Women are deprived of sanitary products, such as tampons and pads, leaving them to bleed all over themselves and suffer humiliation. Women are given 2 pads for the duration of their period. “Prisons control their wards by keeping sanitation just out of reach. Stains on clothes seep into self-esteem and serve as an indelible reminder of one’s powerlessness in prison.”
At the opening ceremonies of the 2016 International AIDS Conference, the actress, who founded the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project in 2007, asked the audience why so many people are still infected with HIV each year — and why so many still die of AIDS-related causes.
“The truth is, we have every tool we need to prevent the spread of HIV: condoms, PrEP, PEP, ART [antiretroviral therapy], awareness, education,” Theron said. “And yet 2.1 million people — 150,000 of them children — were infected with HIV last year. In South Africa alone, 180,000 people died of AIDS last year.” Theron’s figures align with those from the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, or UNAIDS.
“The real reason we haven’t beaten this epidemic boils down to one simple fact: We value some lives more than others,” Theron said. “We value men more than women. Straight love more than gay love. White skin more than black skin. The rich more than the poor. And adults more than adolescents.”
“I know this because AIDS does not discriminate on its own,” Theron continued. “It has no biological preference for black bodies, for women’s bodies, for gay bodies, for youth or the poor. It doesn’t single out the vulnerable, the oppressed or the abused.
“We ignore them,” she said. “We let them suffer, and then we let them die.”
Glad to see celebrities using their influence on social issues such as this one.
When I need to have a very productive day, I tell myself it’s going to be easy. I am really good at that part!
I’ll just wake up early, grab a big cup of coffee, and then begin powering through my to-do list. Maybe I’ll break for a meal, or a stretch, or a quick conversation with a coworker. But I’ll truck on, energy unwavering until bedtime, where I’ll promptly fall asleep for eight, wonderful, uninterrupted hours of sleep.
Cool fantasy, self. Real life rarely (if ever) is that picture-perfect. Our bodies aren’t designed to operate at a constant 100% efficiency level.
So if you want to be more productive throughout the day, you’re better off relegating certain activities to certain times, and devoting yourself to doing those activities at those times.
And to make sure you get the right things done at the right times of day, you can lean on a plethora of different free or relatively cheap apps and tools. (After all, some things are better together.)
Below, are some of the highest-rated and often-recommended productivity apps for each part of the day. Check ’em out, and find your “and.”
Great Apps That Will Keep You Productive Morning, Noon & Night
Price: Free, with subscriptions available on iPhone, Android, Web
Starting your day off with a quick meditation session can be a great way to gear up for the day — even scientists say so. According to a 2012 study, people who mediated “stayed on tasks longer and made fewer task switches, as well as reporting less negative feedback after task performance.”
Sold … but not sure how to get started? I’d highly recommend downloading Headspace. It gives you 10 free guided meditation sessions, and if you end up getting hooked, you can sign up for a monthly subscription.
Price: Prompts is $2.99 on iPhone; Writing Challenge is $1.89 on Android
You may have heard about the benefits of writing something — anything — in the morning. But actually making morning freewriting a reality can be a challenge. How do you actually find something to write about when you’ve barely had time to make your coffee?
Why, by downloading a writing prompts app, of course. Prompts and Writing Challenge are both great options. They give you a jumping-off point for a piece, and then let you dive right into writing. Prompts is especially cool for folks who like to track their habits to stay motivated because it offers some basic analytics for you to analyze your writing habit progress.
Price: Free, with premium subscriptions available on iPhone, Android, Web
You don’t have to actually write your to-do lists in the morning, but you should definitely take a look at them before you dive into your work. And if your to-do list is cluttered and confusing, you’ll end up losing precious time to reorganizing and reprioritizing it.
To prevent that from happening, I’d highly suggest a tool like Todoist. Lindsay Kolowich recently introduced it, and it’s completely transformed the way to keep track of what you need to accomplish. It allows you to add deadlines and labels to each list item, and then automatically sorts your whole to-do list by what you have to accomplish that day. This helps you keep you on top of what you need to accomplish in a given day, and prevents you from getting sidetracked by down-the-road projects.
Price: Free, with premium subscriptions available on iPhone, Android, Web
After you set your own to-do list, chances are, you’ll need to check in with your teammates about what’s on their plate for the day. One super easy way to do this — especially when you have a remote team — is by using an app called Jell.
Instead of calling a 30-minute meeting to debrief on what everyone’s doing, you simply fill out a form in Jell and it gets sent to the rest of your team. (If you’re using Slack, it has a handy integration to have these messages posted in there, too.)
