Shani Francis, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in Illinois, says it could be psoriasis. Luckily, you can usually deal with it with a good shampoo for psoriasis.

    “When psoriasis is on the scalp it looks like, to a person that doesn’t know, really bad dandruff,” she says. “Most people that come into the dermatologist say, ‘I knew this wasn’t just dandruff.’” When you have psoriasis on other parts of your body, and then notice intense scalp flaking, you might immediately think that it’s your psoriasis. But, if you don’t have it anywhere else, it’s easy to assume you just have really bad dandruff, says Dr. Francis.

    What is scalp psoriasis, and how does it affect hair?

    Nicole Rogers, MD, a board-certified dermatologist, and hair transplant surgeon based in Louisiana, says that scalp psoriasis forms a dry, white, itchy layer of scale over parts, or all of, the scalp. “It results from a hyper proliferation of skin cells,” she says. “Usually I see it around the back of the scalp, behind the ears and below, but it can occur all over the scalp too.”

    Dr. Rogers adds that it has to be distinguished from seborrheic dermatitis, which most dermatologist can tell by looking, but, a scalp biopsy may be needed.

    Unless scalp psoriasis gets really bad, Dr. Francis says it shouldn’t impact hair growth. “You could have breakage in that area from the repetitive friction of rubbing and scratching,” she says. “Or you can have just hair falling out from the root because the skin is so inflamed it does doesn’t stay anchored in.” Also, if there’s a lot of scale, it’s hard for your hair to get nourishment from your scalp.

    What is the best shampoo for psoriasis?

    To get rid of scale, Dr. Francis says you can also pretreat your scalp with an oil, and then use a regular shampoo. “That will help gently loosen the scale.  You don’t want to pick off that scale, you need to caress off the scale,” she says. “So the oil is going to help remove the scale, and then you wash out the oil.” You’ll want to use a  clarifying, or regular shampoo to remove the oil, she says, so a sulfate-free formula won’t cut it.

    Dr. Rogers says the best the best shampoo for psoriasis contain the exfoliant salicylic acid, like Neutrogena T-Sal ($10), and Baker’s P&S shampoo ($20). She also recommends or Neutrogena T-Gel ($14), which contains coal tar. Dr. Francis says coal tar is great for treating inflammation, but adds that for some, it can also be nauseating.

    Whichever shampoo you choose, Dr. Rogers says once you lather, let sit for 10 to 15 minutes to get the most out of the product.

    What medical options are available?

    Dr. Rogers said her favorite shampoo for psoriasis is prescription clobetasol shampoo. “Clobetasol is a high potency topical steroid that helps cool off the inflammation,” she says.

    There are tons of prescriptions, or in-office treatments to help with scalp psoriasis, Dr. Francis says. “There’s tons of options for people that like pills, people who like creams, people who don’t want any medicine,” she says. “There’s so many options out there, it doesn’t it make sense for people to suffer.” UV light therapy has been shown to melt away psoriasis, Dr. Francis says.

    “Most dermatologists start out with topical steroid solutions, sprays, lotions, or shampoos, Dr. Rogers says.” Depending on the severity of the scalp psoriasis patients may do better with systemic treatments, like oral methotrexate, oral acitretin, or newer biologic medications such as Enbrel, Stelara, or Humira.”

    If your unsure whether or not you’re experiencing scalp psoriasis, Dr. Francis says to visit a dermatologist if you have access to one, since it’s easy for a primary care physician, who doesn’t see it as often, to mistake it for dandruff. Anytime your scalp is red, or angry, to head strait to a doctor.

    Is your skin dry? These are a derm’s best tips:

    These are the three signs to tell if you need a new shampoo, and these are the best drugstore shampoos for every hair type.

    Author Kara Jillian Brown | Well and Good
    Selected by CWC

  • What being on the cusp of Aquarius and Pisces means for your personality

    February 15, 2020 at 08:00PM by CWC

    Each month with On the Cusp, we point our astrological magnifying glass on all the people born between two zodiac signs. Because when your birthday falls at either the tail end or the very beginning of your sun sign’s season, your personality may be influenced by your cosmic neighbor.

    Stefanie Iris Weiss

    Stefanie Iris Weiss, astrologer and co-author of Surviving Saturn’s Return: Overcoming the Most Tumultuous Time of Your Life, is here to illuminate us about what being born on the Aquarius Pisces cusp beans for a person’s psyche. Below, Weiss (who is available for 2020 readings), explains what happens when free-minded, genius-leaning Aquarius signs (January 20 to February 18) mix traits with mix traits with the psychic empath Pisces (February 19 to March 20).

    This month, our focus is on those born on the Aquarius Pisces Cusp. With an ethereal presence that feels otherworldly, those who teeter on the edge of Aquarius and Pisces—born a few days before the end of Aquarius season or a few days into Pisces season—are some of the most uniquely creative and intuitive people around.

    “You’re miles ahead of everyone else because all Aquarians are geniuses. But with a touch of the Pisces energy that struggles with boundaries, you drift off on tangents.” —astrologer Stefanie Iris Weiss

    “You’re miles ahead of everyone else, figuring out some kind of cosmic equation, because all Aquarians are geniuses,” says Weiss. “But with a touch of the Pisces energy that struggles with boundaries, you drift off on tangents and can’t be nailed down to a single idea.”

    It’s important to keep in mind that if you’re born on the cusp of two signs, you are still dominantly one sign or another, but your personality traits might swayed by or mixed with traits of your neighboring sign. With that in mind, reacquaint yourself below with both Aquarius and Pisces traits before learning, specifically, what it means for your personality if you’re born on the Aquarius Pisces cusp.

    A quick reminder about key Aquarius traits

    Aquarians are the free spirits of the zodiac wheel, with boundless amounts of ethereal energy connecting to their status as an air sign. They hate being tied down and are total originals who are celebrated for their unique genius. Thanks to their creativity and spontaneity, Aquarians are able to conceive of bold, big, and world-changing ideas…as long as they can bring their heads out of the clouds and wrangle these ideas into actionable items.

    And what about Pisces?

    Twin fish Pisces is an intuitive, creative, and sensitive water sign (naturally), and is pretty much a psychic empath. Pisces can judge a person or a situation with a guiding force of wisdom. Because of this, they can call you out whenever you’re acting in ways that don’t serve you (skipping the gym, dating a dreaded ex, etc). But, when a Pisces identify these hard truths, they do so with love. (When a Pisces gets called out for, say, their classic indecisiveness, however? The sensitive water-bearers will cry a veritable river.)

    So what does it mean if you’re born on the Aquarius Pisces cusp?

    It depends on what side of the Aquarius Pisces cusp you reside. If you were born in the late degrees of Aquarius, you have a true flower-child vibe, but with a mystical Piscean aura highlighting your personality. You may have a spacey vibe about you, but with the ability to clearly see what’s to transpire years down the road. You also have notable empathic powers that let you really see other people. “Aquarians born near the Pisces cusp can’t help but connect to you, soul-to-soul, even if they’d rather keep their hearts free of messy commitments,” says Weiss. “They will analyze the hell out of your relationship and make sure that it makes sense intellectually as well as emotionally.

