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CREATURES OF HABIT Confessions of the things we cannot help but do


NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING


NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING


CREATURES OF HABIT

“Successful people are simply those with successful habits” - Brian Tracy -


Nail Biting Smoking Over Spending Procrastinating Gossiping Hair Pulling Untidiness Swearing Over Eating Other...

Here we expose the reasons and anecdotes for why we have the bad habits that we do. Read the scientific explanations and suggested strategies to help quit our bad habits for good. Perhaps you have a story you would like to share and contribute to our web site? Please visit... www.CreaturesOfHabit.co.uk

Over Spending

Clicking/ Tapping

Restless Legs

Nose Picking Clicking/Tapping

Procrastinating

Restless Legs

Gossiping

Nose Picking

Untidiness

Smoking

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Nail Biting

Having a bad habit is a part of the human experience. Our brain loves routines and every part of our lives is made up of actions (habits) that we repeat almost daily. However, not all habits are helpful to how we live our lives and can actually hold us back from enjoying things. A bad habit is something which is causing someone a problem or perhaps they are embarrassed about doing.

Over Eating

HOW MANY BAD HABITS DO YOU HAVE?

Hair Pulling

INTRODUCTION


WHAT IS A BAD HABIT? A bad habit can be described as a negative behaviour pattern that someone can develop either consciously or unconsciously. Bad habits can often be confused with addictions or mental diseases like alcoholism and OCD but the distinguishing factor is the element of willpower. A habit would be when the person appears to have control over the behaviour and are able to justify doing them will good intentions. Often, bad habits like nail biting, smoking and over eating are stress relievers that provide some comfort to a person. This can happen consciously as someone has realised that doing said action eases their stress levels and so will do it the next time they are stressed. This will often continue until the person does it unconsciously perhaps when they aren’t even stressed. Research says that it can take anywhere between 18 and 254 days to break a habit. This is because habits like smoking contain addictive elements whereas nail biting can disappear simply by using an unpleasant tasting nail polish to deter you from biting them. Psychologists try to find alternative actions to replace a bad habit, if possible, as this has proven to be effective as a distraction to someone’s former habit. 3

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Nail Biting Smoking Nose Picking p. 45 - 64

Restless Legs p. 65 - 84

Clicking/Tapping p. 84 - 100

Over Spending p. 101 - 122

Procrastinating p. 123 - 142

Gossiping p. 143 - 160

Hair Pulling p. 161 - 176

Untidiness p. 177 - 196

Swearing p. 197 - 214

Over Eating p. 215 - 232

Nose Picking

Smoking p. 25 - 44

CREATURES OF HABIT

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Untidiness

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Gossiping

Procrastinating

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Nail Biting p. 5 - 24


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“ONYCHOPHAGIA”

Over Eating

Nail Biting

NAIL BITING


NAIL BITING Tom Stafford For ‘BBC Future’

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hat do ex-British prime minster Gordon Brown, Jackie Onassis, Britney Spears and I all have in common? We all are (or were) nail biters. It’s not a habit I’m proud of. It’s pretty disgusting for other people to watch, ruins the appearance of my hands, is probably unhygienic and sometimes hurts if I take it too far. I’ve tried to quit many times, but have never managed to keep it up. Lately I’ve been wondering what makes someone an inveterate nail-biter like me. Are we weaker willed? More neurotic? Hungrier? Perhaps, somewhere in the annals of psychological research there could be an answer to my question, and maybe even hints about how to cure myself of this unsavoury habit. My first dip into the literature shows up the medical name for excessive nail biting: ‘onychophagia’. Psychiatrists classify it as an impulse control problem, alongside things like obsessive compulsive disorder. But this is for extreme cases, where psychiatric help is beneficial, as with other excessive grooming habits like skin picking or hair pulling. I’m not at that stage, falling instead among the 7

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Psychotherapists have had some theories about nail biting, of course. Sigmund Freud blamed it on arrested psycho-sexual development, at the oral stage (of course). Typical to Freudian theories, oral fixation is linked to myriad causes, such as under-feeding or over-feeding, breast-feeding too long, or problematic relationship with your mother. It also has a grab-bag of resulting symptoms: nail biting, of course, but also a sarcastic personality, smoking, alcoholism and love of oral sex. Other therapists have suggested nail-biting may be due to inward hostility – it is a form of selfmutilation after all – or nervous anxiety. Like most psychodynamic theories these explanations could be true, but there’s no

Swearing

IT’S MOTHER’S FAULT

Over Eating

majority of nail biters who carry on the habit without serious side effects. Up to 45% of teenagers bite their nails, for example; teenagers may be a handful but you wouldn’t argue that nearly half of them need medical intervention. I want to understand the ‘subclinical’ side of the phenomenon – nail biting that isn’t a major problem, but still enough of an issue for me to want to be rid of it.


particular reason to believe they should be true. Most importantly for me, they don’t have any strong suggestions on how to cure myself of the habit. I’ve kind of missed the boat as far as extent of breast-feeding goes, and I bite my nails even when I’m at my most relaxed, so there doesn’t seem to be an easy fix there either. Needless to say, there’s no evidence that treatments based on these theories have any special success. Unfortunately, after these speculations, the trail goes cold. A search of a scientific literature reveals only a handful of studies on treatment of nail-biting. One reports that any treatment which made people more aware of the habit seemed to help, but beyond that there is little evidence to report on the habit. Indeed, several of the few articles on nail-biting open by commenting on the surprising lack of literature on the topic. Given this lack of prior scientific treatment, I feel free to speculate for myself. So, here is my theory on why people bite their nails, and how to treat it. Let’s call it the ‘anti-theory’ theory. I propose that there is no special cause of nail biting – not breastfeeding, chronic anxiety or a lack of motherly love. The advantage of this move is that we don’t need to find a particular connection between me, Gordon, Jackie and Britney. Rather, I suggest, nail biting is just the result of a number of factors which – due to random variation – combine in some people to create a bad habit. First off, there is the fact that putting your fingers in your mouth is an easy thing to do. It is one of the basic functions for feeding and 9

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Nail-biting, in my view, isn’t some revealing personality characteristic, nor a maladaptive echo of some useful evolutionary behaviour. It is the product of the shape of our bodies, how hand-to-mouth behaviour is built into (and rewarded in) our brains and the psychology of habit.

Gossiping

Understanding nail-biting as a habit has a bleak message for a cure, unfortunately, since we know how hard bad habits can be to break. Most people, at least once per day, will lose concentration on not biting their nails.

Hair Pulling

grooming, and so it is controlled by some pretty fundamental brain circuitry, meaning it can quickly develop into an automatic reaction. Added to this, there is a ‘tidying up’ element to nail biting – keeping them short – which means in the short term at least it can be pleasurable, even if the bigger picture is that you end up tearing your fingers to shreds. This reward element, combined with the ease with which the behaviour can be carried out, means that it is easy for a habit to develop; apart from touching yourself in the genitals it is hard to think of a more immediate way to give yourself a small moment of pleasure, and biting your nails has the advantage of being OK at school. Once established, the habit can become routine – there are many situations in everyone’s daily life where you have both your hands and your mouth available to use.


Nail Biting

It’s complicated Alessandra Potenza For ‘The Verge’ It’s dirty and disgusting. So why do we bite our nails? It’s complicated.

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’ve been biting my nails ever since I can remember. I do it automatically, without even realizing it: I’m focused on writing a story, and before I know it, my finger is in my mouth and I’m greedily chewing a nail or a cuticle. I hate that I bite my nails; it makes me feel ashamed, and I’ve tried quitting multiple times. So why do I keep doing it? The answer is more complicated than you’d think. Scientists, in fact, are still trying to figure out exactly why people bite their nails. But they do know that it’s a habit for a lot of us: about 20 to 30 percent of the population are nail biters, including up to 45 percent of teenagers. I thought that nail biting was a sign of nervousness or anxiety, but research shows that’s not necessarily true. People bite their nails also when they’re bored, hungry, frustrated, or working on difficult tasks. Also — and this is where the shame kicks in — it feels good. I know that might sound impossible. Often if I go too far, I get a bloody finger and my nails hurt. But the act itself of biting a nail or 11

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20-30% of the population are nail biters. 45% of teenagers are nail biters. Restless Legs

Nose Picking

Smoking

Nail Biting


cuticle actually feels rewarding. Tracy Foose, an associate professor of psychiatry at UCSF School of Medicine, agrees. She’s also a nail biter and she says she does it because she likes it. “It does feel relaxing when I do it,” Foose says. The theory that nail biting is somewhat connected to pleasure is suggested by some animal studies, Foose says. In these studies, when rats were given chemicals that decrease the perception of pain, called endorphins, they groomed less. If those pain-killing endorphins were blocked by drugs, the animals groomed more. This behaviour seems to suggest that grooming is pleasurable. So when we bite our nails — a form of grooming — we might get a kick out of it. If nail biting is like the rats’ grooming, it might explain why people bite their nails during stressful situations or while engaged in difficult tasks: we go to nail biting for comfort. The “soothing” theory is also supported by recent research connecting nail biting to perfectionism. Nail biters are perfectionists, people who over-plan and get frustrated quickly if they’re idle, says Kieron O’Connor, a professor of psychiatrist at Montreal University. So chewing on a nail may help these people soothe their boredom and irritation. “Perfectionism is a big element, a big ingredient in triggering the problem,” O’Connor says. Some research shows that nail biters could also be just genetically predisposed to the bad habit. A third of nail biters state that they have a family member who bites their nails as well, 13

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Nail Biting Smoking Nose Picking Restless Legs Clicking/ Tapping Over Spending Procrastinating Gossiping Hair Pulling Untidiness Swearing Over Eating

says Shari Lipner, an assistant professor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medicine who’s researched nail biting. And when you look at identical twins, Lipner says, it’s very common that both children bite their nails. It’s not clear why nail biting starts at a young age. But it could be that it’s easy for children to fall into the bad habit because the part of the brain that’s responsible for decision-making, called the pre-frontal cortex, is still developing, Foose says. So the underdeveloped pre-frontal cortex means children are more impulsive than adults: they can’t stop themselves from eating all the Halloween candy and they pick their noses in public because social pressures don’t affect them as much.


“They do all sorts of stuff that we might be tempted to do as adults but we’re like, ‘Oh no! I can’t do that!’” Foose says. “We have a brain that can actually stop us from picking our nose. Kids, not so much.” In 2012, the APP (American Psychiatric Association) decided to list nail biting and other pathological grooming behaviours like skin picking and hair pulling as obsessive compulsive disorders, or OCD. OCD includes people washing their hands over and over, or lining up their shoes compulsively. Pathological grooming and OCD are somewhat similar: in both cases, a natural behaviour — in this case, nail biting — is turned into an excessive one. But some psychiatrists disagree with the American Psychiatric Association’s decision. Though it’s true that nail biters sometimes have other psychiatric disorders like ADHD and separation anxiety disorder, OCD is an anxiety- driven obsession, while nail biting is not, they argue. “As an anxiety specialist, I think that was an overreach for lumping disorders,” Foose says. O’Connor agrees: “I really don’t think it’s an OCD at all. It doesn’t seem to fit any criteria.” Whatever the medical definition of nail biting, doing it can have a lot of unwanted health consequences. First of all, it’s bad for your teeth and even your jaw. Nail biting can result in up to $4,000 in additional dental bills over your lifetime. Second of all, it’s dirty. The area under the nail is a “great breeding ground for bacteria,” Foose says, including E. coli. When you bite your nails those bacteria are carried inside your body and can cause gastrointestinal problems, like diarrhoea, Lipner says. 15

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But if nail biting is about comfort, then perhaps quitting is about replacing that habit with something else comforting. For me, that’s reading Harry Potter in bed or petting the nearest available dog or eating homemade pizza.

Procrastinating

Is that reason enough to stop? I’ve tried multiple times, with bitter nail polish, manicures, and even a device that gives you electric shocks to break bad habits. Wearing gloves or wrapping your nails in tape or band-aids can work, as is replacing the habit with another one, like using a stress ball or running your hands over worry beads, Foose says. Relaxation and meditation, techniques used to treat perfectionists, can also work, O’Connor says.

Gossiping

The mouth is also home to a lot of bacteria, some of which can cause a nail infection. Warts and herpes can also be transmitted from your mouth to your fingers and vice versa, Lipner says. “Almost the two dirtiest parts of your body are hanging out together as you bite your nails,” Foose says. “I’m kind of making myself not want to do it as I say that.”


Nail Biting

No vile polish can stop me Sarah K. Aged 21 One nail, then two, then every nail, right down to the tip of my finger. I have tried that polish that makes your nails taste disgusting when I was at school and my mother made me stop. Then when I moved out and the polish wasn’t given to me every night I started again. Most of the time I will do it without thinking when I’m bored or alone.

FACT: Nail biting could actually be causing your teeth a lot of damage. As you bite the nail, your teeth click together which when done repeatedly everyday can lead to tooth chips, damage and even tooth loss.

Jess N. Aged 17 My Gran gave me that polish that makes your nails taste gross so that I would stop chewing my nails. I put it on and its reputation was true; it tasted like disinfectant mixed with out of date cheese. However, it didn’t stop me, I continued to chew my nails without even noticing the bad taste at first. I think I have such a desire to chew them that my brain must reject that bad taste.

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FACT: Some people might bite their nails because they have different perceptions of touch – so it might feel good. Dr Richard O’Kearney, psychologist.


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Nail Biting

Down to the bleeding nubs Debbie T. Aged 38 I’m 42 and I’ve bitten my nails since I was an infant. I’ve tried everything to stop over the years with a 100% failure rate. Without even realising it I will bite them down to bleeding nubs. My cuticles are often swollen, red, and hot from infections. I hate it with my entire soul. A few times I’ve managed to stop long enough that they start to not look like a horror show. Those short successes end as I eventually start biting them in my sleep. So far two of my kids do it too, just as severely as I do. I wish I could do something to help them stop.