Price: $10/month on iPhone and Web; Android coming soon
Fast-forward a few hours, and chances are, you’ll have a block of meetings on your plate. (That is, after all, the best time of day to have them.) But if you’re going to take time out of your day for meetings, they’d better be productive. There’s nothing worse than wasting a bunch of people’s time on something that could be handled over email.
Yep, a tool can help you with that too. Do can help you keep yours more organized and actionable — that way, no one’s wasting time sitting in unnecessary meetings. If you’re looking for a free option, Solid (available on Web only) is a great choice.
Price: Free, with premium subscriptions available on Web
When your attention starts to wane, it can be hard to get things done. For many people, that tends to happen in the afternoon.
Turns out, this can be a good thing: When you’re less focused, you have more room to be creative. So the afternoon is a great time for brainstorming, collaboration, and breaking through cognitive barriers.
If you and your team are feeling particularly creative one afternoon, a great tool to consider using is Stormboard. It allows everyone to easily brainstorm and collaborate — even if they aren’t in the same room. Then, you can prioritize the best ideas to be put in action at a later date.
But what if you’re not focused or feeling creative? You’ve got to get work done, but you’re feeling … stuck.
Unstuck can help. It’s an app that acts like an in-the-moment personal coach. It’ll ask you a series of questions to unearth what exactly is blocking you, and then give you steps to get through that block. Having this “outside” perspective can be a game-changer to breaking through some seriously inhibiting time-sucks.
Price: Quartz is free on iPhone; Inside is free on iPhone, Android, Web
When you’ve been in the weeds all day getting important projects done, it can be tempting to take some time to catch up on what you missed in the news.
The trouble is, those reading breaks can sometimes get unruly. That 15 minutes you thought would be enough turns into 45 minutes of reading, and you’re suddenly late for your train home.
To feel in-the-know about the day without breaking your productivity streak, try catching up via your favorite news summary app. Mine is from Quartz: It’s a chat-themed news summary app that’s quickly become a staple of my phone’s home screen. A few quick clicks, and I’m on my way to catching a ride home.
Everyone has their favorite time of day to work out, but science says that your lung function peaks around 5 p.m. So if you want to squeeze in a quick workout sometime in your day, right before dinner might be the trick.
If you don’t have a regular routine or are just trying to do something fast, I’d recommend checking out J&J’s 7 Minute Workout app. You can pick from their programs or design one of your own, and all can be done in less than 30 minutes.
Price: Podcasts is free on iPhone; Sticher is free on iPhone, Android, Web
Chances are, you’ll have spent most of your day looking at things. Reading on the computer. Watching slides on the projector. Scanning news on your phone. So when you leave work, you should strengthen one of your other senses, such as your listening comprehension. It’s an underdeveloped skill — especially in adults — but it can have huge a huge on our professional and personal lives.
If you want to strengthen your listening skills, try playing a few podcast episodes on your phone on your commute home. If you have an iPhone, you have a Podcasts app already built in. Otherwise, you can access them through Stitcher.
If you don’t love the idea of actually penning your ideas and experiences to paper, you can use Grid Diary or Journey. Both allow you to not only capture written recaps of your day, but also add photos to your entries. Plus, they both have built-in prompts — so even on the most hectic of days, you can distill some insights for your future self.
Price: $4.99 on iPhone; Free with in-app purchases on Android
Finally. You’ve made it through the day and kept yourself productive all the way through. You take a moment to celebrate … but then realize that tomorrow’s to-do list is already jam-packed. You need a good night’s sleep, and you need it now.
Sleep Genius might be the cure. The app has built-in relaxation techniques and gentle alarms to wake you up at a natural moment in your sleep cycle, helping make sure you feel rested come morning.
After all, if you’re feeling sluggish the next day, even the best apps might not be effective. (But that cup of coffee might do the trick.)
What are your favorite productivity tools for different times of day? Share with us in the comments.
Within the next five to ten years, it would probably be possible to make a new infective micro-organism which could differ in certain important aspects from any known disease-causing organism.
MacArthur claimed the disease would be resistant to “the immunological and therapeutic processes upon which we depend to maintain our relative freedom from infection and disease.” And testified it would require $10 million to develop.
AIDS first surfaced within MacArthur’s estimated “five to 10 years” and is the only disease to fulfill the definition.
The first cases of AIDS were traced to gay men in 1979 Manhattan—3-years before the African epidemic was recognized in 1982—countering claims it originated in there.