    Meanwhile, early-degree Pisces skew less sensitive, often needing less attention and constant comfort than those born in the later degrees of the season. They’re less in touch with future forecasting in favor of being more sharply attuned to their sense of intuition. “Instead of connecting merely through psychic transmissions, they’ll take the time to listen and sift through data until they just get it and go with their gut,” says Weiss. “They won’t let people smash through their boundaries as easily as non-cusp Pisces. This keeps them from getting involved with the wrong people or schemes.” And while these early-season Pisces certainly still have a touch of intuitively psychic powers, they “also know how to emerge from it into crystal clarity once in a while,” Weiss adds.

    Curious about other wintery combinations? This is what it means if you’re born on the Capricorn Aquarius Cusp, or the Sagittarius Capricorn Cusp

    Author Mary Grace Garis | Well and Good
    Selected by CWC

  • 10 delicious, plant-based Mexican recipes that go way beyond rice and beans

    February 15, 2020 at 06:00PM by CWC

    Here in the States, beef, chicken, pork, and cheese are often staples of Mexican foods eaten at home and at restaurants. Think: tacos al pastor, chicken tinga, carnitas…yum. However, none of those foods really work anymore for people trying to shift to a more plant-based diet.

    But the truth is, traditional Mexican food is inherently plant-based, which makes the cuisine particularly suited for vegetarian and vegan eaters. Corn, avocado, tomatoes, beans, and rice are all core ingredients in most Mexican dishes. Besides being nutrient-rich, these ingredients are also sustainable and inexpensive, a triple win. All of this is to say: cooking up plant-based,  Mexican food is easier than you think. Plus, depending on your interpretation of a plant-based diet (from eating a little meat and cheese to eating no animal products at all), there are tons of tasty dishes that will fit the bill.

    However, it can be hard to reimagine your favorite Mexican dishes sans meat without just defaulting to another meal of rice and beans. To give you some cooking inspiration, check out these 10 delicious vegetarian Mexican recipes. Whether you’re craving tacos, quesadillas, enchiladas, or another classic dish, you’re sure to find your new favorite go-to recipe here.

    Keep reading for some tasty vegetarian Mexican recipes to try at home:

    vegetarian plant based tacos
    Photo: Minimalist Baker

    1. Quinoa taco meat

    While there are some great alt-meat products out there, you can also make your own beef substitute at home using quinoa. As when making any Mexican meal, spices play a big role in this recipe—namely cumin, chili pepper, and garlic. You will be surprised at how closely it resembles seasoned ground beef.

    plant-based mole
    Photo: Dora’s Table

    2. Oaxacan mole negro

    This recipe is a bit complex, but the end result is worth it. It’s full of tons of healthy ingredients, including tomatoes, plantains, goji berries, nuts, and seeds. Dora Stone, the recipe creator, loves serving the mole with corn tortillas and cauliflower.

    vegetarian mexican food enchiladas
    Photo: Cookie+Kate

    3. Veggie black bean enchiladas

    Beans are used in place of meat in this enchiladas recipe, but that hardly means you’re missing out on protein. Black beans, ICYMI, are super high in protein and fiber, making them a satiating superstar ingredient. You’ll also find spinach and broccoli in this dish, which up the fiber even more.

    vegan nachos
    Photo: The Vegan 8

    4. Easy burrito bowl

    When combined, brown rice, beans, sweet corn, and salsa make the perfect, yummy burrito bowl without having to wait in a long line at Chipotle. Eat as is, or serve with chips or corn tortillas.

    plant-based burritos
    Photo: Plant-based on a Budget

    5. Creamy avocado burritos

    With two types of beans, onion, tomato, lettuce, and avocado, these burritos take plant-based to a whole new level. Paprika, cumin, and cayenne pepper add heat to the meal, but the creamy avocado prevents it from getting too fiery.

    cream of corn recipe
    Photo: Mexico in my Kitchen

    6. Cream of corn soup

    This is one of the most unique vegetarian Mexican recipes on this list, but definitely worth trying. It uses corn in a new way, blending it into a delicious, creamy soup. To get the texture just right, cook the kernels on the stove with broth and butter, before mixing in the flour and milk (which thickens it up). It’s great with a little queso mixed in, too.

    healthy mexican recipe for easy calabacitas
    Photo: Mexican Please

    7. Easy calabacitas

    Roughly translated to “little squash,” calabacitas is a popular vegetarian Mexican recipe, especially in the summer. This recipe uses zucchini, but really any type of squash works. Other veggies in this dish: tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, and corn. There’s also quite a bit of garlic, which is a healthy ingredient on its own!

    Watch the video below to see why garlic is so good for you:

    healthy mexican recipe for street corn
    Photo: Isabel Eats

    8. Mexican street corn

    What would a Mexican recipe roundup be without street corn? Cilantro and lime juice are the standout ingredients in this recipe, both of which add bursts of brightness. Chipotle chili pepper is also used to add some spiciness, which balances out the tart lime perfectly.

    vegetarian Mexican recipe for quinoa
    Photo: Make Your Own Zone

    9. One-skillet Mexican quinoa dinner 

    Any dinner that only requires dirtying one dish is already a win, and this one is also quick and healthy. The ingredient run-down: quinoa, canned beans, canned corn, vegetable broth, and garlic. While they all simmer together, just add chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, and cilantro. Ten minutes later, this well-rounded, plant-based meal is ready for your plate.

    mexican lasagna
    Photo: Well Vegan

    10. Vegan Mexican lasagna

    Instead of a noodle-meat-and-cheese formula traditional lasagnas follow, this smart, Mexican-inspired recipe lasagna uses tortillas as the layers and beans and veggies as the filling. If you like your food on the spicy side, be generous with the diced green chilis. Top with avocado for extra creaminess.

    Want guac? Try one of these eight delicious variations. And join Well+Good’s Cook With Us Facebook group for more healthy recipe inspo. 

    Author Emily Laurence | Well and Good
    Selected by CWC

  • Flip your crunches upside down to work your core in an entirely new way

    February 15, 2020 at 05:00PM by CWC

    If you’ve spent most of your adult life lamenting that high school math would never have any real life applications (see you literally never, calculus), we’ve finally found a place to put all that info you learned about angles in geometry to good use: Your core routine.

    By tweaking the angles of your body when you’re doing crunches and sit-ups, you’re able to totally change the muscles that the moves are working. Case in point: Extending your ab workout beyond the usual 180 degrees has some major body benefits. Regular crunches—aka the kind you do with your back and feet on the floor—work your rectus abdominis (your “six-pack muscle”), internal and external obliques, hip flexors, and quadriceps. But when you take away the back support—by positioning yourself on a raised surface or platform, for instance—and allow your upper body to get below your lower body, you’re able to get even deeper into the muscles in your core. (If you’re a real pro you can quite literally go upside down, by using a boxing bag or some such to get into position.)

    “When you perform a crunch from an over-extended position you may be able to tap into your innermost abdominal muscles,” says Obé Fitness trainer Tiffani Robbins. “Additionally, you will be turning on the muscles in your lower back, which are an important component of your core and are often a more difficult group of muscles to work correctly.”

    Since you’re starting with your back extended below your hips, you’ll have to move your upper body farther than usual to get to the top of the move, and this helps stabilize the hips and lower back, says Solidcore’s Nat Straub. Plus, since these inverse crunches take away that blink-and-you’ll-miss-it rest between reps that you get when your back hits the floor during regular crunches, you can’t cheat—your core has to be engaged the entire time. And let me tell you: it burns.

    upside-down situps
    Photo: Getty Images/Westend61

    Going beyond 180 isn’t the only way you can use angle play to target different muscles in your core routine. You can also try a reverse crunch, aka one where your feet are off of the ground and knees are bent to 90 degrees. With these, you’re creating a smaller angle (instead of a larger one) between the bottom and the top of the move. “The reverse crunch can help target and strengthen the lower portion of the abs, which is notoriously hard to train,” says Staub. “In addition, this type of ab work can help with lower back pain by strengthening muscular imbalances.”