STOP

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ST OP

TIP: Go for a professional manicure - as a reward for trying to break the habit - and have your nails painted red. That way it’s obvious when your nails are near your face – and you can make a mental note that red means "stop." Says leading cosmetic nail expert Leighton Denny.

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Finger nails or toe nails

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I bite my nails all day, and I think I always will. I can’t remember a time where my nails were long and smooth and my polish wasn’t chipped almost immediately after it had dried. For me I don’t think it’s a nervous thing at all I just feel this desire to chew on my nails whenever there is a slight nick or something I can get my teeth on. I have no shame because it’s not hurting anyone else. I don’t understand people who do the same with their toe nails! Other than them being a contortionist I think that is disgusting.

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I do bite my nails but only when I’m nervous, usually before I do a presentation or go for an interview I’m sat waiting just chewing away on whichever nail needs my attention. I think I do it because my Dad bites his nails and it looked normal to me. I think I’ve probably only used nail scissors when I was a kid and my Mum would cut them for me.

Hair Pulling

Joseph J. Aged 22

Swearing

Scientists say that there are actually far more germs on the average hand than the foot.

Over Eating

FACT:

Restless Legs

Jennifer W. Aged 28


Nail Biting

Easier to chew, easier to swallow Beth S. Aged 25 I bite my nails in the bath after they’ve soaked in the hot water for a while and have become soft. Which now that I’m talking about it sounds really bizarre but it makes them easier to chew. I have always hated having long nails because my grandma, who was very strict and mean, would pinch my cheek and her nails scratched my face. I would never say that I am addicted to biting my nails but I am addicted to other things and take comfort in those obsessions. For me, nail biting is just about being neat and tidy but sometimes I bite them too much and it becomes painful and untidy.

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FACT: Some have argued that nail biters are more likely to be alcoholic, but actual evidence is thin.

TIP: There is a suggested technique of wrapping plasters (band aids) around your finger tips to stop yourself from biting your nails, overtime it may stop the unconscious habit.


Nail Biting Smoking

Stopping cold turkey

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Clicking/ Tapping Over Spending Procrastinating Gossiping Hair Pulling Untidiness

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Keep your nails relatively short. A simple manicure can help maintain your healthy nails, and so will keeping them relatively short and preventing yourself from biting them more. If you have any surplus growth, cut your nails back. Keep clippers with you at all times. You can’t bite if there’s nothing there.

I bit my nails as a child. One day, in sixth grade class, I decided I would stop, because I noticed that my classmates always looked really gross biting their nails and slouching like most kids (myself included) would always do. Seeing other people go at their nails like a ham sandwich made me decide to stop, so I did. I stopped cold turkey. I straightened my posture and I cut my nails with a nail clipper when I got home. Since it was a week between clippings, there was little to nothing to bite for most of that time, and a couple of growth cycles later, I didn’t feel the need to bite anymore. I also began noticing just how dirty little kid fingers got, which kept me from relapsing.

Over Eating

TIP:

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Eric B. Aged 29


Nail Biting

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) Technique from Sharon Stiles, Hypnotherapist CBT is about challenging the way you think and the way your mind works. It uses a form of hypnosis that looks at alternative ways of doing it and changing the process to make life more comfortable. When your habit is conscious and you find yourself doing the habit you can stop it and tell yourself ‘no I don’t need to do this anymore’. What you can do is assign a stage of your bad habit (doesn’t have to be nail biting) to each finger.

For example...

1 ‘I feel really stressed about something’ and ‘I

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become aware of something uncomfortable on my finger nails’ ‘Next the finger goes to my mouth’ ‘Then I’ve got to keep chewing it and that makes me feel a bit better’ ‘Then it starts to hurt and I stop’ ‘Finally everything goes back to normal’ You’re breaking down the habit into those individual steps. The idea of a habit is once you get the first part of it, then it goes in a chain because your brain wants to make it easier for you once it’s recognised something. If you can catch it at that first point (feeling stressed), you concentrate on that stressed feeling while 23

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Nail Biting Smoking Nose Picking Restless Legs Clicking/ Tapping Over Spending

holding your first finger, then you let go and distance yourself from it. Next, go to the next step so you’re working your way through the steps, holding each finger as you do each one and it becomes scrambled because your mind is used to going 1,2,3,4,5. You then focus on that stress feeling and hold that thumb and when it’s strong let it go, now you go to the ‘ouch it really hurts’ feeling and hold that finger and let it go, now go back to the nibbling feeling and the ‘oh everything is fine’ feeling and you keep scrambling the order so that next time your mind comes to the ‘oh I feel stressed’ it goes ‘what do I do know’. It could go to any one of the fingers so you have to make a conscious decision because you’ve broken the unconscious habit.

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SMOKING


SMOKING Mark Hughes For ‘Quora’

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smoked for decades before finally successfully quitting. I started because my family members smoked and my peers smoked, so it seemed like something people did when they reached a certain age. When I first smoked, for many years in fact, it calmed me and felt enjoyable because of the pick-up and buzz it provided. It was also a social act, because in school (including high school) we’d have to go outside to smoke, so you went with friends and talked and joked around while sharing a smoke. It provided a break at work, when you had an excuse to leave with a few friends and talk and smoke for a few minutes. So there was a social element arising from associating smoking with growing up and being with your family and peers as an “equal.” And it was addictive. Horribly, horribly addictive. Nicotine causes changes to your brain chemistry after prolonged regular use, making your brain cells essentially believe they need it to survive -- this is quite comparable to how your brain makes you react for oxygen, since your brain cells need it to survive. I’ve had nicotine cravings that were absolutely as intense as if you held your breath until you can’t hold it anymore from the feeling 27

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This gets to the most interesting and least understood parts of the answer to why people smoke. At first you have all of these reasons that you start smoking and want to smoke, and the addiction includes a dependency on how the cigarettes make you feel.

Over Eating

of having to breathe. I’ve wanted nicotine worse than any time when I’ve been hungry (and for some self-revelation, I grew up in rural poverty, so I’ve been hungry). For most people, if you smoke enough, long enough, you’ll become addicted. And the longer you are addicted, the harder it is to quit.


But eventually, you no longer smoke because of anything you actually get from the act of smoking. You smoke to stop feeling the way you do when you aren’t smoking. Let me explain. If you aren’t a smoker, think about how you feel when you are normal. Just everyday, ordinary normal feeling, not “happy” or “relaxed” etc, just totally average as if you aren’t even thinking about how you feel. That is what is achieved for a smoker by smoking -- feeling normal. Because without the smoking and nicotine, a smoker doesn’t feel that normalcy. There is a total physical and mental and even emotional sense of “wrongness” to your whole person, and a desperation to make that wrongness go away and to feel normal, and the only way to achieve it is through smoking. That’s the truth about addiction -- that it becomes all about a constant need to find and use the drug just to stop feeling the way you feel when you aren’t on the drug, more than really anything to do with how you feel when you’re actually on the drug itself. It’s hard to fully explain this to someone who hasn’t experienced it, but holding your breath is one good example. Really, though, instead try this: select either your lover/significant other, best friend, or family member who is most important to you in life, and ask them to be ready on a moment’s notice to obtain and feed you whatever your favourite food is. Then stop talking to them or even seeing them, and stop eating. Go as long as you possibly can, and think about how you feel that very first minute knowing it will be literally days and days without seeing or 29

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It’s been such a part of your life, and you are about to tear it out forever, and it’s like you are losing a best friend. That sounds crazy to those of you who have not experienced real addiction, but it’s absolutely true, I promise you, and it’s not about being “weak” or “strong” -- you don’t tell someone they are “weak” for being unable to stop breathing, or for having to eat. You don’t tell a person they are weak or “it’s all in your head” if their kidneys fail or their heart is damaged. Addiction that causes changes to people’s chemistry is a literal physical, biological reality and it’s absurd and illogical to blame people for that reality. Blame us for GETTING addicted? Yes, I understand that I’m to blame for getting hooked in the first place (although I would appeal to the fact I was a kid and ignorant and surrounded by it, and the companies did their best to convince us it was healthy and fine etc), but once hooked you are seriously biologically dominated by the addiction.

Over Eating

speaking to the person you love and without any food, and how hungry and lonely you will be. Feel that little tinge of panic, even though you’ve not even gotten hungry or been without your loved one more than a minute? Imagine that for days on end, and THAT hunger and emotional fear and need is how it feels for an addict going just a day without their drug, and in fact the panic and tinge of fear sets in the moment you say to yourself “I’m quitting.” Because there is an absolute emotional quality to addiction, and a terrible fear and sadness when you stop.


I started smoking because everyone else did and it seemed normal

I’d like to explain what it took for me, as a decades-long addict (who smoked two packs per day on average), to finally stop smoking for good, because it helps demonstrate something about how mixed up a smoker’s emotions and perspectives really become, and what it takes to finally break through. My wife accepted that I smoked, when we first met and started dating. She accepted it, reluctantly, when we married many years ago. But over time, she had been asking me to cut down, and ultimately started asking me to quit. She told me she didn’t want to live the last years of her life alone mourning me after I died from smoking-related causes. I had told her for years that it was pointless to ask me to quit for her, because statistically in order to successfully quit you have to want to do it for yourself and not be talked/pushed into it (however true or untrue those claims were, I don’t know, but I’d long heard that was the case and it fit with my addicted desire to remain addicted). I told her that she knew I smoked, 31

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I realised that I needed my own desire to quit to be 100% influenced by my wife’s desire for me to quit. I needed to not want to leave her mourning me in her last years, and I needed to want to stop poisoning myself in front of her and expecting her to suffer it silently until she sees me die. If her desire for me to stop was so important to her, then it should influence what I want, just as her desire and hopes influence my own in every other instance. The people who loved me most wanted me to stop, and I needed to become one of those “people.” So I did, and I quit.

Over Eating

and if she loved me then she had to let me make the choice and accept the choice I make, and that I would eventually quit when I was ready and personally wanted to “for myself.” But then a funny thing happened after we had a big argument about my smoking, in which I again reiterated my claim that I would quit when I wanted to quit “for myself” -- I realised I’d never quit if I was waiting until I personally just no longer “wanted” to smoke. And if I were never going to stop, I felt I needed to admit that to myself and to my wife, and tell her she has to accept that I’ll always smoke. And that’s the moment when I had a crystalclear realisation about the whole situation: I started smoking because everyone else did and it seemed normal, then I kept smoking because it was the only way to feel normal, but it’s not “normal” at all to expect people who love me to accept me poisoning myself to death. I was struck by this horrible realization that I’d for years told my poor wife that if she loves me, she’ll let me slowly murder myself until she’s left watching me die horribly from disease. I felt ashamed in a way I can’t express.


Smoking

How I quit smoking & never looked back Daphne Javitch For ‘VOGUE’ 33

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I had heard of Allen Carr’s book The Easy Way to Stop Smoking. A reformed 100-cigarettesa-day smoker, Carr came with some serious street cred and an invitation to smoke while reading so there was nothing to lose if it didn’t resonate. It did. This book is magic on paper. It works because it’s not a series of tips or a list of “how-tos,” and it’s not a sermon on the

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It was my shrink who told me, “When you love yourself, you’ll quit smoking.” Did you just open a new tab? I get it—it sounds annoying. But she was right. My new-found respect for my cellular self and reverence for my real body (not just the one I used for clothes) was admittedly at odds with flooding my system with toxins 10 times a day. It was time to choose: them or me.

Swearing

The diagnosis sparked my obsession with health—real health. I became a student of my insides: my cells, organs, and immune system. I enlisted teachers and committed to a healing diet and lifestyle. In short, I became more concerned about my colon than my cellulite. But I still totally smoked.

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I

was a smoker. Not a flirty party smoker, a real smoker: 10 a day for 15 years. And I wasn’t that smoker who constantly (or ever) expressed a longing to quit. I didn’t want to quit—I loved smoking! Somewhere in the back of my mind I thought I might quit eventually, but I assumed a pregnancy would work that out for me. After all, I thought I was healthy because I looked healthy: I loved salads and was athletic and well groomed. And then, in early 2015, I was diagnosed with stage 4 endometriosis.


obvious disadvantages of smoking (health risks, cost, stigma). Instead, it focuses on why we keep smoking despite all of that. Along with some eye-opening facts about nicotine addiction, Carr clarifies how cigarettes actually do nothing to enhance enjoyment in life, writing, “The whole business of smoking is like forcing yourself to wear tight shoes just to get the pleasure of taking them off.” Thus, giving them up is giving up nothing; it’s simply making a tremendously positive change. Quitting is not letting go of an old friend but a mortal enemy, he reasons. I felt de-hypnotized. As instructed, I chose my quit date. A little more than a year and a half ago, on the night before my 35th birthday, I finished the book and smoked my final cigarette. I was excited. As Carr warned, the first few days were the hardest because I was going through nicotine withdrawal. Keeping busy and having a cigarette stand-in helped. When I craved smoking I would drink a cold glass of lemon water or go for a brisk walk around the block and make a call. I limited my thoughts of smoking and when I happened to have them, I worked Carr-style on re-framing my thinking about cigarettes to focus on positive things like how happy and lucky I was to be free of them. The nicotine withdrawal was over much sooner than I expected for a 15-year habit. “Eight hours after putting out a cigarette, you are 97 percent nicotine-free. After just three days of not smoking, you are 100 percent nicotine-free,” writes Carr. But the releasing 35

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There have been moments now and then when I think about smoking. For example, every time we travel to Europe, I ask my husband if I should start smoking again. It can seem so sexy and cool! When I was in Greece it seemed unhealthy not to smoke, but I would pass on that after-dinner seaside smoke a million times knowing that I will never smoke another cigarette freezing outside an airport terminal at 8:00 a.m. again. The pride of quitting has trumped every passing whim. In fact, I have never been more proud of myself about anything ever. Quitting smoking wasn’t and isn’t torturous. It’s positive. When you’re ready, it’s easy.