KS was labeled the “gay cancer” and reported to also originate from a primate virus jumping species in Africa.
A 1974 government initiative encouraged gay men in Manhattan (especially promiscuous ones) to participate in an experimental hepatitis B vaccine being developed by Merck and the National Institute of Health
Tens of thousands of gay men were screened and 1,083 of them were subsequently selected to test the vaccine.
Beginning in 1978, groups of gay men were inoculated at the New York Blood Center.
The hepatitis B studies extended to clinics in San Francisco in 1978.
By 1980 additional clinics in Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago and St Louis were also seeking participants for similar programs
The vaccine was made from the combined blood of 30 gay men who carried the hepatitis B virus.
During development it was injected into chimpanzees known to be infected with the simian cancer causing SV40—The same virus that contaminated the polio vaccine between 1955 and 1961
By December 1981, 121 people in the USA had died of AIDS with victims hailing from San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles.
The dead would have been infected at least 2-years prior, ie: 1979—none of them had ever been to Africa or eaten primates
No blood stored anywhere in the U.S. prior to 1978 had tested positive for HIV or the KS virus.
Before 1978 there were no cases of AIDS and no cases of Kaposi’s Sarcoma recorded.
20% of the gay men who volunteered for the experiment in NYC were found to be HIV positive in 1980—a whole year before AIDS was officially recognized in 1981
By 1984 over 40% of NYC gay men were found to be HIV positive.
20% of samples taken in 1982 tested positive for KS2 herpes-8 when re-tested in 1999
The hepatitis B vaccine proved to be a success—protecting 96% of the men—however the vaccine was contaminated
If you are someone who likes to sleep in a specific position, and sleeping in any other way directly means no sleep at all to you, don’t fret, you are not alone. Women’s sleep patterns say a lot about them and there are many other women who are just like you. Wanting us to count the numbers? Every single one on this planet. However, your sleeping position also says a lot about you whether you sleep straight or relaxed as a baby, it reveals your secrets, let us tell you what.
#1 Sleeping Freefall.
You are a person having a welcoming personality if you nap on your stomach with your hands tucked under your pillow. But, you can be really sensitive sometimes.
#2 You Have To Hug Something?
Need something to hug when sleeping? You are trusting and a little bit TOO open with others. You are also a trustworthy friend.
#3 Sleeping Like A Straight Board.
This position implies that you are a very quite and reserved person. You also think highly of yourself which by the way is a great trait
#4 Side Logger.
You’re a calm as well as a trusting person, a little bit too trusting if we say so
#5 The snorer.
You get irritated a lot, maybe because you don’t get a lot of sleep.
Thankfully, we’re all healthy enough to be alive, breathing and reading a blog. But, honestly, it’s still been 21 days and no fix for the new year. How many times have you told yourself that you would no longer be a slave to any circumstance or behavior for the new year?
Exactly how many times did you pre-condition your mind for a challenge, no matter how daunting the fete? Did you also tell yourself that this time you will make it or break it, only to turn around and further convince yourself it’s okay to fail? All else has failed and you are sticking to the old you. Whomever doesn’t like it, phooey on them?
The fact is; it happens! Don’t perpetuate falsehoods stating that it doesn’t. That trick won’t work. It’s called a Jedi mind trick. Smile. Really, old habits are just hard to break.. PERIOD. When situations are tough, the human response is to revert to doing what we already know and feels comfortable and safe.
We have been told for years that a habit is formed by practicing something consecutively over a 21 day span. Many may have even heard of the popular fitness regime “21 Day Fix”. Is it even possible to break a habit in 21 days?
The fact is this, any classic behavioral pattern can be developed if repeated over a course of time. Have you ever stopped to think about how this could possibly work for everyone? Another interesting fact is how 2 people can have the very same objective and different outcomes within the same amount of time. Well, this is because we are all very different and thus, our brains adaptive levels vary.
The overall notion surrounding the process of how to break a bad habit in 21 Days is first recognized from a self-help book published in 1970 entitled “Psycho Cybernetics”. This book is a collection of supporting information based on personal experiences, but were not exactly clinical. The theory caught on and became popular opinion and later backed by forums such as “Reader’s Digest” in the early 80’s.
No matter the struggle, just in case you haven’t been fixed by the 21st day of your new attempt at breaking old habits; it may help all of us to keep in mind that it is a lot easier to make a habit then it is to break a habit. The simple explanation to that is, even though our pattern(s) can weaken without use, the will never go away. They can be reactivated with the slightest of provocation. The best way to counter this is with a new pattern. Form a new response to old urges. Remember, we’re all in this together. Here’s to next 21 Days and the better you!