    For a well-rounded routine, try all three versions. And check out the video below to make sure your crunch form is flawless. 

    An endless number of crunches and upside-down situps isn’t the only way to work your core: Here’s how to engage it in your arm workouts, too. Or you can try this yoga flow, which will light the entire thing on fire.

    Author Zoe Weiner | Well and Good
    Selected by CWC

  • This is exactly happens when you wash your hair too often

    February 15, 2020 at 04:00PM by CWC

    There are those who can’t let a day go by without washing their hair, and those who get by with only washing once a week… or longer. If you’re one of those daily washers, you probably already know it’s not the best move for your hair. But what exactly happens when you scrub your hair every day?

    According to Kristina Tabb, celebrity hair expert and co-owner of Tabb & Sparks Salon in Santa Monica, washing your hair day after day might seem like it’s helping, but it’s not. “Simply put, overwashing can result in extra oil in your hair. When you train your hair to be washed every day, your oil glands adjust to producing more oil to compensate for the loss of oils that the shampoo is stripping. Even if you’re more oily, you’re also drying out the hair strand,” she says. “The goal is to train your oil glands to not over-produce oil, and staying consistent with your shampoo regimen is the only way to do that.”

    According to Tabb, the goal is washing your hair every three to four days. “That might sound unachievable or crazy, but it’s important to go through a period of retraining your hair and oil production for overall hair and scalp health. It will be worth it,” she says. But if you’re not ready to give up your once-a-day hair washing schedule yet, there are some things you can do to help prevent damage to your strands.

    The best products to use when you wash your hair daily

    1. Aquis Prime Water Defense Prewash, $29

    This prewash is applied directly onto dry hair prior to showering to help protect your strands against the damage caused by washing, drying, and styling.


    Hard water—along with the chemicals found in unfiltered shower water, like chlorine and chloramine—isn’t easy on your hair, so washing daily will undoubtedly do some damage. This option has a 15-stage filter that gets rid of the bad stuff, making sure you’re only using soft and healthy water on your hair.


    Ditch your shampoo and try conditioner-only, no-poo washing with this product. Because shampooing too often can strip your hair of its natural oils (and cause damage), this is a better approach for keeping your hair healthy.

    4. Prose Custom Leave-In Conditioner, $25

    To keep damage to a minimum, spraying in a leave-in conditioner post-shower is also a plus. This mist is personalized through a quiz, giving you the perfect mix of ingredients that are specifically formulated for your hair needs.

    5. Olaplex No. 7 Bonding Oil, $28

    wash hair too often

    If you’re washing your hair daily, you’re probably styling daily, too. Make sure you’re using something to prevent damage, like this oil that provides heat protection, protects your color, and contains compounds that help keep your hair healthy and breakage-free. You only need a couple drops to get the job done.

    You can make a tea tree scalp spray with just three ingredients:

    Following this 30-second rule is the key to washing your hair way less often. Then find out the spot to check to determine whether or not you actually need to wash your hair.

    Author Tehrene Firman | Well and Good
    Selected by CWC

  • I took a stretching class from a former professional gymnast—this is what I learned

    February 15, 2020 at 02:00PM by CWC

    In the fitness recovery world, there are plenty of studios you can hit up to have someone professionally stretch your muscles out (think Stretch*d in New York City or StretchLab in Los Angeles). Also on the rise? Stretching classes that give you group instruction for stretching your body from head to toe.

    When I walk into an SM Stretching class at Energi in NYC, I expect to spend the full hour on a mat folding my body into various restorative positions, like I’m used to doing in yoga. Instead, I’m immediately moving between jumping jacks, squats, crunches, and other moves—all accentuated with a resistance band—to get my blood pumping. “We start with a 15-minute workout before stretching so that you get your muscles warm,” says founder Samira Mustafaeva. “Otherwise you can hurt yourself.” She’s right: Stretching cold muscles is not the right move, y’all.

    Once I’m nice and warm, it’s time to get loose. Mustafaeva takes the class through pretty classic stretches—think frog pose, straight-leg hamstring stretch, and half-splits—some of which you do with a partner or with her assistance (she pushed me almost into a full split). But what’s very, very different about this stretching class and the stretching I do on my own time is the length that we hold the poses.

    “Each stretch is held for one minute at least, but a lot are held for two or three minutes,” says Mustafaeva, noting that this length of time allows your body to relax and go deeper into the stretch. “The uncomfortable part is where you get to improve your flexibility, which is the whole purpose of a stretching class.”

    “The uncomfortable part is where you get to improve your flexibility, which is the whole purpose of a stretching class.” —Samira Mustafaeva

    Mustafaeva, who’s an former gymnast from Russia, is passionate about stretching and what it does for your body. “Flexibility is the base for everything, all of your workouts,” she says. “If you’re not flexible, it’s difficult to do certain moves.” According to her, this is a common theme in Russian fitness classes. “We have stretching classes in Russia like you have barre classes here in the United States,” she says. However, that is starting to shift as the importance of recovery continues to rise.

    When I walk out of my SM Stretching sesh, I’m shocked by how lengthened and limber my muscles feel. For once, my legs feel loose (and as a runner, that’s an anomaly). “When you’re stretching, you’re not only working on your muscles, but you’re calming your mind, and you get a release of endorphins which makes you feel better when you leave class,” she says. “Flexibility makes everyday movement much easier.” As I felt the newfound sensation of Gumby-like muscles, I believe her (and vow to stretch much more often).

    Try this full-body stretch routine from Charlee Atkins, below: 

    Take it from a ballerina: Here are the best stretches for your feet. And this is the USA gymnastics team’s stretching routine to try for yourself. 

    Author Rachel Lapidos | Well and Good
    Selected by CWC

  • How natural caffeine compares to synthetic caffeine, according to health experts

    February 15, 2020 at 12:00PM by CWC

    Almost everyone is familiar with the effects of caffeine from coffee, tea, and chocolate. While these natural caffeine sources are super well-known, synthetic caffeine, made from chemicals and added to some “energy-boosting” drinks, isn’t talked about as much. Curious about the difference?

    Synthetic caffeine is produced from urea and chloroacetic acid while natural caffeine is extracted from plant products,” says Gabrielle McGrath, RD, the the in-house dietitian for Lexi’s Clean Living. Urea is a compound made of carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen and is considered non-toxic by the Food and Drug Administration. However, if you’re vegan, it’s important to know that urea is typically sourced from animals. While the sourcing is different, nutrition expert Katie Boyd, MS, says at a chemical level, synthetic caffeine and natural caffeine are almost identical. 

    Since they’re so similar at a structural level, you may be wondering why brands would even use synthetic caffeine in the first place. The major reason according to McGrath is that it’s cheaper. She adds that the most common places you’ll find synthetic caffeine are in sodas and energy drinks, and while synthetic caffeine itself may not be toxic, it’s often used alongside sugars and additives that are directly linked to poor health.