Gossiping

of the physical and psychological habit takes more undoing. This part felt strange since cigarettes were the bookends to my every experience. Coffee, smoke. Workout, smoke. Meeting, smoke. Lunch, smoke. And so on. I remember the first time I got upset and didn’t smoke. The first time I overspent and didn’t smoke. The first holiday I took and didn’t smoke. It was counter intuitive at first, but I remained grateful and upbeat that I wasn’t willingly walking into smoking prison every 10 to 15 minutes.


Smoking

I

Smoking

Phil W. Aged 27 I decided to compile a list of my favourite things about smoking. We all know that they’re addictive, deadly, etc., but for those of you who don’t know why people would knowingly harm their bodies just to inhale smoke - here you go. It kills time. If you smoke, you’re never bored. It causes you to routinely take breaks throughout the day. This relieves stress and promotes alone time. It gives you a reason to go outside. I’ve admired so much beauty in nature because I decided to go out for a walk/smoke. It gives you an excuse to talk to people. Not just small talk - I’ve had important, deep, exciting, meaningful, intelligent, philosophical, and enriching conversations over a few cigarettes. When you take the time out of your life to isolate yourself with another person over a cigarette, you really get to know them. This is my favourite thing about smoking, it has enhanced the relationships in my life and caused me to be as close to my friends/loved ones as I am today. Now, I’m not saying that one couldn’t achieve any of these things without cigarettes. All I know is that I probably wouldn’t have. I know full and well the dangers of smoking, but please take time to understand where people like me are coming from and why we smoke. 37

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FACT: Studies suggest that nicotine may alter the activity of brain areas that are involved in the inhibition of negative emotions such as anger.

FACT: Smoking destroys the air sacs and airways in your lungs and is responsible for around 90% of lung cancers and lots of other lungrelated conditions such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis.


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90% of lung cancers are caused by smoking Gossiping

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Security blanket Dominic C. Aged 29 I was very aware of how bad they were for me (particularly my ability to breathe), yet I still smoked for several years at 1/2 a pack a day. I developed an association such that whenever I got stressed, I wanted a smoke. Sadly they’re just that hard to put down (I know doctors who insist nicotine is harder to quit than crack cocaine, I’m not sure I disagree). When I finally got around to quitting (and again I was only 1/2 pack a day for a few years, all things considered a pretty light smoker), I could only seem to quit for months at a time. First time I quit for a few weeks, smoked for a month, quit for a month, smoked for a few weeks, quit for few months. It’s a cycle I hope to eventually break but I’m realistic about it. It’s been over 2 years since I started quitting. I broke my year-long streak a few weeks ago with 2 days of smokes and will probably make it 2 years this time, if not infinity. This is of course not to justify smoking, at all. Just to illustrate that on your side of the fence it’s really, really easy to say “well, why do you continue if you know it’s bad for you” and “why don’t you just quit”. It’s just plain not that easy, and they do become a crutch. A security blanket, if you will, in a world where everyone seems to look down on you and alienates you for said security blanket.

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Fresh air

Smoking

Smoking

Clicking/ Tapping Over Spending Procrastinating Gossiping Hair Pulling Untidiness

I smoked occasionally at university, and what I found was that it was a great way to take a break from a party, club, or whatever you were doing with friends. A few of you agree to step outside for a smoke, and then you get away from the music and the crowds and you relax, share your thoughts, and bond a little. It really added personal moments to the nights when everyone else was just jumping up and down and trying to shout meaningless phrases like “I love this song!!!” over the music to each other. I don’t smoke anymore, but I don’t regret the times I smoked back then. Good times.

Swearing

If you would like to stop smoking, one option could be Chantix. This medication curbs nicotine receptors in the brain, which makes smoking less pleasurable. It also reduces withdrawal symptoms. You must consult your doctor before starting Chantix.

Over Eating

TIP:

Restless Legs

Jake V. Aged 26


Smoking

The Smokers Club: Michael P. Aged 29 Humans bond over commonality- however trivial. Smoking opens the door for deep conversation because at a glance someone looks at you and sees, “Hey, we’re both smoking. We have something in common.” An icebreaker I’ve had many, many deep conversations with total strangers that started simply because I had a cigarette or pipe hanging out of my mouth. I’m not even hooked, I just smoke for this reason alone.


Smoking

Setting my quit date

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Smoking

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I quit smoking on Jan 1st 2011, and I feel great, seriously. I loved smoking, it felt very good. But I started to think about dying in my 30s (I’m turning 30 this year) leaving my son and husband. I even looked into what it feels like to die of lung cancer. And I don’t want my son to ever smoke (he is 3) so I set a quit date, and I did it. I smoked 1 pack a day up until the day I quit, and I quit cold turkey. I started when I was 13 years old. It is ALL willpower. To quit smoking you must WANT to do it, because it is sheer willpower. Two months later I still think about smoking every now and then (especially after I eat) but it’s not so bad. The thought pops into my head then I just forget about it. When I was smoking I could only go 10 minutes on my treadmill before I would feel like my lungs were going to burst, now I can go 30 minutes no problem. I feel amazing. None of the “benefits” of smoking outweigh the benefits of NOT smoking.

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Someone who has smoked since an early age may find it more difficult to visualise themselves having quit.

Over Eating

FACT:

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Julia T. Aged 29


Smoking

Works for me Beatrice N. Aged 33 I get a lot of flack for starting when I was 23. “Who starts smoking when they’re in their 20’s??” I was going through depression, I did many other things that did help, but smoking was MY TIME. The people I smoked with didn’t judge, it was chill, I can be who I want to be, and smoking was the only thing I felt that gave me that power. Running, reading, new hobbies, all that felt like I was doing it because someone else told me to which just made me feel even worse because it was always “Do this and you’ll feel better” which I felt as implication that I was doing something wrong. There is one other benefit. It’s a pretentious snob filter. “I’d date you if you weren’t a smoker” - sure but I have no interest in being who you want me to be. Smoking provides a sense of control, which validates the small problems and let’s you focus on the bigger picture. It’s an amazing outlet for stress that I don’t get with other things.

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Smoking

The same but better

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I used to smoke on and off for about ten years. Six months ago I switched to e-cigarettes and never looked back. They’re everything I always loved about smoking; the routine, the breaks, basically everything the poster mentioned. They’re none of the stuff that I didn’t love; bad breath, killing myself, smelled like an ashtray constantly, couldn’t breathe. It’s funny, when I first switched I was biking a bunch, and it was remarkable how much further I was able to bike almost the same week that I switched due to no more smoke in my lungs.

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It is not yet known if vape pens can cause damage so it can be a good alternative to smoking. It that will occupy the stages your brain goes through when it would usually need a cigarette.

Over Eating

TIP:

Restless Legs

John L. Aged 36


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“RHINOTILLEXOMANIA”

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NOSE PICKING


NOSE PICKING Alina Bradford For ‘Live Science’

T

he nose is lined with fine, hair-like projections known as cilia. The sinuses are lined with mucus-making cells. The mucus (or “snot”) keeps the nose from drying out. Together, cilia and snot collect dust, bacteria and other debris before they can enter the rest of the body, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. Typically, nasal mucus — made of water, proteins, antibodies and salts — is clear. But during an infection, snot can change to yellow or green, indicating the body is fighting off a bacterial or viral infection. The green colour comes from a chemical secreted by white blood cells specifically, the heme group in the iron-containing enzyme myeloperoxidase — to kill pathogens. Clumps of dried mucus, dirt and debris are called “boogers,” and despite the taboo, one Canadian scientist thinks “picking your nose” — and eating your boogers — may be good for you. Scott Napper, a biochemistry professor at the University of Saskatchewan, hypothesizes that snot tastes sweet for good reason (take his word for it or try it yourself). That may be a signal to the body to eat it and 47

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get immune-boosting benefits. “By consuming those pathogens caught within the mucus, could that be a way to teach your immune system about what it’s surrounded with?” Napper told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. His hypothesis fits on with other theories about the link between improved hygiene and an increase in allergies and autoimmune disorders, he said. “From an evolutionary perspective, we evolved under very dirty conditions and maybe this desire to keep our environment and our behaviours sterile isn’t actually working to our advantage.”


Nose Picking

It’s snot my fault Mark D Griffiths For ‘Psychology Today’

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ow does it make you feel when you see someone picking their nose and then eating what they have found? Disgust? Contempt? Amused? Whatever your reaction it’s unlikely to be neutral. Nosepicking on the face of it (no pun intended) is probably one of the most under-researched activities given the fact that it is an every day activity for many people and appears to be a universal activity across cultures. It is believed that across many cultures, nose-picking belongs to a set of behaviours considered a private act (such as burping, farting, urinating). There is also an element of the activity being mildly taboo despite it being so prevalent. The definition I’ve come across most often in non-academic journals (i.e., on the internet) is that nose-picking is the act of extracting dried nasal mucus (snot) and/or foreign bodies with a finger from the nose. There have been anecdotal reports that people engaging in some sorts of activity appear to be more likely to pick their noses in seemingly public places (drivers stopping at traffic lights or junctions being one example I came across in a blog on nosepicking). But what does the empirical research say about nose-picking? A paper published on nose picking in the 49

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More recently (and taking their lead from the earlier study published in the 1995 JCP paper), two psychiatrists – Dr Chittaranjan Andrade and Dr B.S. Srihari (National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences in Bangalore, India) – published a study on rhinotillexomania among 200 adolescents in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. They reported that adolescents pick their noses

Swearing

It is possible that these two excessive nosepickers may have been suffering from rhinotellexomania that is characterized as a constant, repetitive and/or pathological picking of the nose and viewed by some as a form of undiagnosed obsessive-compulsive disorder. They also reported the incidence of other associated behaviours. A total of 25% picked their cuticles, 20% picked at skin, 18% bit their fingernails (18%), and 6% pulled out their hair.

Over Eating

Journal of Clinical Psychology (JCP) in the mid1990s by James Jefferson and Trent Thompson (University of Wisconsin Medical School, USA), reported that 91% of people surveyed in Wisconsin were current nose-pickers (n=254). Three-quarters of the sample thought that “almost everyone else does it”. Five respondents (2%) said they picked their nose for enjoyment, and one person said they found picking their nose sexually stimulating. Two respondents reported that their nose-picking had led to a perforation of the nasal septum. Another two people in the study said they were excessive nose-pickers (with one respondent spending 15-30 minutes a day picking their nose, and the other one claiming they spent 1-2 hours a day picking their nose).


about four times a day. They started from the position that any human activity – if carried to excess – could potentially be viewed as a psychiatric disorder. They made reference to earlier case studies in the literature which seemed to indicate that excessive nose-pickers written about affected were psychotic (e.g., Gigliotti & Waring, 1968 – 61-year-old woman with extensive self-mutilation of the inner nose such that a nasal prosthesis and complete upper denture had to be constructed; Akhtar & Hastings 1978 – a 36-year-old male compulsive nose picker, who had life-threatening nosebleeds as a result of excessive nose picking). A more recent case study published by Ronald Caruso and colleagues presented a case of rhinotillexomania in a woman. They noted: “Chronic self-mutilation resulting in the loss of body parts is characteristically seen in schizophrenic patients. Such patients can have delusions of parasitic infestation of body parts, may believe the body part to be encumbered by foreign bodies, or

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Andrade and Srihari’s main findings were that (i) 96% had picked their nose, (ii) 80% used their fingers to pick their nose, (iii) half picked their noses four or more times a day, (iv) 7% picked their noses 20 or more times a day, (v) over 50% picked their noses to unclog nasal passages, to relieve discomfort, or to relieve itching, (vi) 11% picked their nose for cosmetic reasons, and (vii) 11% picked their noses for pleasure. They also observed that based on their sample, nose-picking practices were the same across all social classes.

Swearing

They noted that the psychiatric literature has recognized that “rhinotillexomania is a common, benign habit in children and adults” but that in rare cases it can become a serious affliction advancing to significant self-injury.

Over Eating

may view the body part as no longer a part of themselves. Such behaviour, however, may also be manifested by persons who are severely obsessive-compulsive or malingerers… A 53-year-old right-handed woman related a history of compulsive nose picking (rhinotillexomania) of the right nasal cavity since age 10. She could not control her compulsion, which involved removing recurrent intranasal crusts. This condition persisted while in the care of a psychiatrist. Therapy was instituted in an effort to disrupt the cycle of digital trauma, mucus production, and crusting. This included behaviour modification and supportive rhinologic care with nasal spray, crust suction, and medication. Early follow-up showed improvement”


Nose Picking

Booger diet Conrad B. Aged 30 I’m not going to lie. I pick my boogers all the time. As a matter of fact, I picked my nose less than 3 minutes ago. It feels good, it relieves me, and best of all it tastes. so. good. I know what you’re thinking, but I’m finally ready to admit I do. Do I know why I do it? Maybe it’s because I was used to doing it as a child. Maybe not. It tastes great. I can tell you this for a fact though. Everyone has done it once. We had a time in our lives where we all went and dug for gold. Do I think it’s gross. Absolutely. Who doesn’t? However, will this stop me? No. Not at all. Try this, put your finger up your nose, feel for the biggest booger you can, pull it out, and put it in your mouth. Tell me how you feel afterwards.

FACT: A study of over 250 people found that nose pickers were 53% more likely than non-pickers to carry Staphylococcus aureus, a type of germ that can cause all kinds of deeply gross infections, in their nasal passages. It can cause impetigo (a nasty skin condition), boils, and abscesses.