If you were able to find the value in this article, kindly leave a comment or share it with someone else who is able to benefit from words of encouragement. Thank you.
Not that I’m from Illinois or anything like that. However, often times you may have heard me talk about how delicious popcorn is to me. It can be a little irritating when it gets stuck between your teeth and all, but the taste is so yummy. In case you didn’t know, today is National Popcorn Day and what better way to share my enthusiasm with The Sparklers. Did you even know that Popcorn is healthy for you? Well, here is everything that I know about POPCORN and more than likely several things that you didn’t know. Yes, I understand it’s mad random..but, the fact that you would’ve never expected it should make it equally as fun! So enjoy learning about one of my favs…
Americans eat around 17 billion quarts of popcorn every year. This amount would fill the Empire State Building 18 times.d
Nebraska produces an estimated 250 million pounds of popcorn per year—more than any other state. This is equivalent to a quarter of all the popcorn the United States produces every year.d
Popcorn is the official snack of Illinois. Since 1958, there has been an annual “Popcorn Day.”d
Popcorn is a healthy snack for diabetics
Both the American Dietetic Association and the American Diabetes Association say that popcorn can be exchanged for bread for people on weight control diets.d
Unpopped popcorn should not be stored in the refrigerator. The refrigerator will dry out the moisture in the kernels. Without the moisture, popcorn will not pop. The ideal place to store popcorn is in a cool, dry cupboard.c
Popcorn kernels can pop up to 3 feet in the air.b
Popcorn has more protein than any other cereal grain. It also has more iron than eggs or roast beef. It has more fiber than pretzels or potato chips.d
The world’s largest popcorn ball was 12 feet in diameter and weighed 5,000 pounds. It required 2,000 pounds of corn, 40,000 pounds of sugar, 280 gallons of corn syrup, and 400 gallons of water.d
Two tablespoons of unpopped kernels produce a quart of popcorn for about 25 cents.b
There are about 1,600 popcorn kernels in 1 cup.b
Theaters usually sell snowflake-shaped popcorn
Popped popcorn comes in two shapes: “snowflake” or “mushroom.” Because “snowflake” shaped popcorn is bigger, movie theaters typically sell that shape.d
Orville Redenbacher is the #1 best-selling popcorn in the world. Its inventor, Orville, began to grow popping corn in 1919, when he was just 12 years old.f
By volume, popcorn is America’s favorite snack food.c
In ancient times, people would make popcorn by heating sand in a fire and then stirring kernels of popcorn in the hot sand.f
When explorer Felix de Azara visited Paraguay in the 18th century, he noted that the people would place kernels on a tassel and then when it was boiled in fat or oil, the grains would burst. Women would adorn their hair at night with the popcorn.f
Approximately 70% of popcorn sold in America is eaten in the home. The other 30% is eaten in theaters, stadiums, school, etc.c
Unpopped popcorn makes up about 90% of sales for home consumption.c
Autumn is the peak time for popcorn consumption, followed by the winter months. Popcorn sales taper off during the spring and summer.c
Americans eat more popcorn than any other country. Most of the popcorn eaten around the world is grown in the United States.c
Unpopped popcorn kernels are called “spinsters” or “old maids.” Quality popcorn should produce 98% popped kernels with under 2% being spinsters.d
While it is a popular story, there is no evidence that Native Americans brought the Pilgrims popcorn at the Thanksgiving dinner. While Native Americans in South America, Central America, and the southwestern region of the U.S ate popcorn, there is no evidence that Native Americans in Massachusetts or Virginia did.f
There are six major maize types: pod corn, sweet corn, flour corn, dent corn, flint corn, and popcorn. Popcorn kernels come in three shapes: rice, pearl, and South American. Most commercial popcorn is the pearl type. The major trait shared by all types of popcorn kernels is their ability to explode and create a flake when kernels are exposed to heat.f
Contrary to popular belief, popcorn is not the only corn able to pop. Many flint and dent corns also pop, but their flakes are smaller. Additionally, some varieties of rice, milo, millet, and sorghum also pop. Some varieties of quinoa, a sacred Incan food, also pops like popcorn, as does amaranth.f
A kernel of popcorn contains just a small amount of water. When these kernels are heated, the water turns to steam and the kernels “pop.” Popcorn is different than many other grains because its shell is not water permeable, making it possible for pressure to build up until the kernel finally explodes.f