    Now the big question: Can your body tell the difference between the two? Both Boyd and McGrath say there’s one major difference in how the body responds: Synthetic caffeine is absorbed in the body quicker and can have more powerful effects. “The synthetic caffeine will absorb faster than the natural kind which can cause anxiety side effects, a quicker spike and faster crash,” Boyd says.

    If you want to avoid such a harsh crash, McGrath recommends turning to natural caffeine sources or energy-boosting foods instead. “Instead of up picking up an energy drink, next time just chose a coffee or yerba mate tea. If you are still struggling with energy levels, incorporate some energy-boosting foods throughout the day,” she says.

    Here’s how to eat for optimal energy:

    The big takeaway when comparing synthetic caffeine and natural caffeine: The chemical-based stuff may be faster and stronger, but the come down is going to be even worse than the natural route. And of course, it’s always important to do your label reading and see what else is listed in the ingredients list, too. Chances are, if a brand is going the synthetic route, the more likely other processed add-ins are being used, too.

    Energy drinks are getting the “all-natural” treatment. Here’s the verdict on if they can ever really be healthy. And here’s the deal on if protein can give you energy.

    Author Emily Laurence | Well and Good
    Selected by CWC

  • Amazon reviewers and Redditors love this $9 face mask, but derms have another opinion

    February 15, 2020 at 03:00AM by CWC

    The Internet loves a good masking moment, and no mask has achieved cult-fave status quite like Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay ($9). The mix-it-yourself solution is lauded for its ability to unclog pores, and the before-and-after photos Redditors have shared of it clearing away their acne are truly unbelievable. But according to board-certified dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD, you might want to think twice before slathering it all over your face—particularly during dry skin season.

    “I think it can be great for someone who has oily skin, but this time of year you really don’t want to overdo it because of the winter air,” she says. “It’s bad for dry skin.” Clay works by drawing out toxins and clearing and tightening pores, which can be a little too intense for skin that’s dry to begin with.

    Even if you are oily-complected,  Dr. Gohara still says you should use the mask sparingly, especially if you’ve already got a lot of other drying ingredients,  like exfoliating acids and retinol, in your routine. While clearing away excess oil with these things is usually a good thing, if you clear away too much of it your skin will start to dry out. Then, your body will start overproducing sebum to make up for the discrepancy, and you’ll wind up with skin that feels dry, oily, and just plain uncomfortable all at the same time. Because of this, Dr. Gohara recommends using the mask once a month at most.

    If you do want to add a more regular masking session to your routine in the winter months, instead of clay, look for hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and ceramides. When the weather is warmer and there’s more humidity in the air, Dr. Gohara says that dry skin will have an easier time handling Aztec Clay. But while the directions indicate you can mix the powder with either water or apple cider vinegar, drier skinned folks will likely want to stick with the H2O option, which is gentler. One more pro tip? Be sure to wash the mask off  while it’s still wet, because when you let it dry completely, it’s more likely to dry out your skin in the process. And of course, be sure to post a before and after photo to Reddit so you, too, can get into the cult-fave conversation.

    aztec indian healing clay
    Photo: Amazon

    Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay, $9

    These are the three kinds of face masks that derms say really *are* worth the money. Plus, the ingredients they say you should be doubling down on this time of year. 

    Author Zoe Weiner | Well and Good
    Selected by CWC

  • Holy basil can low-key help your body handle stress better—here’s how

    February 15, 2020 at 02:00AM by CWC

    If you like to geek out on herbs—which at Well+Good HQ, is definitely considered an acceptable pastime—you might already be familiar with adaptogens. Adaptogens are herbs that, when taken regularly, can help bring balance to the body and help it better handle stress. Some, like reishi and ashwagandha, certainly get their fair share of buzz, but others fly under the radar. The Ayurvedic herb holy basil, also known as tulsi, definitely falls into the latter camp.

    When it comes to holy basil benefits, there are some major ones to know about. But first, let’s get something straight: holy basil is not the same as the basil you likely already have in your pantry. “Holy basil and basil are different plants, and even within the holy basil family, there are different types of holy basil,” says herbalist, holistic health coach, and Supernatural founder Rachelle Robinett.

    While both plants are members of the mint family, basil plants are deep green and tastes slightly spicy. But holy basil, Robinett says, are slightly sweet. “Some holy basil plants are black and red, other holy basil plants are black and green, but it’s a really beautiful plant and has some amazing benefits,” she adds. Now that you know what it is, let’s get into what exactly the holy basil benefits are.

    Holy basil benefits: are they really worth it?

    1. Holy basil helps the body deal with stress

    An attribute of all adaptogens, Robinett says holy basil can help bring more balance to the body. “It’s a calming herb, but not in the way that some herbs such as lavender are where you feel [more relaxed] right away. It helps normalize the stress response in the body so that over time, the body is more stable, peaceful, and calm,” Robinett says, adding that it acts similar to ashwaghanda in this way. Scientific studies have shown that holy basic can potentially counter metabolic stress through stabilizing blood glucose levels. Which brings us to another holy basil benefit.

    2. it Can help stabilize blood sugar levels

    If you’re mindful of your blood glucose levels, holy basil is an herb that’s on your side. “It has a noticeable effect on lowering blood sugar levels and helping with insulin sensitivity,” Robinett says. For many people, this is a big bonus, but Robinett says if you’re someone who tends to already have low blood sugar levels, it’s something to be aware of as it could make your levels too low.

    The fact that holy basil can help balance blood sugar levels is directly related to its first benefit of helping the body deal with stress. When your blood sugar levels are steady, your mood tends to be, too. And when your mood is steady, it’s easier to deal with stress.

    Another herb that helps with blood sugar levels: cinnamon. Watch the video below to learn how:

    3. It has antioxidant Properties

    While this is still an area of ongoing research, “there have been a lot of scientific studies that show the different ways holy basil’s antioxidant properties manifest,” Robinett says. One such way is supporting liver health, evidence scientists have found at least in studies performed on rats. “It’s kind of like a tonic for the liver,” Robinett says.

    4. it could boost cognitive function.

    Another benefit of holy basil’s antioxidant properties is that it could help with brain health. One small study found that adults who took holy basil regularly for 15 days experienced a boost in cognitive function compared to participants who were given a placebo, although more research is needed to confirm this benefit.

    5. it’s antibacterial

    Another holy basil benefit Robinett mentions is that it’s antibacterial and antifungal. One scientific article on the herb says this is why the herb traditionally has been used to treat stomach aches and common colds; it works to help kill bad bacteria. There’s even some evidence to suggest it could be safely used as a mouthwash.

    How to best use holy basil to enjoy its benefits

    If these benefits made you want to give holy basil a try, Robinett has a few different suggestions. “Holy basil is really nice to enjoy as a tea, but you can also consume it as a capsule or as a tincture, both of which will be a bit stronger than the tea,” she says. Like many adaptogens, holy basil works best if consumed regularly over time. Whether you choose to have it as a tea, capsule, or tincture, aim for a dosage of about 300 milligrams.

    While holy basil is generally safe with no side effects, Robinett says women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant should not take this herb. “It can affect testosterone levels in a way that is anti-fertility, so that is something to be aware of,” she says. It’s also always a good idea to talk to your doctor or health practitioner to ensure that the herb will not interact with any other herbs, supplements, or medications you currently take.