Nose Picking

Nose Picking

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Although nose-picking, or rhinotillexomania, is not a socially acceptable habit, the techniques we use in accomplishing it can provide vital and accurate information about our personalities. Those of us, for example, who pick our nose in private only, are lacking in openness, conventional, avoid the unfamiliar, unartistic and lack imagination. In contrast, those who perform their shnozz shovelling in public, without embarrassment, are extremely open, imaginative, curious, creative, adventurous, original and artistic. In addition, those nasal explorers who go deep inside their noses as though excavating a mine, are neurotic, anxious, nervous, worrying, insecure, and emotional, with excessive cravings or urges and unrealistic ideas. And those who roll the snot up into a little ball and eat it, are extroverts who are talkative, optimistic, sociable, friendly and in need of excess stimulation. We can characterise those who nose-pick using a tissue or handkerchief; those who use their pinky or thumb as opposed to their index finger; those who wipe it off on the furniture, floor, or someone else’s clothing; those who purchase celebrity boogers on eBay, and those who actually derive sexual satisfaction from nose picking.

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Dr. Victor Laszlo


Nose Picking

Forever destined to have a pencil cap lodged in my nose? Nick D. Aged 23 For the record, this is incredibly embarrassing and nobody outside of my immediate family knows about it. Before I begin with my story, I should add: this happened a few years ago when I was 18/19. I am 23 now. It was a night like any other night: I was studying for a midterm the next day, with my nose in my books like the Hunchback of Notre Dam. 55

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So, where does that leave me ? Am I forever destined to have a pencil cap lodged in my nose ? Modern medicine suggests no. This is my cheeky way of saying I wound up going to the emergency room. I explained my dilemma to the nurse, who asked where my little brother was, because what adult would legitimately have this happen to them, right ? After five hours of waiting, the doctor walked into the room, with widened eyes; he probably skimmed the file and assumed it was a child, not a man, but asked no questions. A quick push of a tube of compressed air into the clear nasal canal and the pen cap shot out. My nasal canal has not had an object lodged in it since. I will pretend that caps on pencils and pens are required to have holes precisely for this purpose and therefore I am within the norm. Nobody tell me differently.

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Coinciding with allergy season; because studying is not miserable enough on its own. I feel my nose blocked internally with mucus and snot. What was I to do ? I tried using my finger as a sort of shovel, but the humidity made the contents of my nose dry and hard, like those crusty rocks inside caves. My finger was not doing any good so I decided to use the end of my mechanical pencil to pry it out. Whilst doing so, the cap covering the eraser became dislodged, firmly implanting itself in my nasal cavity. My reaction, you ask ? I panic. I try to pick it out but I end up pushing it up further. Probably not the best solution in retrospect. I wake up my parents and my father grabbed a pair of pliers and tried to pull it out. Doing nothing.

Swearing

One man suffered such a huge nosebleed after picking his nose that he died as a result. An inquest into his death found that his nasal cavity was full of blood and concluded that excessive nose picking was the most likely cause of the bloody eruption.

Over Eating

FACT:


Nose Picking

My vice Cary T. Aged 25 I am a chronic nose-picker! It’s gotten especially bad since I have started graduate school, mostly because I don’t socialize a lot, and spend most of my free time alone or with my boyfriend of several years, with whom I have become so comfortable that I don’t restrain myself from picking my nose around him. He abhors it and has gone through several strategies of getting me to stop. Especially when I’m stressed, I pick my nose in bed, when I’m half asleep! Disgusting, I know! I like to fidget with my hands — I think the nose-picking is like a nervous twitch. Once I wore gloves to bed to keep me from picking my nose. But I’ve given up on tricks like gloves, spicy sauce on my fingers or sheer willpower because I’ve decided I must cure it by examining the underlying causes. I’ve been in a lot of therapy already — I wonder if the nosepicking is the remnants of other addictions I’ve dealt with successfully, including eating disorders and alcoholism. I’m a strong person! I just can’t kick this one! I need to stop before my boyfriend dumps me because of the boogers on the sheets.

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Figure out what triggers your need to pick your nose. If it’s merely a habit, it’s likely that you just became comfortable doing it over time and now functions as a form of reassurance or something to do with your hands. On the other hand, there are legitimate reasons that might have led you to start picking your nose. For example, you may have had a medical condition that caused the nasal cavity to become itchy or filled with debris that you just had to remove to keep from going nuts. If the problem is ongoing, then it is time to see your medical professional to see what the issue might be. It could be a sign of something more serious stuck up your nose than just your fingers.

Swearing

TIP:

Over Eating

I like the feeling of an empty nose, I like the feeling when I pick the nose and that first bit of cool air touches that spot that has not felt air in a few hours (where the booger was). But besides that feelings, the booger is gross, and eating it is way out of the question. I will pick it without a tissue if I have to, I mean after all it is part of my body and is not that gross. But if there is a tissue available I’d much rather use that.

Restless Legs

Richard E. Aged 43


Nose Picking

Ode to nose picking Jason S. Aged 18 Everyone does it, but why does everyone look down upon it? For me, picking my nose is part of who I am. I F***ING LOVE PICKING MY NOSE, no this is not a sham. I love how one minute I can barely breathe to the next minute I can breathe like a champ because I yanked the b***ard out of my nose as if it was a mother fucking tramp. I love how some boogers are wet and some are dry, I love how some can even make me cry. I love the texture of boogers. I love how some are dry and some are slimy, I even love how some smell grimy. I love how I can flick boogers on people that make me annoyed, I love how my accuracy of flicking can make people paranoid. I love how my nose has it’s own unique shape and size, and how even some boogers can come up with a big surprise. I love how coming across some certain special kind of boogers can be very rare. It’s like “wow, I haven’t picked one like you in a long time, once you’re out I’m never going to share!” 59

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I love how picking some boogers require some skill. With proper picking and a bit of breathing, those boogers keep me occupied even when it is freezing. I f***ing love picking my nose.

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I love how there is always a booger to be picked, even when I get really sick.

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I also love those hard to get boogers. The ones where you have to work for a few minutes to dig out, once it’s picked, all you want to do is shout.

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I also love how only I would know of the properties of my favourite kind of booger.

Hair Pulling

Boogers are just bits of dirt and dust that have congealed to stop bits from going straight up into your head. Sticking your fingers up your nose to pick out them out can leave your delicate, little nostrils open to all kinds of nasty bacterial infections. A study of over 250 people found that nose pickers were 53% more likely than non-pickers to carry Staphylococcus aureus, a type of germ that can cause all kinds of deeply gross infections, in their nasal passages. It can cause impetigo (a nasty skin condition), boils, and abscesses.

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FACT:

I love how I have a favourite kind of booger to pick. The shape of it is always the same and once I am done, all I want to do is flick.

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I love the satisfaction of picking out that dangerous booger with no blood.

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I love how some boogers have a danger of causing a bloody nose, and how you’ll even be picking them when it snows.


Nose Picking

How to stop picking your nose (& eating it) Melissa S. Aged 29

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hy do people pick their nose and eat it?? Lets look at the definition, yes, there is a definition:

“Nose-picking is the act of extracting dried nasal mucus or foreign bodies from the nose with a finger.� Interestingly, this is a very common habit, yet it is a mildly taboo activity in most cultures. When this activity is observed by another, it provokes mixed feelings of disgust and amusement. What other activities can bring such sensations together?! Some claim that there are health benefits. But these are disgusting and not really scientifically backed and thus I do not feel that they are worth divulging into or opening that can of worms. I would, on the other hand, prefer to analyse the body of evidence that lists the disadvantages. Mainly, the habit proves to be such a body-focused repetitive behaviour that it can lead to obsessive–compulsive disorder. Personally, I find it both disgusting as well as rude. Why pay more attention to self-indulging in eating mucous than listening to another human being?

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Resolve to stop. Some say habits take 21 days to break. For the next 21 days you have a task to stop picking that nose and to find something else to do with your errant fingers. Here are some things to try: Note the times

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Work out what triggers your need to pick your nose. If it is a habit, it is likely to have become a comfortable habit and is most likely a form of reassurance or something to do with your hands. There are legitimate reasons that might have lead you to start picking your nose that then turn into a continued habit. For example, you may have had a medical condition that caused the nasal cavity to become itchy, or filled with debris that you just had to remove or go nuts putting up with. If the problem is ongoing, then see your medical professional to see what the issue might be. It could be a sign of something more serious stuck up your nose than just your fingers. On the other hand, if the trigger is merely comfortable habit and some childish glee that comes from it, it is time to move onto habit-breaking.

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Accept the problem. If you are picking your nose regularly, own up to it. A habit is something that we tend to stop noticing over time and just accept as the norm. Nose-picking without thinking about it is a bad habit that soon creeps into the public sphere as you justify it as “just a little pick”, or “people won’t notice”. People do notice and they don’t appreciate it, especially if close friends see you doing it constantly.

Nose Picking

Luckily for all you diggers out there, WikiHow has published a list of how to stop picking your nose and eating it:


and occasions when you are more likely to pick your nose. Is it in front of the TV, is it when you feel stressed, is it when you feel bored, is it when you just can’t be bothered to go to the kitchen for a snack? Note the times and occasions and be prepared. Affirm that you will stop. Say to yourself out loud something like “My nose is clean. I am very busy with my hobby/TV program/teeth cleaning etc. so my nose is fine as it is.” This is a positive affirmation. If you say something negative like “Don’t pick your nose”, your subconscious will jolly well make sure that you do. Avoid the negative don’ts and only use positive do’s. Have alternatives. Give your fingers something else to do. Read a book and keep your fingers on the pages at all times. Eat some celery sticks and hummus when you’re hungry or other activities that will occupy your hands and time. Deal with any stressors that lead to nosepicking instead of picking the nose. If you find you pick your nose at times you can’t be busy (like going to bed or waking up) try wearing gloves. This will help stop yourself during the weak moment where you’re by yourself and you aren’t thinking clearly. Use a handkerchief. Remove the offending nasal object neatly, swiftly and be done with it. Blow your nose for good measure. Ask others to help you. Choose people whom you trust and ask them to kindly restrain your nose-picking habit by pointing out gently to you each time they view it. Have a code word or signal, as a gentle reminder rather than an uncouth “Stop pickin’ ya nose will ya?”.

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Keep it inconspicuous if you must do it. If you really can’t resist, at least do it where nobody else can see you, or pick it inconspicuously. Every time you go to bathroom make it a point to clear your nose. The more you clean in closed quarters, the need or urge to pick nose will subside. No boogers, no urge to pick.

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Just don’t do it. Reverse the Nike formula and stop. Stop picking that nose of yours and let your nose breathe easy. It’s time to smell the roses rather than your pinky. And if you can’t do that, paint your finger tips with something smelly like anti-nail-biter solution. Put your nose off.

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Think about what people see when you pick your nose. They see someone who is unrestrained and ill-mannered, unhygienic and slothful. It connotes lack of respect for oneself and self-indulgence. All good if these are what you are meaning to portray but probably neither courtship material nor star employment candidature.

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Use the power of thought to help you break the habit. For example: Think about what you are doing to your nose when you pick it. Untold germs are being stuck up it every time you pick it. Not to mention chemicals if you work in such industries as hairdressing, printing, gas stations, etc. And if you handle money, really think twice before removing your finger straight from the money to the nose.


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RESTLESS LEGS (SYNDROME)


RESTLESS LEGS Lorna Driver-Davies For ‘Grace Belgravia’

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estless legs or Restless Legs Syndrome is not a sign of a serious condition but can be uncomfortable and disturbing for the sufferer. Since it often occurs more in the evening time or when trying to get to sleep, over time, sufferers may feel frustrated at not being able to rest or fall asleep. One reason or cause for the syndrome is still unclear although it is considered a neurological condition and imbalances in the nervous system may cause those symptoms. There are links to imbalances with dopamine – a neurotransmitter and chemical made naturally by the body. Additionally, these kind of symptoms may be linked to mineral deficiencies. Some will report more symptoms when ‘over-tired’ (often signalling that it is ‘time to go to bed’), and the twitching will cease once falling asleep. Some researchers think it has to do with the muscles and nervous system reacting suddenly during the transition phase your body goes through while shifting from being awake to sleep – which would make sense if you are very tired, your body is trying to go to sleep. 67

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Some people report isolated or one-off 68

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Restless legs may also be an electroyle insufficiency – as one symptom of that is twitchy muscles. Electrolytes are minerals in your blood and other body fluids that carry an electric charge. They regulate our nerve and muscle function, our body’s hydration, blood pH, blood pressure and more. Electrolytes include: calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and sodium. When we do not consume enough liquids or when we sweat, we lose electrolytes. Electrolytes are also found in fruits, vegetables and more recently we have discovered the benefit of drinking natural coconut water to replace electrolytes.

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While the link with dopamine is complicated, I advise (and so will your doctor) avoiding foods tea, coffee, alcohol and sweet foods closer in the early evening or before bed. These foods do affect dopamine levels. The caffeine in the coffee or tea will also stimulate the nervous system.

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Imbalances in the nervous system may cause those symptoms


incidents of restless legs during long haul flights – suggesting a combination of the tiredness and stress that can come with flight travelling, as well as the dehydrating environment of the cabin that may have some effect on the nervous system and electrolyte levels. 9 STEPS TO HELP RESTLESS LEGS SYNDROME • Reduce or cut out sugar, tea, coffee and alcohol in your diet – especially in the later part of the day and more importantly, the evening. • Exercise is also recommended by doctors and health professionals to support the syndrome. • Increase your levels of vegetables in your diet. You can also in addition, use algaes such as chlorella, spirulina and blue green algae as well as land grasses such as wheat-grass and barley grass. • Get your iron levels checked to see if your levels are low – this is more common in women who have periods. Also get your B12 levels checked. B12 is important for the health of the nervous system and those on a vegan diet need to pay extra close attention to their levels. • Stay well hydrated throughout the day. As well as water, consider drinking natural (sugar free) coconut water and you can also add electrolyte drops to a bottle of water.

• Take a good magnesium supplement. In my 69

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• Make sure you get 8 hours sleep a night as this supports overall health but especially for the adrenal glands and nervous system.