Microwave popcorn was invented in 1945
An American electronics expert, Perry Spencer, invented microwave popcorn. When he paused in front of a power tube called a magnetron in 1945, he felt a “weird” feeling and noticed that the tube had melted a chocolate candy bar he had in his pocket. He decided to see if it would pop popcorn, which it did.f
American businessman Charles Cretors invented large-scale commercial popcorn machines in 1893. His was the first automated machine that could pop popcorn in its own seasonings uniformly.f
Evidence in Peru suggests that popcorn existed as early as 4700 B.C., making it one of the oldest forms of corn. Peruvians didn’t just pop their corn; they also ground it into flour to cook in other ways.e
The world’s oldest known popper, a shallow vessel with a handle and hole on top was designed around A.D. 300. The first popcorn machine made its debut 1,500 years later at the 1893 World’s Fair (Columbian Exposition) in Chicago.d
The Aztecs used popcorn during ceremonies. Several young women would dance a “popcorn dance” with popcorn garlands on their heads. They also used popcorn as decoration for ceremonial headdresses, necklaces, and ornaments on statues of their gods.f
While other businesses failed during the Great Depression, the popcorn business thrived. Popcorn sold at around 5 to 10 cents a bag, making it one of the more affordable (and possibly life saving) treats for poor families.f
Because sugar was strictly rationed during WWII, candy was not plentiful. Consequently, Americans ate three times as much popcorn during this time as usual.f
When televisions became popular in the early 1950s, popcorn sales decreased because people stayed home to watch movies rather than go to a theater. However, when popcorn was more readily available at home, popcorn again became popular.f
Popcorn kernels, like those of all cereal, have three major components: the germ or embryo, the endosperm, and the outer hull called the pericarp.b
American Indians used to believe that spirits peacefully lived inside each popcorn kernel. When the kernels were heated, the spirits would get so angry that their “houses” would start to shake. When it got too hot, the spirits broke out of their houses in a very angry burst of steam.f
The oldest ear of popcorn was found in a bat cave in Mexico in 1948. It is believed to be over 5,000 years old.f
Grains of popcorn around 1,000 years old have been found in tombs in Peru. The kernels are so well preserved that they can still be popped.e
A 1,000-year-old popped kernel of popcorn was found in a dry cave in the southwestern part of Utah.f
A 1,700-year-old funeral urn was discovered in Mexico that shows a corn god wearing a popcorn headdress.f
Native Americans not only ate popcorn, but they made beer and soup out of it too.f
In its true form, popcorn is a healthy snack, even a super food
Popped corn contains large amounts of protein, vitamins, and minerals. Among other health benefits, popped corn helps build bones and muscle tissues and assists in digestion. It is also rich in antioxidants (polyphenols). Most of the nutrients are found in the “hull” or shell rather than the fluffy, white part. However, popcorn that has too much butter, oil, or salt compromises its health benefits.d
A cup of plain popcorn contains just 31 calories.b
Bizarre popcorn flavors include Beer-flavored Pub-Corn, Yo-Pop’s Butterfinger Crunch Popcorn, KukuRuZa’s Buffalo Blue Cheese Popcorn, Popcorn Palace’s Jalapeno popcorn, Jolly Time’s Mallow Magic Yummy Marshmallow Flavor Microwave Popcorn, Popcorn Pavilion’s Brown Butter & Sea Salt Popcorn, Kernel Encore’s Pumpkin popcorn, Popcornopolis’ Cupcake popcorn, and 479˚ Popcorn’s Black Truffle and White Cheddar popcorn.a
The scientific name for popcorn is Zea Mays Everta. It is a type of maize, a member of the Maydeae tribe in the large, natural order of grasses called the Graminae.f
Native Americans would use dried herbs and spices and even chili as popcorn flavorings.f
Popcorn has been sold in theaters since 1912. It has been a big money maker not only because popcorn is overpriced, but also because people usually get thirsty and, consequently, buy sodas or water as well.d
In movie theaters, for every dollar spent on popcorn, about 90 cents is profit.d
Maize (corn) is the second largest crop in the world, and the largest in the United States. Popcorn is approximately two one-thousandths percent of the total crop.d
More than 200 million boxes of Cracker Jack caramel-coated popcorn are consumed every year in the U.S. alone.d
The ideal popping temperature for popcorn is 400-460° Fahrenheit. A kernel will pop, on average, when it reaches 347° Fahrenheit.d
10 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Happier Every Day
Try being happy instead.