    Robinett also encourages people to experiment with mixing holy basil with other herbs they love. “You’ll often see it mixed with black pepper, which is used as a catalyst,” she says, adding that this is also seen with turmeric. “This helps it get into the system quicker,” she explains. “My biggest advice for blending herbs is to choose herbs that have the properties that you’re hoping to get,” she says. “For example, if you want to take holy basil to feel more calm, lavender can be a beautiful herb to pair it with, as opposed to an herb like ginseng, which is more known to be energy-boosting,” she says.

    But in general, Robinett says holy basil plays well with others, which is great news for wellness lovers who feel totally stressed out trying to decide between their favorite herbs. Hey, then again, that’s something holy basil can help with.

    Here are some herbs that can help lower inflammation. And these herbs can help boost happiness.

    Author Emily Laurence | Well and Good
    Selected by CWC

  • The best acne treatments at Ulta all cost less than $30

    February 15, 2020 at 12:30AM by CWC

    Every dermatologist will tell you shouldn’t pop your pimples. But sometimes the angry ones refuse to be ignored. Some bleed. Some even grow hair. But no matter what, they all need to GTFO.

    From salicylic acid to benzoyl peroxide and niacinamide, there are tons of acne fighting-ingredients. Ulta has a ton of acne treatments to choose from, so you’re never stuck without the proper tools. The best part? Many of the best-sellers are under $30.

    These are the best acne treatments available at Ulta

    1. Mario Badescu Drying Lotion, $17

    Mario Badescu Drying Lotion, best acne treatments at ulta

    This cult-favorite is one of the most beloved acne spot treatments. It’s made with quick-drying ingredients like salicylic acid, calamine, and others to shrink whiteheads while you sleep without irritating your skin.


    The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

    The Ordinary is known for having the most affordable, yet effective serums on the market. Niacinamide helps lighten dark spots and calm inflammation while zinc aids in wound healing.

    3. Proactiv Emergency Blemish Relief, $20

    Proactiv Emergency Blemish Relief, best acne treatments at ulta

    Pimples can’t stand a chance against this powerful spot treatment. It contains a double dose of benzoyl peroxide to target acne-causing bacteria, and allantoin to moisturize and soothe the skin.

    4. Urban Skin Rx Clear Skin Cleansing Bar, $15

    Urban Skin Rx Clear Skin Cleansing Bar

    This cleansing bar is daily cleanser, mask, and exfoliator in one. Just wet your face, rub the treatment into your skin, and allow the lather to sit or one to two minutes, and then rinse. It’s full of anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory ingredients to help control blemishes and acne.

    5. ZitSticka killa kit, $29

    ZitSticka Killa Kit, best acne treatments at ulta

    The ZitSticka is one of the best things to happen for pimples. Not only does it contain acne-fighting ingredients, but it also has microdarts that dissolve the into skin to allow the ingredients to penetrate deeper.


    CeraVe Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser

    This gentle creamy cleanser contains benzoyl peroxide to treat acne, and ceramides to help restore and protect the skin barrier. It works to keep your skin clear and smooth.

    7. Murad Rapid Relief Acne Spot Treatment, $22

    Murad Rapid Relief Acne Spot Treatment, best acne treatments at ulta

    This fast-acting spot treatment uses 2 percent salicylic acid to reduce blemish size and redness. It’s clear gel formula makes it great to wear under makeup.

    A derm explains everything you need to know about adult acne:

    In today’s gross news you never knew you needed to know: you can get acne from your glasses, and here’s how to tell if your acne is fungal.

    Author Kara Jillian Brown | Well and Good
    Selected by CWC


  • This Isn’t The Week To Put Your Blinders On, According To Astrology
    February 16, 2020 at 10:25AM
    This week, the AstroTwins break down how Mercury (which is in retrograde, P.S.!) will conspire with Uranus and Taurus to bring on some shady business.

    The Sun floats into soft-filtered Pisces on Tuesday, February 18, turning the world into its enchanted wonderland.

    If Cupid’s arrows missed the mark this V-Day, fear not. This fantasy-fueled solar cycle, which lasts until March 19, will activate an early round of spring fever. And with the new moon in Pisces this Sunday, there will be a second push to open your heart. Rose-colored glasses and hearts worn on sleeves are always in fashion during Pisces season—and countering with periodic reality checks would be a wise idea. But don’t be so hard-nosed that you fail to enjoy the poetic vibes that both the Sun and new moon in Pisces bring. Relationships can deepen immeasurably as we allow ourselves to get vulnerable. Compassion will not be in short order over the next four weeks. The liquid nature of Pisces allows us to flow beyond our own boundaries so that we can glimpse life from different perspectives. Swimming a mile with someone else’s fins can be illuminating! But with Mercury retrograde for much of this solar cycle (until March 9), expect both highs and lows—and revel in what each direction reveals. Pisces is symbolized by two fish swimming in opposite directions. One is pointing us upward, to our visionary selves; the other sends us down into the murky waters of our own shadows. Deep healing awaits for those willing to plunge into the stormy sea of the psyche. And so much beauty can emerge from these trips below the surface! Let the artistic renaissance begin!
    Article continues below

    A wild Friday may be unavoidable, as rabble-rouser Uranus in Taurus syncs up with wildcat Mars in Capricorn and gives everyone a case of cabin fever.

    Switch things up socially, mingling with new people and meandering through those up-and-coming neighborhoods to see what gems can be found. While wanderlust will strike, traveling could be a mixed bag with these two impatient planets in cahoots. If you’re thinking of packing a weekender bag, make sure to have some kind of an itinerary. Also, we don’t advise taking your first-ever vacay with someone this weekend because this isn’t the time to test those waters.

    People might talk a good game, but can they back up their words with action? That’s questionable this Sunday, when charming Venus in Aries squares optimistic Jupiter.

    While both planets have a strict “no negative vibes” policy, refusing to take off the rose-colored glasses could be a recipe for trouble. When locked into this dynamic dust-up, which happens twice most years, Venus and Jupiter can make everyone a lot more gullible. To avoid being a victim of this “hustler’s holiday,” don’t take anything at face value. Researching and reading the fine print doesn’t have to burst your bubble. If you’re buying into something legit, the background checks should simply make you more confident about your decision to move forward. But you can practically bank on the fact that you’ll find something that needs to be questioned. Hey, even the most solid relationships require periodic reviews. The Venus-Jupiter square may necessitate a sit-down with everyone from your business partner to bae, if only to get yourselves back on a level playing field. Assumptions are the enemy of true intimacy. So ask the difficult questions, and make sure you’re in a good place to listen to some potentially uncomfortable truths. Better to get it all out in the open than to sweep it under the rug.
    Author The AstroTwins | Life by Daily Burn Selected by CWC
  • Research Finds The Scent Of A Loved One Could Help Improve Sleep
    February 16, 2020 at 02:48AM
    Scent is a powerful yet under-appreciated sense that the human can experience. We previously learned that the smell of a rose can help boost sleep, but new research shows an interesting new scent that may make you fall asleep faster: the scent of your romantic partner. Researchers analyzed sleep data from 155 participants in romantic, long-term relationships. Each participant was given two separate t-shirts, and told to sleep with each t-shirt for two nights. One shirt was a plain, unused shirt, while the other had been worn by their romantic partner over a period of 24 hours, and then frozen to preserve the scent. Each night, participants wore sleep watches to collect data and measure how well they slept. Results showed that when in the present of their partner’s scent, participants fell asleep faster and had higher quality sleep. Lead author Marlise Hofer, Ph.D. tells mbg, “The effect we observed was similar in magnitude to that reported for melatonin supplements.” An interesting factor of the study was that the participants of the study were unaware of what shirt they were sleeping with on a particular night, and were even asked to guess whether or not they slept with their partner’s shirt. Still, the scent made a strong impact.
    “One of the most surprising findings is how a romantic partner’s scent can improve sleep quality even outside of our conscious awareness,” says author Frances Chen, Ph.D. “The sleep watch data showed that participants experienced less tossing and turning when exposed to their partners’ scent, even if they weren’t aware of whose scent they were smelling.” The presence of a partner is calming, relaxing, and has been shown to give a person a sense of safety. With this study, researchers have found a way for those effects to be mimicked without the partner actually being present. Next, the researchers are looking to continue this type of study with an experiment to see whether the scent of a parent can improve the sleep quality of an infant. So, if you’re not spending the night with your significant other, don’t fret! A simple sniff of their old t-shirt could make it feel like they’re right at home with you.
    Author Christina Coughlin | Life by Daily Burn Selected by CWC
  • The One Step Research Says You Should Take Following A Breakup