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• Since some people report they experience restless legs during more tiring and stressful days or months, try using herbal adaptogens such as Ashwagandha, Rhodiola and Siberian ginseng to support the nervous system and adrenal glands. B vitamins and magnesium for also critical for managing the effects of stress and an intense or demanding life.

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• Support your nervous system with a B complex, the amino acid theanine and relaxing and calming herbs such as Tulsi (holy basil) and valerian.

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clinic I specially recommend only food form magnesium as it goes deep into the cells where its needed and is entirely natural. At Grace Medical Clinic ask for Wild Nutrition’s FoodGrown magnesium and take 2 caps early evening.


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Far from trivial Lucy Atkins For ‘The Guardian’

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eurologists call it the “commonest movement disorder you’ve never heard of”. Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) – or Ekbom’s disease – is the uncontrollable urge to move your legs when resting. About 5-10% of adults will develop it (around five million people in the UK), but while some will just experience a sporadic twitchiness at the end of the day, for others the condition is a torment. Symptoms usually begin during the evenings or at night and are variously described as burning, creeping, itching, aching or tugging sensations in the legs; the feeling of insects crawling around inside; or of “Coca-Cola in the blood”. The only relief is movement. Trying to stay still, says Julian Spinks, an RLS specialist, “Is like trying to eat a doughnut without licking your lips.” Long-haul flights, car journeys or any trip where you have to sit still for long can be unbearable. “It’s almost impossible for me to go to the theatre,” says Emma, 42, whose symptoms are getting worse with age. “Nowadays I can only go if I take half a valium. At the cinema, or on flights, you worry that you’re bothering everyone around you by 71

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Not surprisingly, RLS can push relationships to breaking point. “If your partner is waking multiple times a night it puts a strain on you both,” says Spinks. Couples often end up in separate beds. “People get so desperate they’ll even batter their own legs for relief – British people use umbrellas, Americans tend to use baseball bats,” he says.

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Tiredness exacerbates the problem, but relaxation is often out of the question. “It can get unbelievably infuriating in the evenings. The more tired I am, the worse it is,” says Dawn, 38, who has had RLS for 20 years. “I’ve set up a mini-trampoline in the front room and I get on and off it when we’re watching TV. It irritates my husband beyond belief, but it’s better than me thrashing next to him.”

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shifting all the time. Going out to dinner is agony too. “By 10pm my legs are twitching so much I have to get up and walk around.”


RLS is caused by an imbalance in the neurotransmitter dopamine. “A lack of dopamine in one area of the brain can trigger it,” says Spinks. There is also a genetic link, with around half of sufferers inheriting the condition. Many remember a parent having the evening jitters, but it is only when they develop symptoms, then get a diagnosis themselves, that they understand why. Women tend to get RLS more often than men and symptoms often worsen with age. The disease can also be linked to low iron levels, though exactly how this is related to dopamine is not yet understood (pregnant women sometimes develop RLS because of fluctuating iron levels during pregnancy). Other triggers include common medications such as cold and flu remedies (although no one knows why), antihistamines or antidepressants. Symptoms can also be caused by chronic diseases such as kidney failure (where there can be problems with the body’s iron and mineral levels), or Parkinson’s disease. But misdiagnosis is common and treatment is difficult. Doctors have been known to confuse RLS with depression, stress, sciatica or arthritis, so Spinks trains GPs to look for these symptoms: an urge to move, that comes on while resting, is better after movement, and is worse at night. Lifestyle changes such as cutting out caffeine, alcohol and tobacco help ease the condition in some people. And when the symptoms come on, a hot bath or shower, leg massage, or a hot water bottle might bring relief. Iron supplements can help too, or a low dose of 73

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The condition can feel like a life- sentence and sufferers often dread passing it to their children. “I worry that my daughter may have it,” says Emma. “She’s eight, and has growing pains, and I fear that the two are linked.” In fact, there is no connection between growing pains and RLS. But RLS is sometimes mis-diagnosed in children as growing pains. On the US website whatisrls.org, Lynne, 44, remembers what it was like to have RLS as a child. “I would be up pacing at night while my family was sleeping,” she says. “I felt like I lived alone, living on the sidelines of my own life . . . the lack of sleep turns you into a different person. It has a trivial-sounding name,” says Spinks. “But RLS can affect your whole life.”

Swearing

However, some people actually get worse with these treatments. There are also side effects such as nausea or even, in rare cases, compulsive behaviour (in particular, compulsive gambling – which dopamine can help trigger). Usually, patients turn to medication when bouts of RLS are particularly bad, so it isn’t used all the time, but medication may have to be taken for many years.

Over Eating

magnesium (iron and magnesium deficiency can be connected), but severe cases may need drug treatments. “There is no cure,” says Spinks. “But I often see people improve dramatically when given medication.” There are drugs that mimic the action of dopamine in the brain, or anti-epileptic drugs that change the way nerve cells talk to each other, helping to ease painful symptoms of RLS, as well as helping to stop involuntary limb movements.


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It’s electric Charles H. Aged 68 I’ve had RLS for 54 years. It feels like the mild electric shock one might feel when touching an ungrounded light bulb or like pulsating cramps in my calves. It’s so irritating I must stand up and pace until it subsides, even if I’m exhausted. I also find myself ferociously tapping my feet while I’m just sitting on the sofa and my wife puts my hand on my knee to stop me.

Kim V. Aged 52 Restless leg syndrome is like a light electric current going down your leg—uncomfortable enough to make me move my legs to try to get rid of it. I’ve had it occasionally since my 40s. Sometimes walking helps; other times I feel like it’s mind over matter and I try to not move my legs when the feeling starts. However, that does not always work either. I once went to a therapist who told me to stamp my feet when they want to move but I had my doubts and didn’t want to draw attention to myself when in public.

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FACT: Children may describe RLS symptoms differently than adults. In children, the condition may occur with hyperactivity. However, it’s not fully known how the disorders are related.


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For me, it’s like worms crawling in my legs. I have it 24/7, so I have to be on my feet most of the time. I get about 3 hours of various kinds of exercise a day, even if it’s mostly stretching, which, at 72, has helped me stay ahead of oldage stiffness.

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Gail W. Aged 72


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Sitting still is not an option Judy R. Aged 71 My symptoms are aching and burning with an incredible urge to move immediately. It began insidiously and wasn’t identified until I saw a TV ad for RLS medication and suddenly realized they were talking about me. With drugs, I can get to sleep—but not for long. The 3 to 5 hours of night time sleep make me foggy and often irritable. I do not sit during the day; I cannot attend a movie or theatre event without having to get up. The burning and urge to thrash affects my arms and trunk as well. I am an ambitious traveller. On planes, I walk the aisles, stand whenever I can, and restrain the urge to ask the pilot to let me off—now. Realising that I am not alone in my suffering is validating.

Thomas K. Aged 85 I’ve had RLS about 20 years, so bad that sometimes my legs will jerk and tighten up. I have to move around to try to help it. It’s so bad, sometimes I think pain would be better. I am on some new medication and attending hypnotherapy sessions which I am finally starting to see an improvement from.

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The heebiejeebies

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It’s an urge from deep within. It’s hard to describe. I went to a movie last night. The urge to move was so overwhelming. It’s like a seizure coming on from the waist down. I used to call it the heebie-jeebies when I was a child. If you don’t move, it takes over on its own volition and you start kicking, thrashing, squirming. It plays havoc with one’s mental status: Is there hope it will ever end? If it’s severe, there’s nothing for me that will calm things down. It’s kind of like a panic attack is coming on, but instead of heart palpitations it’s the need to move my legs and kick and thrash.

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Sally K. Aged 43

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Restless Leg Syndrome gets its name from the urge to move the legs when sitting or lying down. This movement relieves the unpleasant feelings that RLS sometimes causes. Typical movements are: • Pacing and walking • Jiggling the legs • Stretching and flexing • Tossing and turning • Rubbing the legs

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FACT:


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Absolute misery Sally M. Aged 80 I’ve had RLS for about 25 years. It feels like you must move your legs. If I don’t get up from sitting or lying down, I’ll be in absolute misery with the tingling, electric-like impulses. Those of us who suffer from restless legs know there can be no thought of sleep when the symptoms appear. Some people, myself included, considered suicide before finding a physician and treatment that helps. 79

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FACT: RLS pain isn’t like the leg cramps many people get at night. Leg cramps are limited to certain muscle groups in the leg, which you feel tightening. They cause more severe pain and require stretching the affected muscle for relief.


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Sleepless in the bathtub

The medication usually helps me sleep at night, but when my RLS is at its peak, even a pill can’t calm my legs. I function, but sometimes I am very tired because my RLS acted up the night before. Once it kicks in, it’s in and out of the bathtub, walking around the house, anything to relax me and get my mind off the creepy feelings in my legs. 80

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Finally, after my marriage dissolved because of my constant moodiness and irritability, I went to a sleep clinic and was diagnosed with RLS. I was given Dopamine agonists medication, which began to work almost immediately. I remember waking up in the morning, having slept an entire night and couldn’t believe I actually rested.

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Support from family and friends also can help relieve stress and anxiety. Let your loved ones know how you feel and what they can do to help you.

During my early 40s, I could not sleep through the night for about four years, I still wonder how I managed to make it to work and function. I’d come home from work, fall asleep on the couch, get up to go to bed, and then would be up all night. Most nights, I slept in the bathtub: Sometimes having the whirlpool jets going the entire night helped, and it was the only way I could make it through the night without going insane. There were nights I wanted to end my life, it was that bad.

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Living with RLS may cause anxiety and stress. It’s important to talk about how you feel with your health care team. Joining a patient support group may help you adjust to living with RLS. You can see how other people who have the same symptoms have coped with them. Talk with your doctor about local support groups or check with an area medical centre.

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TIP:

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Molly M. Aged 53


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Shocked

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I have probably had RLS all my life, but I first remember symptoms in my 20s. I dismissed those as a nervous habit I must have picked up from my mother, who, in retrospect, likely also had RLS. It was a weird, hard-to-explain crawly feeling in the bottom of my feet, making them unable to stay still. If I tried to ignore them, it was like hundreds of tiny electrical shocks on the soles of my feet, making them automatically jump and move. I could not control this, just as your hand automatically jumps back when you get a tiny electric shock. It could wake me up from a sound sleep.

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Mary N. Aged 66

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Certain activities can relieve Restless Leg Syndrome symptoms. These include: • Walking or stretching • Taking a hot or cold bath • Massaging the affected limb(s) • Using heat or ice packs on the affected limb(s) • Doing mentally challenging tasks • Choose an aisle seat at the movies or on airplanes and trains so you can move around, if necessary.

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TIP:


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Unrelenting urge to move Julie V. Aged 49 I’d rather give birth again than relive what I went through. About two years ago I began to notice that I couldn’t sit still for long periods of time. Soon, I was tossing and turning in bed all night long. Sleep was awful, no matter how tired I was, I woke up every few minutes with an unrelenting urge to move. I could only find one position that would give me relief, but it took up my husband’s space. I was so grateful when he got up in the morning so I could sleep for just an hour. I had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes about nine years earlier (a condition often associated with RLS), but I’ve kept my blood sugar under control and hadn’t experienced any complications from the disease. Instead I was convinced that my symptoms stemmed from a back injury she’d sustained a few months earlier.

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I rode my bike at 3 a.m.

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My RLS has improved since me and my doctors started experimenting with different medications; I’ve found some relief with more traditional painkillers. No matter what medication I take, however, I have yet to get a full night’s sleep.

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Afraid that people would think I was crazy, I kept my RLS symptoms to myself for more than 20 years. I didn’t know it at the time, but some of the medications I took for other health conditions—like my chronic migraines, for example—actually made my RLS much worse, keeping me up for days at a time. That’s when I was up at three in the morning, riding my exercise bike, running up and down the stairs, or outside walking up and down the road. It’s one of the most lonely feelings in the world at three o’clock in the morning when you’re trying calm your legs down and there’s nothing to do.”

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Donna M. Aged 52


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CLICKING/ TAPPING From ‘Shine 365’

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it still! Can’t stop that annoying fidgeting habit your Mom warned you about when you were a kid? Not to worry. “Fidgeting can be almost any repetitive movement you do unintentionally like drumming your fingers, twirling your hair, clicking your pen or tapping your foot,” said Dr. Carolyn Ostrander, a Marshfield Clinic family medicine physician. Fidgeting usually isn’t bad or something you should try to stop, she said. In fact, it can be a productive way to relieve stress. Fidgeting releases suppressed energy. People fidget when they’re stressed, anxious or bored and sometimes when they’re trying to stay awake. “Fidgeting is a good adaptation because you’re taking energy and putting it into an activity that’s not destructive,” Ostrander said. “It can keep a person’s anxiety under control so he can handle stressful activities like going to the doctor’s office or testifying in court.” Contrary to what your parents or teachers may have suggested, fidgeting isn’t a sign you aren’t focused. In fact, the movement can help you think and concentrate. “Fidgeting is 87

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often misinterpreted as not paying attention,” Ostrander said. “Maintain eye contact and give verbal cues to show you’re focused on the conversation.”

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Repetitive movement to relieve pain may be a sign of restless leg syndrome. Some people consider skin picking or hair pulling fidgeting, but those behaviours are actually recognized medical problems, Ostrander said. While fidgeting isn’t a sign of Parkinson’s disease, tremors and other involuntary movements may be caused by a neurological problem.

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Fidgeting or a medical problem? Fidgeting is usually a harmless response to stress or boredom, but occasionally it can signal a health problem.

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Get adequate sleep and nutrition. Work in a stimulating, well-lit environment. Practice stress-management skills. If your form of fidgeting is distracting or destructive, like tapping your pen loudly or nail biting, try to train yourself to practice a more subtle movement. Play with a ring or a loose rubber band on your wrist.

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Make changes to minimize movement. You may not be able to stop fidgeting because it’s unintentional, but you can make changes to reduce the likelihood you’ll fidget.