Regardless of who you are, what you do, or how much money you have, life in this world will never be perfect. People die, accidents happen, and things break. Even so, it’s possible to feel more contented and fulfilled, regardless of your circumstances. Here’s what science has to say about the matter.
1. Pamper yourself at work to be happier and more productive.
It’s a fact that happier people are more productive. Researchers in the U.K. last year published a study (PDF) that found employees who either watched 10 minutes of comedy on video or spent the same amount of time relaxing with delicious snacks were happier and as a result demonstrated higher productivity than their peers who merely worked.
2. If possible, choose unemployment over a job you hate.
Before dismissing this crazy advice, look at some of the stats compiled by polling and consumer insights company CivicScience, which surveyed more than 262,000 people regarding their levels of happiness. Those who are “very happy” in a job are 21 times more likely to be satisfied with life overall. Alternately, folks who say they are “very unhappy” at work are 122 percent more likely to be unhappy. Oddly, unemployed people are 88 percent more likely to be unhappy–a rotten number, but not as bad as the one associated with miserable workers. “That suggests, when considering the previous statement about job satisfaction,” CivicScience writes in its blog, “that it may be worse to work in a job you hate than to be unemployed.”
3. Let the happiness of others rub off on you.
It’s weird science, but a few years ago researchers in the Netherlands proved humans transfer negative emotions such as fear and disgust to each other via the odor of chemicals in sweat. Recently a handful of European researchers demonstrated that the same is true for happiness–it can be transferred to others by means of smell. Besmart and gravitate toward the most contented and positive people in your life, while avoiding complainers, pessimists, and naysayers.
4. Strive for experiences, not amassing stuff.
But what kinds of experiences? Researchers who published a study (PDF) in the University of Chicago Press found that it depends on your age. Younger people tend to define happiness in terms of states of high arousal, and get their bliss from doing extraordinary, uncommon things such as skydiving or taking a remarkable vacation. Older folks receive more enjoyment from ordinary pleasures such as an affectionate embrace from a loved one, or a cold drink on a hot day. Why the difference? When people believe the time they have left in life is short, their threshold for happiness is lower.
5. Have frequent, monogamous sex.
Big shocker: Yet another study (PDF) has found that people who have frequent high-quality sex with the same person are happier. There’s karma for cheaters, as well: Extramarital sex lowers happiness.
6. Don’t expect having kids to make you happy.
You could argue that having a family ultimately bolsters a person’s support system, thereby affecting long-term happiness. Yet a study (PDF) published in the journal Demography says the happiness parents experience before and after a first or second child’s birth is temporary and transitory. And by the third child’s birth, there’s no uptick in happiness whatsoever.
7. Invest in your friendships.
Citing more than a dozen studies on the subject, Happify.com put together an infographic with a wealth of data showing a correlation between strong social ties and happiness. Need help reinforcing your friendships? It’s simple–help others know you remember them. Send friends a postcard when you’re traveling, a text message for no reason whatsoever, or a phone call on a birthday. And of course, be there in good and bad times.
8. Take care of your body.
A plethora of studies have shown a correlation between happiness and exercise, adequate sleep, and a healthy diet. Don’t like running or lifting weights? Biking can be a relatively easy way to drop pounds and strengthen leg muscles. Throw in 25 pushups a day, and you’re doing vastly better than just sitting around. To get better sleep, avoid using electronic devices or television in the bedroom just prior to hitting the sheets. As for diet, three simple rules can help: Avoid all soda (including diet), never eat fast food, and infuse more fresh vegetables and less bread into your daily menu.
9. Know that married people are happier than singles.
It’s especially true if your spouse is also your best friend, found a study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The study found marriage helps to mitigate the stress people often feel during midlife, a time period which often involves a U-shaped drop in life satisfaction. It’s something to think about, considering that the number of adults in the U.S. who have never tied the knot is at an all-time high.
10. Train yourself to be happy.
According to the World Happiness Report 2015, published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, happier people are better able to sustain positive emotion, recover faster from negative events, demonstrate empathy and altruism, and exhibit mindfulness. “The circuits we identify as underlying these four constituents of well-being all exhibit plasticity, and thus can be transformed through experience and training,” the report states. For help training yourself to be happy, check out Greater Good in Action, a new online resource offering dozens of science-based exercises that can help boost your sense of well-being.
Our jaws are on the FLOOR! At 45-years-old, Jennifer Lopez STUNS the world by…
Jennifer Lopez looks absolutely incredible on the cover of Us Weekly‘s “Best Bodies” issue.