    February 16, 2020 at 02:04AM

    Social media is making breaking up harder than ever. Continue Reading…

    Author Sarah Regan | Life by Daily Burn
    Selected by CWC
  • The Incredible Power Of The Breath & How To Tap Into It On Demand
    February 16, 2020 at 12:12AM
    Breathwork is the active form of consciously working your breath to bypass the mind and enter a different state of awareness. This is what most people seek when meditating, and breathwork takes you to that place very quickly. The practice gives the brain’s executive functioning something to focus on, so you can bypass the mental level of consciousness and drop into a deeper state of consciousness, where healing, spirit, and love reside.

    What exactly is breathwork and how do you do it?

    There are many types of breathwork techniques, and each form of breath has a unique purpose and creates a different effect. As you breathe, you will become aware of thoughts, feelings, memories, and patterns that are not aligned with love and self-love. Even though many of us have processed childhood, beliefs, patterns in psychiatry, therapy, coaching, or healing, breathwork offers an opportunity to release any energy that has been unconsciously residing in the body or energetic system. Once those energies are released, there is more space for your inherent life force to flow through you. There are little-to-no rules when it comes to establishing your own breathwork routine: You can practice in person with a teacher (in a group or solo setting), tune into a digital session, or guide yourself through a breath sequence from home or in the middle of your workday.
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    How is breathwork different from meditation or yoga?

    Breathing practices are on the rise, and there’s a reason why: Unlike meditation, where we are aware of our mental chatter, breathwork allows us to disconnect from the mind and reconnect with our body and energy. From this elevated state of awareness, we are able to heal, grow, and expand.

    The Key Difference Between Breathwork And Meditation

    With Gwen Dittmar
    Watch The Whole Class: The Ultimate Guide to Breathwork
    While meditation is an extremely useful form of self-reflection because it allows us to see the pace, substance, and truth of our thoughts, it also keeps us stuck in our mind, while many people are seeking to get out of their own heads. Meditation is a slow and steady practice that over a period of time will shift our perspective. But many people are seeking relief now, and meditation does not bring the relief they are looking for. Breathwork, on the other hand, can be easier to drop into when you are seeking more immediate feedback. It’s a great tool to pull out when you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or off-center.
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    Who can benefit from breathwork?

    There is a misconception that healing arts are for individuals who are struggling or suffering. And yes, breathwork is very supportive for stress, tension, overwhelm, anxiety, depression, fear, grief, sadness, anger, trauma, insomnia, etc. But breathwork is also nourishing for someone who is doing well and feels ready for the next opening—the next layer of love, peace, gratitude, clarity, connection, and insights.

    Doing breathwork with a teacher? Here’s what to expect.

    There are different ways that breathwork can be facilitated based on the guide who is leading you. (If you are new to breathwork and want to connect with a healer to get started, look for a practitioner who has completed all levels of the training, who has been guiding others and has experience, and who has a presence that makes you feel comfortable.) Your experience will vary depending on the type of breathwork your practitioner is teaching, but no matter what, you can expect to actively breathe throughout the session. As you’re breathing, your teacher might speak to you through the journey. You may follow their guidance, or have your own unique experience. Trust the breath will take you to where you need to go for the deepest level of healing available to you at that time.
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    Some thoughts, feelings, or sensations that might come up during a breathwork session.

    Some of the side effects that someone might experience during breathwork include tingling, buzzing, warming, cooling, or tightness in certain parts of their body. They may see colors or images or have downloads and insights. No matter what, whatever is happening is supposed to be happening. Your body has an innate intelligence and wisdom and it will support you in releasing what no longer serves you.

    3 reasons that breathwork is so powerful.

    1. You’ll tap into your inner knowing.

    The first benefit of breathwork is that the innate wisdom of your breath and life force knows exactly where to go for the level of healing that is available for you at any given time. As the breath opens meridians and channels and aligns your body with its inherent and Universal energy, healing happens. There is no need to think, process, or figure anything out after a session. To know you can receive clarity and peace without thinking is revelatory.
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    2. You’ll feel empowered.

    In a breathwork session, you do not need to imbibe an external substance, so there is an inner empowerment that comes from you. Your breath can become the source of answers to questions, insights to challenges, freedom from feeling stuck, and downloads to what’s next for you, your life, and your work in the world.

    3. You’ll gain a new perspective on life’s challenges.

    Breathwork supports so many of the challenges everyone experiences. It reduces stress, creates feelings of openness, love, peace, gratitude, clarity, communication, and connection. Breathwork also helps release trauma or mental, physical, and emotional blocks, as well as anxiety, depression, fear, grief, and anger. Last, it can help people receive insights from ancestors and loved ones who have transitioned, as well as downloads about work, creativity, finances, relationships, or health conditions.
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    The science behind breathwork.