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Taps his fingers on every possible surface Robin Scott For ‘The Dalhartt Exan’

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he repeated click of a ballpoint pen, tapping of a pen, or jingling keys in a pocket can become quite distracting. Why people engage in annoying habits is a mystery, but all people have some habit that likely annoys those around them or even cuts off proper communication completely. Taking a test when the person behind has a sniffle, or trying to watch a movie when the child behind continually kicks the seat can feel as bothersome as a leaky faucet or squeaky screen door except that they are controlled somewhat by the human consciousness. The leaky faucet or the squeak emanating from the screen door isn’t deliberate undertakings that interrupt a train of thought. Shouldn’t a person with a cough or sniffle reschedule the test, and why doesn’t the parent of the child with the uncontrollable feet at the movie theatre make them stop kicking? People’s annoying habits only seem to bother others and not the perpetrator. How is that possible? At a lecture in college a guest speaker 89

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Some habits that are annoying cause people to feel uncomfortable. The continual blinking of the eyes or swallowing air as though trying to get a golf ball down the throat causes pain to even the onlooker. Tugging the hair, tapping the teeth or rubbing the face all have meaning according to ASIS International. ASIS is a company dedicated to increasing the effectiveness and productivity of security professionals by developing educational programs and materials. One seminar the company provides on body language teaches people how to control a conversation by being aware of their body language and those around them.

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The would-be-drummer who constantly taps his fingers on every possible surface or the cheerleader who can never stand still because she’s always in the midst of a hurkey interfere in their own communication too. Anyone in conversation with a cheerleader or drill team member knows to give them at least five feet of space. People who talk with their hands have a similar need for extra room in their personal space. If their hands were tied behind their back could they talk at all?

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rattled keys and coins in his pocket throughout the speech. The students all noticed and even commented that at times they couldn’t hear what the speaker was saying. When the lecture was over the speaker was asked, “What’s in your pocket that made all of that noise?” The surprised speaker stated, “Nothing, I think.” He was shocked to discover how much he had interrupted his own talk and had no idea he had done so throughout the hour-long lecture.


Popping gum can become such a distraction that communication ceases. The victim of the gum popper is unable to concentrate on anything except the gum, and people who pull their gum in and out of their mouths while chewing definitely lose all hope of having a valuable conversation. Some habits are dominated by particular groups of people. Young girls are gum poppers, while adults undertake pen tapping. Tossing and playing with hair during a conversation, especially if a mirror is nearby can lead to anger by the victim. Trying to talk to anyone who is preoccupied with something else is nearly impossible. Clerks in a store who are engaged in personal conversation, or worse, on a cell phone, can lead to loss of business. When speaking or relaying ideas people inherently feel their words should be taken seriously. How is that possible if picking lint off a shirt takes precedence over the conversation? Some habits don’t annoy to such a degree. Biting nails is more detrimental to the nail biter than those around him. Scratching one’s nose while deep in thought probably doesn’t cause too much of a distraction. Those habits may be overlooked or forgiven, while others become impediments to all activity. Habits that occur while deep in thought have a purpose and may be forgiven. Many people tap the side of their head while trying to recall some detail and their eyes become distant as they chase the thought through their mind. Discovering the thought is followed by an “Ah-ha!” Everyone feels the relief in recalling information, so the thought provoking 91

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habit it took to get the information is a small price to pay in exchange for the tidbit. Crunching ice, making strange noises, opening a peppermint candy during the Sunday morning service, slurping every drop out of a cup, or cracking knuckles are also on the list of annoying habits that people do without thinking. Hundreds of websites on the Internet offer ways to stop engaging in bad habits, so people must actually be thinking about them and how to avoid them. The key to getting rid of any bad habit is recognizing the habit and identifying circumstances or situations that cause the bad habit to surface. Nervousness leads to many habits that annoy others, thus identifying and overcoming the cause for the nervousness could take years or even a lifetime. Some of those types of bad habits include biting nails, clearing the throat excessively, popping the jaw and chewing on the inside of the lips or mouth.

Overcoming the cause for the nervousness could take years or even a lifetime 93

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different set of bad habits.

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Everyone has been told by their mother not to make funny faces or their face would freeze that way, but for some unknown reason it becomes harder and harder as people age to say, “Stop doing that!� If a request to stop comes too late it is often accompanied by anger and an explicative, which leads to a whole

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Other bad habits that are caused from inattentiveness should require no more than some attention to one’s own behaviour to eliminate. Those habits include clicking pens, rattling keys and smacking gum. Asking a friend or family member to comment when those behaviours are engaged in will provide self-awareness that gives the offender an opportunity to immediately correct the behaviour. People are quick to correct their young children when they do something that is annoying.


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I don’t even notice. I just do it Jennette P. Aged 37 My teacher has been thinking that I am OCD. Most of my friends now believe so too. But, I have a new problem. I can’t stop clicking my pen. I don’t buy clicking pens because I tend to click them a lot. But, I was given a clicking pen yesterday and when I got anxious I started clicking it. I click in a calming rhythm. No one really said anything about it. But, I clicked it for a solid 4 hours! Today my friends were playing with me. One of them knows I hate when people touch me at all. She would rub my arm or my leg and I would jump away. It’s just how I respond. Even if she were coming at me I automatically move away. I don’t even like to hug people. I never hug. Which is sad. I can’t stand people touching me. But, she and another friend were doing that and they thought it was funny how I react. Well, somehow I ended up in tears. It wasn’t so bad I had to cry, but I had tears! No idea why! But, I seen my pen, grabbed it, and started clicking. That was at 11:30 this morning! It is now 10:30 P.M. and I just stopped clicking it about an hour ago.

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FACT: The most common reason for fidgeting is “displacement”. The fidget is an expression that is displacing, or taking the place of an emotion which you have but are unable to express directly. Although many of us have a baseline level of fidgeting in normal situations, the frequency of fidgeting shoots up when we are excited, anxious, self-conscious, stressed, fearful, angry, frustrated, impatient or bored.


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I sat in a daze and my friend realised how much being touched really bothered me. I sat in a daze clicking my pen the rest of the school day. That means I clicked my pen between 8 and 10 hours STRAIGHT! Wow! Shocking to me too. No idea how. I don’t even notice. I just do it. It is weird because it seems to calm me down. I guess because of the rhythm, but I don’t know.

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Help your fidgety fingers stay still: Avoid wearing a wristwatch or bracelets when you’re going to a meeting. Keep your table free of items you can play with (pens, rubber bands, paper clips). If you like drumming your fingers, before any important meeting, visualize and imagine your fingers being wrapped with tape or gauze.

Over Eating

TIP:


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Wrath of the employee Jennette P. Aged 37 My supervisor at my old job was a real piece of work. He treated everyone under him poorly and had a complete mastery of passive aggression. Despite all that, his worst trait was his love of clicking his pen while he worked. Sometimes he’d click it frantically for a short burst, and sometimes it’d be more rhythmic. It drove me f***ing insane. After he complained that I took too long going to the bathroom, I decided it was time to take my revenge on him. While he was at lunch I took apart his pens and removed the springs from them, then reassembled them and put them back in his jar. I didn’t get to catch the look on his face when he tried to click them again, but the afternoon free of the clicking was golden. He also had to go buy new ones as I threw the springs out. That’s a $2.99 fine for being an a**hole boss.

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Three years back, when I was in my 6th semester at university. One of the lecturers from my department (who’s normally an okay guy but not in this story so let’s call him DL) informed my class that we were going to have an extra class before lunch. But he starts eating away at our lunch break, so I decide to use the tools at hand to exact retribution on behalf of my dorm friends. From the mid row bench in the class, I begin clicking my ballpoint pen repeatedly. The guy next to me began, and then the guy next to him, and so on, until DL’s voice was drowned out by the glorious chorus of around a 100 clicking pens. He stopped talking and ended the class shortly after.

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Ross E. Aged 21


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Fidgety fingers Candy L. Aged 31 I have this thing filled with some type of liquid, cool and squishy to the touch and easily flips inside out through a hole in the middle. It keeps me mindlessly entertained for hours. I bought it for my kid at the aquarium but after he kept leaving it around I found myself squeezing it whilst watching TV and then I would bring it everywhere in my bag. It’s just something to keep my hands busy and I barely notice it. But I’m sure I look really bizarre just sat on the bus as a 31 year old squeezing a thing filled with blue gel and plastic fish.

Daniel F. Aged 43 I fiddle with tape at my desk. I think it has something to do with the sticky texture and crinkly sound. But my colleague get so annoyed with me that they’ve actually hidden my tape multiple times. Maybe I should just take it completely away from my desk to get over it.

Eloise W. Aged 27 I have my worry stone. I keep it in my pocket and take it out regularly to rub with my fingers, tumble it around, just have it in my hands. I find it comforting and helps me pay attention to other things more easily. 99

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Sarah M. Aged 28

Topher W. Aged 39 I am constantly pulling apart paper clips throughout the day. They are completely unusable once I’m done with them and I just put them in the trash. I’m sure it won’t be long until my office come to me with a bill for all of the paper clips I’ve mutilated. Maybe I should invest in a Rubix cube but that would draw more attention to myself than paper clips and would likely get me fired sooner.

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I bring one of my son’s toys to work with me and have it around my wrist. It’s a wring with brightly coloured beads that he sucked on when he was teething. I take it off my wrist pass it between my hands, spin it around my fingers and then put it back on my wrist; usually during meetings. It reminds me of him and all the fun we have when we’re together. I guess I just miss him when he’s at nursery and I’m at work all day.

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to what we’re reading, hearing, or seeing. They say this “floating attention” could be an evolutionary trait that “dates back to prehistoric times when the ability to focus 100% on a single task was not entirely desirable and would result in a person missing the large ravenous beast hiding in the bushes.”

Karly N. Aged 33

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In other words, the authors believe fidgeting distracts part of the brain that’s become bored so the other parts can pay attention

The little rubber things on my headphones. All day I will have them in my pocket and suddenly my hand will be in there fiddling with them and I have no recollection of choosing to. When I was younger I would play with my hair so much that it started to fall out so I made sure to stop that bad habit and must have replaced it with this instead. I would like to get rid of this habit as I definitely think I could be more alert to my surroundings but for the moment I can’t help it.

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We do know fidgeting is a common coping mechanism for people with ADD, but could it serve a similar purpose for the population as a whole? According to Roland Rotz and Sarah D. Wright, authors of Fidget To Focus: Outwit Your Boredom: Sensory Strategies For Living With ADHD: “If something we are engaged in is not interesting enough to sustain our focus, the additional sensorymotor input that is mildly stimulating, interesting, or entertaining allows our brains to become fully engaged and allows us to sustain focus on the primary activity in which we are participating.”

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FACT:


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“SPENDTHRIFT”


OVER SPENDING Compulsive Spending From ‘The Recovery Group’

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hopping spree or addiction? What happens when shopping spirals out of control, and in some cases, becomes an addiction? From hitting the mall with your girlfriends on a Saturday afternoon, to holiday spending on gifts that go under the tree, shopping could be called one of America’s favourite pastimes. For most people, it means some new clothes for work or a small trinket for a friend. For others, however, shopping is much more than an enjoyable pastime, and in some cases, it is a real and destructive addiction that can turn into a financial disaster. “Compulsive shopping and spending are defined as inappropriate, excessive, and out of control,” says Donald Black, MD, professor of psychiatry at the University of Iowa College of Medicine. “Like other addictions, it basically has to do with impulsiveness and lack of control over one’s impulses. In America, shopping is embedded in our culture; so often, the impulsiveness comes out as excessive shopping.” Sometimes referred to as 103 /

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“shopoholism,” shopping addiction can wreak havoc on a person’s life, family, and finances. Experts explain to WebMD why shopping can be so addictive, what the warning signs are, and how to stop the cycle of spending.

“There are certainly a lot of commonalities among shopoholics and other addicts,” says Engs. “For instance, while alcoholics will hide their bottles, shopoholics will hide their purchases.” 104 /

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SHOPOHOLISM

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While the origin of addictions remains uncertain, why addicts continue their destructive behaviours is better understood. “Individuals will get some kind of high from an addictive behaviour like shopping,” says Engs. “Meaning that endorphins and dopamine, naturally occurring opiate receptor sites in the brain, get switched on, and the person feels good, and if it feels good they are more likely to do it -- it’s reinforced.” So what are the telltale signs that shopping has crossed the line and become an addiction?

Over Eating

“No one knows what causes addictive behaviours, like shopping, alcoholism, drug abuse, and gambling,” says Ruth Engs, EdD, a professor of applied health science at Indiana University. “Some of the new evidence suggests that some people, maybe 10%-15%, may have a genetic predisposition to an addictive behaviour, coupled with an environment in which the particular behaviour is triggered, but no one really knows why.”

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REINFORCED SHOPPING


What else should a concerned family member or friend look out for when they think shopping has become a problem? SPENDING OVER BUDGET “Often times a person will spend over their budget and get into deep financial trouble, spending well above their income,” says Engs. “The normal person will say, ‘Oops, I can’t afford to buy this or that.’ But not someone who has an addiction,” explains Engs -- he or she will not recognize the boundaries of a budget. COMPULSIVE BUYING “When a person with a shopping addiction goes shopping, they often compulsively buy, meaning they go for one pair of shoes and come out with 10.” ITS A CHRONIC PROBLEM “A shopping addiction is a continuous problem,” says Engs. “It’s more than two or three months of the year, and more than a once-a-year Christmas spree.” HIDING THE PROBLEM “Shopoholics will hide their purchases because they don’t want their significant other to know they bought it because they’ll be criticized,” says Engs. “They may have secret credit card accounts, too. Because this problem affects mostly women, as alcoholism affects mostly men, husbands will all of sudden be told their wife is $20,000-$30,000 in debt and they are responsible, and many times, this comes out in divorce.”