The Idol judge and 45-year-old mother of seven-year-old twins dons a sexy black cutout swimsuit with gold detail.
Inside the issue, Jennifer makes a declaration that few of us can make as we age. The entertainer says that she looks better now than she did in her twenties.
“I see pictures of myself in my twenties and go, ‘Oh, I look better now!’”
Jennifer also shares that embracing who you are helps with confidence and a healthy body image.
“I think a healthy body image comes from being the best you, not competing with anybody else. You know, I’m not a 6-foot tall model… I’m not a size 2. I think it’s about focusing on yourself and just trying to be the best you.”
WATCHbehind-the-scenes footage of Jennifer’s Us Weeklyshoot below.
For many people living with this common disease, the most debilitating symptoms are shame and isolation.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one out of six people in the United States aged 14 to 49 have genital herpes caused by the HSV-2 infection (the herpes simplex virus often responsible for genital herpes). The overall genital herpes statistic is probably higher, the CDC stated, since many people are also contracting genital herpes through oral sex caused by HSV-1 (the kind of herpes usually responsible for cold sores). Taking that into account, genital herpes statistics are usually quoted at closer to 25 percent for women and 10 percent for men, but most of these people don’t even know they have it.
In terms of a person’s health, genital herpes is usually nothing to worry about. According to the National Institutes of Health, many people with genital herpes never even have outbreaks or their outbreaks decrease over time (one or two outbreaks a year is not uncommon). The virus can lie dormant in your system for years without coming to the surface. The initial outbreak is often the worst, occurring a few days to a couple of weeks after being infected. Symptoms may include a fever, headache, and muscle aches for a few weeks. But for the most part, outbreaks consist of painful fever blisters or sores on or near the genitals (or, in less common cases, sores appearing elsewhere) for a few days, as well as burning, itching, swelling, and irritation that may be triggered by stress or fatigue. The virus never goes away, and some take antiviral medicines to relieve or suppress outbreaks.
The only times that having genital herpes can be dangerous are when having sex with someone who has HIV (since it can increase your chances of getting HIV) and during pregnancy. A genital herpes outbreak during the third trimester of pregnancy and during delivery may be deadly for the baby if he or she contracts it from the mother (neonatal herpes, it’s called), but it’s incredibly rare (one per 3,000 to 20,000 live births) and preventable with medication and a C-section, according to an article published in American Family Physician.
Genital herpes is contracted during sexual contact, usually spread through fluids on the genitals or mouth. You can only get genital herpes from someone who already has it, can get it during just one sexual encounter, and can get it with or without a condom. Condoms merely lower your risk, according to the CDC. You can even get it if the other person doesn’t have symptoms, since the virus sheds about 10 percent of the time for asymptomatic HSV-2 infections, according to a 2011 study published in the Journal of American Medical Association.
Film and TV no doubt keep the stigma alive. Almost every Judd Apatow movie includes a joke about herpes.
Herpes has a unique stigma among sexually transmitted diseases. HIV/AIDS is stigmatized, but few laugh at people who have it because it’s a serious illness.HPV can lead to cancer, on occasion, and women get tested regularly for it, making it no joke to most. Chlamydia, syphilis, crabs, scabies, and gonorrhea are sometimes the target of jokes, but these STDS are typically curable, so people won’t have to endure the annoyance for too long. Genital herpes, though, isn’t curable, is thought of as a disease only the promiscuous and cheating-types get, and is a popular joke topic.Despite the fact that herpes has been around since the time of the Ancient Greeks, according to Stanford University, the widespread stigma seems to be just decades old. Herpes is the “largest epidemic no one wants to talk about,” Eric Sabo wrote in the New York Times. Both Project Accept and HSV Singles Dating blame an antiviral drug marketing campaign during the late 1970s to mid-1980s for herpes’ stigma. But it’s difficult to pin down exactly when and why our negative associations started.
Regardless of where the stigma came from, film and TV no doubt keep it alive. Leah Berkenwald pointed out in an article for Scarleteen that almost every Judd Apatow movie includes a joke about herpes. Living Sphere has a large list of films, TV shows, and books that mention genital herpes, with many of the films and TV shows poking fun at people who have it. Sometimes the jokes directly suggest people with genital herpes are whores or cheaters or they indirectly make the connection, such as the classic Hangover line, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Except for herpes.” The prevalence of these jokes can keep people with genital herpes from opening up.