    Don’t just take my word for it: Look at all the research that continues to come out supporting the benefits of breathwork. Something as simple as making your exhale longer than your inhale has been shown to send the body into a more parasympathetic state, lowering blood pressure and cortisol levels, while coherent breathing, a type of long, slow breath, has been associated with a decrease in depressive symptoms. Over at the Huberman Lab for neuroscience out of Stanford University, they study how the breath impacts emotional states and how it can actually change the way the brain reacts to fear. On the other side of the world, in the Netherlands, researchers at Radboud University Medical Center are looking into how the Wim Hof method—a breathwork, meditation, and cold therapy protocol—can reduce inflammation and increase pain tolerance. As with any self-care practice, the most important way to learn if breathwork is useful and helpful for you is to experience it for yourself. To learn more about the power of breathwork and how to start your practice, check out my The Ultimate Guide To Breathwork class on mindbodygreen.
    Author Gwen Dittmar | Life by Daily Burn Selected by CWC
  • FODMAP 101: A Detailed Beginner’s Guide
    Since what you eat can have a major effect on your body, digestive issues are incredibly common. FODMAPs are types of carbohydrates found in certain foods, including wheat and beans. Studies have shown strong links between FODMAPs and digestive symptoms like gas, bloating, stomach pain, diarrhea and constipation. Low-FODMAP diets can provide remarkable benefits for many people with common digestive disorders. This article provides a detailed beginner’s guide to FODMAPs and low-FODMAP diets.
    What Are FODMAPs?
    FODMAP stands for “fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols” (1). These are short-chain carbs that are resistant to digestion. Instead of being absorbed into your bloodstream, they reach the far end of your intestine where most of your gut bacteria reside. Your gut bacteria then use these carbs for fuel, producing hydrogen gas and causing digestive symptoms in sensitive individuals. FODMAPs also draw liquid into your intestine, which may cause diarrhea. Although not everyone is sensitive to FODMAPs, this is very common among people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) (2Trusted Source). Common FODMAPs include:
    • Fructose: A simple sugar found in many fruits and vegetables that also makes up the structure of table sugar and most added sugars.
    • Lactose: A carbohydrate found in dairy products like milk.
    • Fructans: Found in many foods, including grains like wheat, spelt, rye and barley.
    • Galactans: Found in large amounts in legumes.
    • Polyols: Sugar alcohols like xylitol, sorbitol, maltitol and mannitol. They are found in some fruits and vegetables and often used as sweeteners.
    Summary FODMAP stands for “fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols.” These are small carbs that many people cannot digest — particularly those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
    What Happens When You Eat Them?
    The majority of FODMAPs pass through most of your intestine unchanged. They’re completely resistant to digestion and are categorized as a dietary fiber. But some carbs function like FODMAPs only in some individuals. These include lactose and fructose. General sensitivity to these carbs also differs between people. In fact, scientists believe that they contribute to digestive problems like IBS. When FODMAPs reach your colon, they get fermented and used as fuel by gut bacteria. The same happens when dietary fibers feed your friendly gut bacteria, which leads to various health benefits. However, the friendly bacteria tend to produce methane, whereas the bacteria that feed on FODMAPs produce hydrogen, another type of gas, which may lead to gas, bloating, stomach cramps, pain and constipation. (3Trusted Source). Many of these symptoms are caused by distention of the gut, which can also make your stomach look bigger (4Trusted Source). FODMAPs are also osmotically active, which means that they can draw water into your intestine and contribute to diarrhea.
    Summary In some individuals, FODMAPs are poorly digested, so they end up reaching the colon. They draw water into the intestine and get fermented by hydrogen-producing gut bacteria.
    Benefits of a Low-FODMAP Diet
    The low-FODMAP diet has mostly been studied in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This is a common digestive disorder that includes symptoms like gas, bloating, stomach cramps, diarrhea and constipation. About 14% of people in the US have IBS — most of them undiagnosed (5Trusted Source). IBS has no well-defined cause, but it is well known that diet can have a significant effect. Stress can also be a major contributor (6Trusted Source, 7, 8). According to some research, about 75% of people with IBS can benefit from a low-FODMAP diet (9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source). In many cases, they experience major reductions in symptoms and impressive improvements in quality of life (11Trusted Source). A low-FODMAP diet may also be beneficial for other functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGID) — a term that encompasses various digestive problems (1). In addition, some evidence suggests that it can be useful for people with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (12Trusted Source). If you are intolerant, then the benefits of a low-FODMAP diet may include (9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source):
    • Less gas
    • Less bloating
    • Less diarrhea
    • Less constipation
    • Less stomach pain
    It may also cause positive psychological benefits, as these digestive disturbances are known to cause stress and are strongly linked to mental disorders like anxiety and depression (13Trusted Source).
    Summary The low-FODMAP diet can improve symptoms and quality of life in many people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It also reduces symptoms of various other digestive disorders.
    Foods High in FODMAPs
    Here is a list of some common foods and ingredients that are high in FODMAPs (1, 14Trusted Source):
    • Fruits: Apples, applesauce, apricots, blackberries, boysenberries, cherries, canned fruit, dates, figs, pears, peaches, watermelon
    • Sweeteners: Fructose, honey, high fructose corn syrup, xylitol, mannitol, maltitol, sorbitol
    • Dairy products: Milk (from cows, goats and sheep), ice cream, most yogurts, sour cream, soft and fresh cheeses (cottage, ricotta, etc) and whey protein supplements
    • Vegetables: Artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, beetroot, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, garlic, fennel, leeks, mushrooms, okra, onions, peas, shallots
    • Legumes: Beans, chickpeas, lentils, red kidney beans, baked beans, soybeans
    • Wheat: Bread, pasta, most breakfast cereals, tortillas, waffles, pancakes, crackers, biscuits
    • Other grains: Barley and rye
    • Beverages: Beer, fortified wines, soft drinks with high-fructose corn syrup, milk, soy milk, fruit juices
    Foods You Can Eat on a Low-FODMAP Diet
    Keep in mind that the purpose of such a diet is not to completely eliminate FODMAPs — which is extremely difficult. Simply minimizing these types of carbs is considered sufficient to reduce digestive symptoms. There is a wide variety of healthy and nutritious foods that you can eat on a low-FODMAP diet, including (1, 14Trusted Source):
    • Meats, fish and eggs: These are well tolerated unless they have added high-FODMAP ingredients like wheat or high-fructose corn syrup
    • All fats and oils
    • Most herbs and spices
    • Nuts and seeds: Almonds, cashews, peanuts, macadamia nuts, pine nuts, sesame seeds (but not pistachios, which are high in FODMAPs)
    • Fruits: Bananas, blueberries, cantaloupe, grapefruit, grapes, kiwi, lemons, lime, mandarins, melons (except watermelon), oranges, passionfruit, raspberries, strawberries
    • Sweeteners: Maple syrup, molasses, stevia and most sugar alcohols
    • Dairy products: Lactose-free dairy products, hard cheeses and aged softer varieties like brie and camembert
    • Vegetables: Alfalfa, bell peppers, bok choy, carrots, celery, cucumbers, eggplant, ginger, green beans, kale, lettuce, chives, olives, parsnips, potatoes, radishes, spinach, spring onion (only green), squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, turnips, yams, water chestnuts, zucchini
    • Grains: Corn, oats, rice, quinoa, sorghum, tapioca
    • Beverages: Water, coffee, tea, etc.
    However, keep in mind that these lists are neither definitive nor exhaustive. Naturally, there are foods not listed here that are either high or low in FODMAPs. In addition, everyone is different. You may tolerate some foods on the list of foods to avoid — while noticing digestive symptoms from foods low in FODMAPs for other reasons.
    How to Do a Low-FODMAP Diet
    Many commonly consumed foods are high in FODMAPs. It’s generally recommended to completely eliminate all high-FODMAP foods for a few weeks. This diet is unlikely to work if you only eliminate some high-FODMAP foods but not others. If FODMAPs are the cause of your problems, then you may experience relief in as little as a few days. After a few weeks, you can reintroduce some of these foods — one at a time. This allows you to determine which food causes your symptoms. If you find that a certain type of food strongly upsets your digestion, you may want to permanently avoid it. It can be difficult to get started and follow a low-FODMAP diet on your own. Therefore, it’s recommended to seek the advice of a doctor or dietitian who is trained in this area. This may also help prevent unnecessary dietary restrictions, as certain tests can help determine whether you need to avoid the FODMAPs fructose and/or lactose.
    Summary It’s recommended to eliminate all high-FODMAP foods for a few weeks, then reintroduce some of them one at a time. It’s best to do this with the help of a qualified health professional.
    The Bottom Line
    FODMAPs are short-chain carbs that move through your intestines undigested. Many foods that contain FODMAPs are considered very healthy, and some FODMAPs function like healthy prebiotic fibers, supporting your friendly gut bacteria. Therefore, people who can tolerate these types of carbs should not avoid them. However, for people with a FODMAP intolerance, foods high in these carbs may cause unpleasant digestive issues and should be eliminated or restricted. If you frequently experience digestive upset that lowers your quality of life, FODMAPs should be on your list of top suspects. Though a low-FODMAP diet may not eliminate all digestive problems, chances are high that it may lead to significant improvements.
  • Narcissism Can Fuel Depression Or Depressive Symptoms, Research Finds
    February 11, 2020 at 09:17PM
    We all know those people who like themselves a little too much. But it might be surprising to learn there may be a deep unhappiness running beneath the confident facade. Narcissism—characterized by excessive interest in or admiration of oneself—can be incredibly hard for other people to deal with. But despite narcissists having an elevated sense of self-worth, a new study found they may actually be more prone to depression. According to a team of researchers from the University of British Columbia, the University of Sherbrooke, and Penn State University, it comes down to another characteristic of narcissism: emotional regulation, or lack thereof, and how narcissistic vulnerability makes people susceptible to depressive symptoms. Here’s what researchers found.