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A VICIOUS CIRCLE “Some people will take their purchases back because they feel guilty,” says Engs. “That guilt can trigger another shopping spree, so it’s a vicious circle.” And in these people, debt may not be an issue because they’re consistently returning clothes out of guilt -- but a problem still exists. IMPAIRED RELATIONSHIPS “It is not uncommon for us to see impairments in relationships from excessive spending or shopping,” says Rick Zehr, vice president of addiction and behavioural services at Proctor Hospital at the Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery. “Impairment can occur because the person spends time away from home to shop, covers up debt with deception, and emotionally and physically starts to isolate themselves from others as they become preoccupied with their behaviour.” CLEAR CONSEQUENCES “It’s just like any other addiction -- it has nothing to do with how much a person shops or spends, and everything to do with consequences,” says Zehr. “We often get the question around the holidays that because a person spent more money than she intended, does this make her an addict? The answer is no. However, if there is a pattern or a trend or consequences that occur with excessive shopping then the person may be a problem spender -- the hallmark is still loss of control. If they are no longer in control of their shopping but their shopping is in control of them, they’ve crossed the line.”

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According to Zehr, these behaviours can also signal a serious problem:.” Shopping or spending money as a result of feeling angry, depressed, anxious, or lonely Having arguments with others about one’s shopping habits Feeling lost without credit cards -- actually going into withdrawal without them

Spending a lot of time juggling accounts or bills to accommodate spending

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“If someone identifies four or more of any of these behaviours, there may be a problem,” Zehr explains to WebMD.

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Thinking obsessively about money

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Lying about how much money was spent. For instance, owning up to buying something, but lying about how much it actually cost

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Feeling guilty, ashamed, or embarrassed after a spending spree

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Buying items on credit, rather than with cash Describing a rush or a feeling of euphoria with spending


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I used shopping to avoid myself Avis Cardella From ‘TODAY’ with an excerpt from ‘Spent’

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fter her mother’s death, fashion editor and writer Avis Cardella embraced shopping as her drug of choice. She would buy anything she could to fill the void she felt inside. The thrill of shopping soon became addictive, but the remorse she would feel afterward was crushing. Still, she would spend hours shopping each and every day. As Cardella explains, “I was no longer consuming; I was just being consumed.” Here is an excerpt from Cardella’s book, “Spent: Memoirs of a Shopping Addict”: Barneys, Bergdorf’s, Bloomingdale’s I used shopping to avoid myself. I used shopping to define myself. And at some point, I realized that I was no longer consuming; I was just being consumed. When I stood in the lingerie department of Barneys, flanked by rows of candy-coloured Cosabella thongs and Ripcosa tank tops, and couldn’t remember how I got there, I knew I was in trouble. That was back at the turn of the millennium, when life couldn’t have been better, but when I knew that something was going terribly wrong. 109 /

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It was the late 1990s — the age of “irrational exuberance” — and everyone was irrational; everyone was exuberant; everyone was

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But, by all appearances, life was good. I was living in Manhattan and had a career as a freelance writer. I was engaged to a wealthy European businessman, and we had two homes, two cars, and an abundance of friends. My closet was full of beautiful things to wear, and there were all kinds of places to wear them.

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And then the walk home, the strange feeling of not wanting what I now had: twenty Cosabella thongs wrapped in whisper-thin tissue paper at the bottom of a black Barneys shopping bag. I returned to my apartment and threw the bag in the back of the closet, where other discarded purchases were already marooned.

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Why was I standing in Barneys in a stupor? Why was I buying twenty pairs of underwear? “Can I help you?” said the salesperson. “Yes, I want one in every colour.”


shopping. Why not me? What could be wrong with that? Shopping almost felt mandatory in Manhattan. Just outside my front door was a veritable candy land: Tiffany’s, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Manolo Blahnik, Bulgari, Takashimaya, Bonwit Teller, Prada, Linda Dresner, Emporio Armani, Tod’s, Nike, Burberry’s — and my three favourite department stores: Barneys, Bergdorf’s, and Bloomingdale’s. Let me give the geography because junkies are always concerned with logistics: Bergdorf’s was the closest of my beloved retail fixes, about a six-minute walk from the luxury high-rise tower in which I lived. Barneys was next, about a ten-minute walk depending on the route I’d take. Bloomingdale’s could be reached in fifteen minutes at a good clip. Of the three, Barneys on Madison Avenue was the one I liked best. Barneys was modern, fresh, and white walled. Stepping into Barneys always felt a bit like boarding a spaceship. Sometimes I felt there was a distinct atmospheric change, a subtle barometric shift that seemed to occur in the small vestibule that led from the street to the store. Consequently, everything for sale at Barneys carried an aura of specialness, even otherworldliness. When I was strolling alone around Barneys, the world outside ceased to exist. I could spend hours anchored in the shoe department. The salesman knew me by name. I knew his too. John had been selling me shoes for years. We first met when he was working at the downtown Barneys on 17th Street. It goes back that far, perhaps to the late ‘80s. He 111 /

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At Bloomingdale’s I could indulge my most secret self. I had a history at Bloomingdale’s because that is where I had shopped with my mother and where I could always return to dive into the folds of my past. As I came to realize, my shopping habit had deep roots. The memory of shopping with my mother is a touchstone.

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I didn’t enjoy shopping at Bergdorf’s as much as at Barneys, but Bergdorf’s had an air of superiority. Even pushing my way through the heavy, gilded revolving door felt like an initiation rite. Getting my hair cut and coloured on the light-filled top floor at the John Barrett Salon was the closest I ever came to feeling like the “real deal”: a Bergdorf blonde.

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Shopping to avoid myself. At Bergdorf’s I never knew anybody on the selling floor by name. I liked to float through the store and not speak. I felt intimidated there and slightly out of my league. Pretending to be born and bred Bergdorf’s was something of a private fantasy for me. It must have been a New York thing.

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was always friendly and seemed to enjoy his job, but what he really wanted to do was bake cookies. I confided that I wanted to become a writer. This is what happens when you spend a lot of time shopping: You get to know sales associates, and they get to know you. Sometimes you end up receiving handwritten notes in the mail, informing you of the arrival of a new collection or inviting you to a private sale. You get Christmas cards too.


I USED SHOPPING TO AVOID MYSELF At the end of the 20th century, as the Y2K bug was threatening to sour the big party, as New York’s dot-com bubble was growing and Wall Street mavericks were riding roughshod through town, guns blazing, I was waking up from my big sleep, my stupor, my sidestepping grief.

WHO WAS I? I was a woman living in Manhattan. I was a creature with a cultivated appearance. Everything about me was carefully calibrated. Tips and cues were dictated by the pages of fashion magazines; I tried to follow them meticulously. My regimen included Pilates classes, yoga, and core fusion. The resulting body was taut and toned, rope muscled and fine. My skin also was polished and buffed like a brand-new automobile; it caught the light and glowed. This was the expensive appearance, the shopper’s appearance, because shopping was an essential part of the lifestyle. If you didn’t look the part, the sales associates wouldn’t take you seriously. It was the acceptable appearance, because on any given day, as the sun came slanting down New York’s grid of corridors, hundreds of women who looked just like me could be seen scampering to and fro clutching shopping bags. Looking back, I realize that I must have joined that team as a sleepwalker. At the time, I had no recollection of how I got there. I only know that I awoke one day to find my closet filled with the right kinds of suits — Prada, Armani, 113 /

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There must have been twenty colours or even more. There were so many delectable colours: Tang orange, bubble gum pink, grape, lemon, Astroturf green, lipstick red, fuchsia, lavender, blush, and café au lait. Some Ripcosa tank tops in white and black were dangling from a railing

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I WAS STARING AT THE COSABELLA PANTIES.

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I awoke one day with the realization that the only way I could have acquired all these accoutrements of the cultivated appearance was by having shopped for them. Therefore, I must have been shopping for a very long time. Purchasing impulsively, mindlesslyso that is how, one glorious, sunny Tuesday afternoon, I found myself in Barneys and couldn’t remember how I got there. Where I should have been was home finishing a story about the fashion photographer Michael Thompson. I had interviewed Thompson at a downtown studio where he was photographing Halle Berry for Revlon. It was my prize interview, hard-won from the clutches of another writer. But now the story was overdue, and I ... well, I was standing awestruck in the lingerie department.

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Calvin Klein, Jil Sander — and the right kinds of shoes with heart-stabbing heels, the type that made my legs look just right, like magic. (It’s all about illusion.) And in my bathroom cabinet, there were the right kinds of creams: the Laszlo Night Serum, the Crème de la Mer, the regenerating fluid, the Clinique soap, the vitamin C rejuvenating gel, the whitening toothpaste, and the amino acids with strangesounding names.


just above the panties, and I asked for three of those. “Two in black and one in white, please.” Thongs and tanks — an army of undies surrounded me. There were also brassieres and bustiers, camisoles and cotton pajama tops, satin lounging robes and silk tap pants. And it was all there to be bought. I was there to buy. That’s where I was when I should have been at home working. I watched as the salesperson carefully checked the label of each pair of panties, and I felt as if a helium balloon was being inflated inside my head. It took up the space where my brain was supposed to be. I could have floated to the ceiling and stayed there for an eternity, hovering above the lingerie department, because I felt a kind of high at the thought of purchasing all those panties. But as I walked home that day, I wasn’t sure what I wanted anymore. I only knew that I was slipping. It was impossible to imagine how far the slide would be or how hard the landing. I definitely didn’t know where it would end. I only knew that I had started to experience something troubling and inexplicable. What was this shopping itch that had begun to appear with regularity? It was like an alien being that tapped into my psyche and told me to stop everything I was doing in order to shop. Even though shopping was a routine part of my life, this itch felt different. It demanded to be scratched. When the itch would return, the only thing to relieve it was a purchase. I had begun to shop like someone on autopilot, purchasing impulsively, mindlessly. These shopping episodes were followed by regret and sadness — sometimes so profound that I 115 /

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link with the past, my trip to the future.

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WAS IT ALSO MY ADDICTION?

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Shopping was my escape, my friend, my balm, my release, my pacifier, my pleasure, my secret, my pastime, my kill time, my fantasy, my reality, my recreation, my therapy, my drug, my stimulant, my lover, my memory, my

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When I got home that day, I opened my closet door and was confronted with the contents. There were my beautiful suits, my columns of cashmere sweaters, stacks of T-shirts and summer dresses. Everything was in its place. But at the back of the closet, there was a growing pile of unopened shopping bags. One bag contained a $500 denim jacket; another had three pairs of yoga pants. I threw in the glossy black bag from Barneys and shut the door.

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couldn’t breathe, as if something heavy had settled on my chest and couldn’t be moved. I had loved shopping since I was a young girl. What could be wrong with shopping? When I was in my teens, it hardly seemed possible that something as pleasurable, as innocuous — one of the most ordinary of pastimes — could wreak havoc with my life.


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Shopping makes me feel better Jessica B. Age 22 It doesn’t matter that I rarely wear the same thing twice (too many options), that my clothes are literally overflowing from my closet and drawers, or that my friends go “shopping” in my room when they need something cute. Nothing stops me. It’s safe to say that the majority of my pay cheque goes towards buying myself things I don’t need. I even prefer going shopping by myself so that I don’t have to hear the constant nagging of my friends and family to stop spending money. It’s not like I haven’t had a few bad experiences. When I turned 18, I eagerly got my first credit card – only to max it out almost immediately (to the surprise of no one). The anxiety of debt barely bothered me, though – my parents bailed me out and paid it off. And they did the same thing the second time… and the third… and the fourth – until my dad came home one day and cut up my card into a million plastic pieces. When I start buying things, I can’t seem to get myself to stop, and it’s not only clothes. Yes, I have tons of shirts, pants, dresses and shoes, but I’ve also purchased 20 new nail polishes within the span of one week. I recently ordered a few hundred dollars worth of books 117 /

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TIP: Create a Budget (or Improve Your Existing Budget) Taking a hard look at what you make versus what you spend is the first step. Here’s a simple process to get you started: Start a spreadsheet to categorize different expenses and types of income. Add Up Pay Stubs. Calculate how much you’re bringing in each month from salary, and any other income. Gather all your bills. Start by making a category for fixed expenses and tallying them up first. List your variable spending. From entertainment to clothing, and from groceries to gas, start allocating


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I know it’s irresponsible, careless and superficial, but I can’t get myself to find a cure for my addiction. I really wish I could start being more serious about money and start saving more. I mean, I have so many clothes I don’t even know what to do with them! I’d love to be able to make my parents stop yelling at me and feel like I actually have money in the bank.

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Here’s the thing: shopping makes me feel better. When I’m sad over a dude, fighting with a friend, stressing over work or am just feeling massively bored, I shop, I purchase, and I am instantly cheered up. Even when everything else is falling apart, I can still find something I want – and that’s comforting.

Over Eating

funds to each variable spending category. Base your numbers on how much you’ve spent in the past, but also try to reign things in a bit. Put some money in savings. Don’t forget that a good budget also allocates money to savings. Try following the “50/30/20” rule: 50% of your monthly income should go to fixed and necessary expenses, 30% to fun stuff and lifestyle choices, and 20% to savings and paying off debts. Test Your Budget. Leave space beside each budget entry and enter the actual amounts you spend going forward. Compare them to what you’d planned and adjust your numbers for the next month accordingly.

in one month. I’m obsessed with makeup, designer bags, jewellery, movies… pretty much anything. My latest habit is religiously checking the website Gilt.com – and almost always buying something.


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Material love Claire K. Age 14 Ever since my parents got divorced when I was 9, I love the feeling I get when I get something new. Whether it’s just a tube of new mascara, super cute wedges, or a whole outfit, I’m instantly in a better mood. Now that I’m almost 15, I’m starting to worry if I’ll always be like this.