Jennifer Lemons, a 42-year-old writer and comedian from Richmond, Virginia, isn’t offended when she hears herpes jokes, but says she used to be more sensitive before she got the facts. She’s come to peace with her genital herpes, which she was diagnosed with three years ago, after feeling shame about it. Once she realized how common it was and how you can get it after just one sexual encounter, she began sharing those facts to combat herpes jokes.
“If people had all the info, it wouldn’t be funny anymore,” Lemons said. “You have to figure, if indeed the stat is one in four, and you’re telling a joke at a party where there are 20 people, there are probably a couple people there who are not calling you out, but whose feelings are hurt.”
“They begin thinking of uncomfortable conversations with people they’ll have to have and whether they’ll pass it along to the next person.”
Lemons approaches her romantic life pragmatically: “If you don’t like it, don’t date me,” she’ll say to guys. Lemons was married and her then-husband considered and researched the condition before agreeing to date her. She never gave it to him, since they used condoms, took medicine, and avoided sexual contact during her outbreaks—which for her usually occur on her back and waistline.
Not every guy Lemons dated has been cool with it, though. She always discloses the condition on the second date, after realizing she likes the guy enough to go out again. One guy Lemons dated said he was okay with her herpes, but it became obvious after the first time they had sex that he was inspecting her genitals and “disguising it as foreplay,” Lemons said.
“I finally asked, ‘Find what you were looking for?’” Lemons said. “I was a little angry and hurt and he was really embarrassed. He did admit that he was looking for signs based on what he’d read on the Internet… It was obvious he wasn’t ready for a sexual relationship with me.”
Others have dealt with their diagnoses much more harshly than Lemons. An entire spectrum of diagnosis responses can be found in a Topix.com forum that was posted in 2009 and still receives comments to this day. The boy who posted it, then 16, was having trouble accepting his diagnosis and was looking for advice. The next five years of responses include people sharing advice and their own stories, as well as people threatening to spread the disease or saying it’s a curse from God for sinful promiscuity. One girl asked, “What’s the point of living?” Many expressed a desire to be loved and accepted and the fear that they’ll never experience those joys again. Some couldn’t accept the permanence of it. One girl waited until marriage to have sex and got it from her husband and another got it after being raped.
Dr. Christopher Lewis, a family medicine doctor in the Austin, Texas area, has diagnosed genital herpes many times and has seen a variety of responses from patients, ranging from “it makes sense” to “my life is over.” Denial and anger are at the top of the list of initial responses.
“It could be a very confusing time period for them,” Lewis said. “They start thinking back to all the sex partners they had to see who they could’ve gotten it from. Then there’s a level of fear and guilt that ‘Maybe I gave it to someone else and don’t realize it.’ Then they begin thinking of uncomfortable conversations with people they’ll have to have and whether they’ll pass it along to the next person.”
All of this insecurity is over a skin condition that doesn’t show up most or even all of the year.
There are many dating sites for people with genital herpes, a Herpes Resource Center Hotline (for counseling and information) and in-person and online support groups. Aimee Wood, a psychotherapist in Philadelphia, has been running one of these support groups since fall 2011.
Every other week, between six and 10 people crowd in a room with Wood to discuss the trials and tribulations of their herpes diagnosis. Topics range from how to respond when hit with a herpes joke (give the facts if you don’t want to out yourself, Wood advises them) to forgiving the person who gave it to you (though very few know who they got it from). Disclosure is a frequent topic of discussion in the group.
“We discuss the pros and cons of disclosing too soon versus too late, and it’s clear that there’s a fine line between waiting until there’s a little bit of a rapport so they can see you as a person, and having sex,” Wood said.
Wood’s patients rarely have issues when disclosing to family and friends. One girl’s father struggled to accept it and would make snarky comments and even blame her for having it. But nine times out of 10, Wood said, friends and family are supportive and sympathetic. The most common struggle among her patients is navigating romantic situations (which many delay or avoid altogether).
Another common struggle among her patients is maintaining their sense of self-worth.
“We do a self-esteem exercise with a crumpled $20 bill, where I ask clients to go around the room and beat it, write on it, and stomp on it, while still keeping it intact,” Wood said. “Then I ask them how much it’s worth. Still $20, they’ll say.’”
All of this insecurity, discouragement, rejection, tears, anger, counseling, suicidal tendencies, humiliation, shame, and isolation is caused by the stigma of a skin condition that usually doesn’t show up most or even all of the year and can be contracted after having protected sex one time. Can the stigma of genital herpes really survive the facts? Peckham and Lemons don’t think so.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
JON FORTENBURY is a freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. His work has appeared in USA Today College and Forbes.