    Grandiosity versus vulnerability.

    To understand the relationship between pathological narcissism and depression, David Kealy Ph.D.; Olivier Laverdière, Ph.D.; and Aaron Pincus, Ph.D.; conducted a study on 99 psychiatric outpatients. They specifically wanted to examine how emotional processing and regulation affected narcissistic grandiosity and vulnerability, two qualifiers of a narcissist. “Grandiosity,” or an inflated sense of self-importance and superiority, is a classic sign of a narcissist that most people are familiar with, but another telltale sign that’s considered much less often is “narcissistic vulnerability.” Narcissistic vulnerability has a different effect than grandiosity, and it was also correlated with depression in the research. Imagine being self-absorbed but in a self-pitying, hypersensitive way, in which any actual or perceived slight is magnified and overreacted to. That’s essentially what narcissistic vulnerability looks like, and it can end up fueling depressive symptoms.
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    Narcissistic vulnerability contributes to depressive symptoms.

    Based on the findings, the researchers contend that narcissistic vulnerability can give rise to “persistent and intrusive” negative thoughts and feelings, which then contribute to depression or depressive symptoms. While the exact process isn’t fully understood, it’s thought that an inability to process and regulate emotions is related to the depressive symptoms observed in narcissists. More research is necessary to fully understand how narcissistic traits affect an individual, but it would seem that, like the rest of us, narcissists could benefit from mindfulness or emotional intelligence practices, to help identify when they’re being overly sensitive and process those feelings in a more rational way. But all hope is not lost for narcissists, by the way. Research has found self-absorbed behaviors, like being overly sensitive to criticism, generally decrease over time, suggesting narcissists can learn to self-regulate and change for the better.
    Author Sarah Regan | Life by Daily Burn Selected by CWC
  • Can’t Focus? Researchers Find What Distracts Us Most & We’re All Ears
    February 11, 2020 at 04:28PM
    Life seems to get more distracting every year. Between smartphone notifications, social media, and 24/7 news, it’s hard to stay focused on a single task. But which is more distracting, what we see or what we hear? New research from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences (MPI CBS) in Leipzig, Germany, and the Computational Neuroscience and Cognitive Robotics Centre at the University of Birmingham, in the U.K., around brain structures and sensory perceptions found that sound may be more of an attention-grabber than sight. Looks like it might be time to buy those noise-canceling headphones, after all! Researchers were looking to gain a deeper understanding of the brain and where our attention goes, specifically focusing on what parts of the brain were affected, as measured by MRI, when trying to focus on various stimuli. According to the research, “In our natural environment, our senses are exposed to a constant influx of sensory signals that arise from many different sources, but how the brain flexibly regulates information flow across the senses to enable effective interactions with the world remains unclear.” To test these questions, researchers administered brain scans to participants as they looked at various images and stimuli, assessing to see which areas of the brain were turning on and off. Participants looked at the visual stimuli and listened to the audio cues both separately and then together, and were tested being told to focus on just the images or just the sounds. Researchers found that visual areas of the brain were able to turn off when participants heard a sound, effectively showing that sound has the ability to draw our attention away from something that we’re looking at. Any research that provides new information about the layout of the brain helps scientists gain a deeper understanding of how it works, giving them the materials needed to treat any kind of disease affected by the brain. In a world full of constant stimulation, sights, and sounds, it can be good to know how these stimuli affect us in a more scientific sense. According to the study authors, “Our findings are crucial for understanding how the brain regulates information flow across senses to interact with our complex multisensory world.” They look to future studies to deepen this understanding, hoping to create a more detailed explanation of why these areas of the brain work differently and why auditory and visual stimuli are separate. In the meantime, if you’re struggling with staying focused, treat yourself to those noise-canceling headphones, and check out some of our best tips for boosting mental clarity and getting rid of brain fog.
    Author Christina Coughlin | Life by Daily Burn Selected by CWC
  • New Study Shows The Impact Of Alcoholism On The Brain, Even If You Don’t Drink
    February 11, 2020 at 03:29PM
    While scientists have recognized a link between genes and addiction, alcoholism is still largely misunderstood and hard to predict. In fact, even those who can manage their drinking or avoid alcohol altogether can still be affected by their family’s history of drinking—and not just emotionally. A study published in NeuroImage found participants with a family history of alcoholism lacked a specific function in the brain, often associated with addiction and alcoholism. Researchers from Purdue University and the Indiana University School of Medicine analyzed the brains of 54 individuals and found typical brains undergo a process of “reconfiguration” after completing a mentally demanding task. But those with family histories of alcoholism skipped that phase.

    What is reconfiguration?

    Researcher Joaquín Goñi, Ph.D., compared the process to closing a computer program when you’re finished using it. It allows the computer to remove the program from its memory, reorganize, and prepare for the next task, Goñi explained. “In a similar way, we’ve found that this reconfiguration process in the human brain is associated with finishing a task and getting ready for what’s next.” But in the brains of people with a family history of alcoholism, the resetting phase is skipped. Instead, they transition straight from active brain to resting brain.
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    How did the researchers find this?

    About half of the participants had “a parent who had enough symptoms to constitute an alcohol use disorder.” Using a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner, they measured participants’ brain activity as they completed a mentally demanding task. While resting, they were asked to stare at a fixed point on a screen. Outside of the MRI, participants were surveyed on reward-impatience—a trait of alcoholism and addiction—by answering questions like, “Would you like $20 now or $200 in one year?” Those with family histories of alcoholism lacked the reconfiguration phase, even if they themselves had a healthy relationship with alcohol or didn’t drink at all. “In the past, we’ve assumed that a person who doesn’t drink excessively is a ‘healthy’ control for a study,” Goñi said. “But this work shows that a person with just a family history of alcoholism may also have some subtle differences in how their brains operate.”

    How does this affect someone with a genetic history of alcoholism?

    Lacking this transition does not affect a person’s performance during the mentally demanding task; however, it might lead to other behaviors associated with addiction, including reward-impatience. Understanding how strongly family history plays a role in brain functioning could lead researchers one step closer to understanding addiction. Along with genetic predispositions, researchers have found sadness might be at the root of addictive behaviors.
    Author Abby Moore | Life by Daily Burn Selected by CWC


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