Ruthie F. Age 25 The first time I was ever called a teenager was in the dressing room of Infinity, a children’s store on the Upper East Side. My face was sticky with tears and I was sweating in the corner. “India,” my Mom said, peeking through the dressing room door. “That’s where we’re going. I’m taking you and your sister to India. Maybe then you’ll understand the meaning of really needing something, and you’ll stop acting like such a teenager.” All I wanted— correction, needed—was a pair of $80 Energie Jeans. They were boot cut. They were dark, dark denim. I was eleven years old and I needed them. Shamefully, perhaps, but I did. “You need medicine when you’re sick. You don’t need designer jeans,” my mother said in the cab ride home. “But. I. Love. Them,” I said through cry-hiccups. “You should never love something that doesn’t love you back.” That 119 /

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was my mother’s favourite thing to say. It was the same thing she said to my sister when they fought, three years earlier, in a similar car ride home about a DKNY leather bomber jacket. She was big on this idea that material objects weren’t things you could love. But I promise you: I did love objects. I still do. Some might say I’ve made a living out of my love for shopping. And while I’d like to think that looking at clothing, jewellery, and handbags brings me as much joy as owning them, it doesn’t.

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You should never love something that doesn’t love you back

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I am quite shy and I lost my father as a child. Shopping has become my addiction to cope with these feelings. I am finally starting to recover and make some psychological breakthroughs. Shopping is only a symptom of some much deeper rooted psychological issues. For me, it is mainly losing my father and not dealing with it, low self esteem, and crumbling under a lot of expectations people had for me as a kid to succeed. Reconnecting with nature through hiking, focusing on positives, and picking up new hobbies has helped me.

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Lianne E. Age 20


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Once it’s bought, I think why? Jane L. Age 43 I get anxiety just from looking at the clothes that I purchased a day ago, even though they were on sale, knowing that I cannot return them, I feel ashamed. Half of my new clothes are still in bags because I cannot face what I’ve purchased. Of course, I get a “high” from shopping, BEFORE I buy the items, then once it’s bought, I bring it home, put all the bags on the bed and stare at them and think “why?”. The next couple of days after my compulsive shopping experience, I become very frugal with guilt. The irony: I’m not in debt! I am just terrified of it. I pay my bills on time and the full amount. I just can’t save money properly. At times I literally have to lock myself in my room to avoid spending money.

TIP: When you’re faced with a potential purchase, compare it to the more useful things you could buy with the same money, or to the energy you expended to earn it, and you might think twice about splurging. Another idea could be to do an “inventory” of what you own so that when you go shopping you don’t buy something you already own. Also, it could help you to only buy something if you have other items that you will wear with it. 121 /

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I was raised to shop

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A 2008 study, suggests that the number of compulsive shoppers/spenders may be closer to 8.9% of the American population, that’s more than 25 million. Contrary to the confessions here men and women compulsively shop/ spend about equally. Arguments over money are the number one reason for relationship stress and break-ups. The average credit card debt for a U.S. citizen is close to $10,000--mostly accumulated from unnecessary purchases.

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FACT:

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I was raised to shop. Some people eat their feelings. I spend mine. It started as a fun hobby when I was a little girl, something to do with my Mom. And then it became the response to hard times. Whenever I broke up with a boy, my Mom took me shopping. And guess what. It DID make me feel better. Now, as an adult, I realize I felt better because I was a fifteenyear-old idiot who was getting dumped by boys and so the mere distraction of doing ANYTHING for an hour would help me heal, and it just happened to be shopping. Spending time with my Mom, which even as a fifteenyear-old Terrible Human Being (as many of us are at fifteen), I was secretly happy about that. But the seeds were planted there, and still to this day, at 26 years old, I shop away every bad mood, stress, fear, frustration–and yes, joy.

Over Spending

Penny K. Age 14


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PROCRASTINATING


PROCRASTINATING Why do you procrastinate? Pamela Wiegartz For ‘Psychology Today’

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ne of the most common questions I hear as a therapist is, “Why do I keep procrastinating when I know it causes me so much anxiety?” You know what you need to do, but you don’t do it, or you wait until the last minute. And, time and again, the pattern repeats itself. You feel caught, trapped in a vortex of anxiety, stress, and procrastination. Many of my clients have been told, or have told themselves, that they procrastinate because they are disorganized, lazy, or, worse, because they just don’t care enough! Most of the time, nothing could be further from the truth. Procrastinators are often smart, capable, hard working people-they just can’t get things done on time and can’t seem to figure out why. If you are wondering about the reasons behind your procrastination, take a look at the test on the right and see if anything sounds familiar. How you answered may tell you a lot about why you procrastinate. A “yes” response to questions 1 through 3 may mean a fear of failure is behind your procrastination. The 125 /

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TEST: 1. When faced with a task, do you think of all the ways it could go wrong? 2. Do you picture how important people in your life might react if you failed? 3. Do you believe it’s better to not try at all than to try your best and fail? 4. Are you overwhelmed by the possibility of new responsibilities if you are successful? 5. Do you subscribe to the idea “If I do well, then others will expect more of me”?


thought of putting in effort but still failing makes you anxious, so you choose avoiding and procrastinating instead. In this way, when your project fails you can rationalize that it wasn’t a true test of your abilities anyway-if only you’d had more time.

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Now look at your results

While the reasons for procrastination may vary, the results are often the same-a seemingly endless cycle of anxiety, avoidance, and shame. Nothing gets done, and you can’t enjoy anything with that guilt hanging over your head. Maybe you play golf instead of working on your presentation, but the image of your glowering boss nags at you during the entire game anyway. You can never really relax because there is always something else you should be doing. Procrastination doesn’t work because avoidance doesn’t erase anxietyit just delays it.

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6. Do you feel your success will lead to other people finding out the “real you”? 7. Do you believe that if you’re going to do something, you should try to do it perfectly? 8. Do you find it difficult to persist when things aren’t going just right? 9. Would you rather avoid doing something than do it imperfectly?

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If you identified with questions 7 through 9, perfectionism may underlie your avoidance. Because you believe that things should be done perfectly, the result is that nothing gets done at all. When faced with a task, you become overwhelmed and frustrated-paralysed by impossible standards.

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On the flip side, a “yes” to questions 4 through 6, may mean you fear success, not failure. Procrastination protects you from the higher expectations and greater responsibilities that may come with succeeding. Like those who procrastinate because they fear failure, you keep yourself safe from facing your true limits by avoiding challenges and putting things off.


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Getting over procrastination Maria Konnikova For ’The New Yorker’

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ant to hear my favourite procrastination joke? I’ll tell you later.

Piers Steel, a psychologist at the University of Calgary, has saved up countless such lines while researching the nature of procrastination. Formerly a terrible procrastinator himself, he figures a dose of humour can’t hurt. It’s certainly better than continually building up anxiety about work you should do now but put off until later and later, as your chances of completing it grow ever slimmer, and the consequences loom ever larger. The tendency to procrastinate dates back to the very beginnings of civilization. As early as 1400 B.C., Steel told me, ancient Egyptians were struggling with basic time management. “Friend, stop putting off work and allow us to go home in good time,” read some hieroglyphs, translated by the University of Toronto Egyptologist Ronald Leprohon. Six hundred years later, in 800 B.C., the early Greek poet Hesiod voiced a similar feeling, warning us not to “put your work off till tomorrow and the day after, for a sluggish worker does not fill his barn, nor one who puts off his work.” In 44 B.C., 127 /

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Cicero deemed “slowness and procrastination” always “hateful.” (James Surowiecki wrote about philosophers’ interest in procrastination in the magazine, in 2010.)

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The twenty-first century seems no different. Students procrastinate instead of doing their schoolwork. In one study, thirty-two per cent of surveyed university students were found to be severe procrastinators—meaning that their procrastination had gone from being an annoyance to an actual problem—while only one per cent claimed that they never procrastinated at all. Employees procrastinate instead of taking care of their office tasks. The average employee, one survey found, spends about an hour and twenty minutes each day putting off work; that time, in turn, translates to a loss of about nine thousand dollars per worker per year. In a study conducted in 2007, about a quarter of surveyed adults reported that procrastination was one of their defining personality traits.

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The sentiment survived intact through more recent times. In 1751, Samuel Johnson remarked, “The folly of allowing ourselves to delay what we know cannot be finally escaped is one of the general weaknesses which, in spite of the instruction of moralists, and the remonstrances of reason, prevail to a greater or lesser degree in every mind; even they who most steadily withstand it find it, if not the most violent, the most pertinacious of their passions, always renewing its attacks, and, though often vanquished, never destroyed.” He concluded that it was “natural,” if not praiseworthy or desirable, “to have particular regard to the time present.”


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This was the question that preoccupied Steel as he began his research into procrastination in the nineties. One of his first studies, as a doctoral student under Thomas Brother, at the University of Minnesota, involved observing students as they worked through online course materials. “It was basically an early MOOC, a computerized class where everyone could do the work at their own pace,” he said. “And so we had this great time-pace data: how much work they’re doing, and how quickly.” The researchers could, in other words, take an observable behaviour—how long students took

Over Eating

“It’s a common pulse of humanity,” Steel told me. We’ve all likely experienced the feeling. There’s that project we have to finish, that email we have to send, that phone call we need to make. But somehow, despite our best intentions, we never seem to get any closer to doing it. “One thing that defines procrastination isn’t a lack of intention to work,” Steel said. It’s the difficulty of following through on that intention. For most of us, procrastination isn’t a pleasant experience. It’s not like blowing off a meeting or a class and feeling the freedom of rebellion; it’s a feeling of growing pressure—of knowing we’ll have to deal eventually with whatever it is we’re putting off. About ninety-five per cent of people who procrastinate wish they could reduce that tendency; and, as Steel writes in his book, “The Procrastination Equation,” procrastination leads to lower over-all wellbeing, worse health, and lower salaries. Why, then, is procrastination such a common phenomenon? If we don’t particularly want to procrastinate, and it causes us discomfort to do so, why do we persist in doing it?


to finish certain assignments, for example, or how well they stayed on task—and match it against a host of self-reported measures, among them the tendency to procrastinate. When Steel completed his analysis, one finding in particular jumped out: excessive procrastinators were worse at self-regulating. In fact, self-regulation—the ability to exercise self-control and delay immediate rewards for future benefits—explained seventy per cent of the observed procrastination behaviours. From that connection came Steel’s main insight: What if procrastination was simply the flip side of impulsivity? Just as impulsivity is a failure of our self-control mechanisms—we should wait, but instead we act now—so, too, is procrastination: we should act now, but instead we wait. In 2007, Steel finally published his dissertation research—“I joke that it took me ten years to write up a three-year project,” he said—but in the intervening years he continued to pursue the link between procrastination and impulsivity. In study after study he found the same correlation: individuals who were prone to impulsiveness also tended to be excessive procrastinators. Steel summarized his conclusions in a meta-analysis of the literature, drawing from over two hundred studies. When he examined the data, he posited that the two traits may share the same genetic foundation. “All of these basic constructs, self-discipline, self-control, and on the other side, procrastination, are pretty much the same phenomenon,” he told me. This April, the behavioural geneticist Naomi Friedman, with her graduate student Daniel 131 /

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The logic of the analysis is relatively simple: all twins share their home environment, but the identical ones share all of the same genes, while the fraternal ones share only half. By looking at the difference in behaviour variance between the two twin types, researchers can approximate the degree to which a certain characteristic is heritable. (Of course, the method isn’t a hundred per cent accurate: even twins who share the same environment can be subject to different environmental influences.) Like Steel, Friedman’s team found that procrastination and impulsivity went hand in hand. They were also able to go a step further and investigate whether the two tendencies share a genetic basis.

Over Eating

Gustavson and two colleagues at the University of Colorado at Boulder, decided to test the notion directly, in a study of three hundred and forty-seven pairs of same-sex identical (monozygotic) and fraternal (dizygotic) twins from the Colorado Longitudinal Twin Study. The study had been ongoing since the twins’ birth, in the nineteen eighties, and had already yielded vast amounts of data on impulsivity, such as whether or not subjects had trouble initiating difficult tasks. “That was basically a measure of procrastination already,” Friedman told me. Prompted by Gustavson, she and her colleagues decided to look at the relationship between procrastination and impulsiveness more closely. They asked each twin to complete questionnaires measuring procrastination, impulsivity, and goal management, so that they could evaluate the extent to which those characteristics and behaviours are genetically, as opposed to environmentally, determined.


People are failing to keep track of their long-term goals

As it turns out, they do. The researchers found that each trait was moderately heritable: about forty-six per cent of the tendency to procrastinate, and forty-nine per cent of the tendency toward impulsiveness, was attributable to genes. But the estimated genetic correlation between the two traits was one— that is, perfect—or at least as close to perfect as you can get. What’s more, Friedman’s team found that both traits could, in turn, be linked to goal-management ability: the same shared genetic variation overlapped substantially (at sixty-eight per cent) with a tendency toward goal failure. “Maybe what’s actually linking these traits is that people are failing to keep track of their long-term goals,” Friedman said. If we think of procrastination as the flip side of impulsivity—as a failure of self-control rather than a failure of ambition—then the way we approach it shifts. To Steel, that means foregoing approaches based on the assumption that we simply need to be told 133 /

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Steel’s recommendation borrows from the approach of the NYU psychologists Gabrielle Oettingen and Peter Gollwitzer, who study selfcontrol and goal-setting: make your targets as small, immediate, and specific as possible. For instance, Steel uses timed ten-minute sessions to get started on tasks that he doesn’t quite want to do. “The problem with a goal we’re avoiding is that we’ve already built into

Over Eating

not to procrastinate. “Practically, we seem to still be stuck with the 1982 SMART goals approach,” he said. “But we actually know how to alleviate the problems of procrastination much more effectively.” When it comes to selfcontrol, one trick that tends to work well is to reframe broad, ambitious goals in concrete, manageable, immediate chunks, and the same goes for procrastination. “We know there is a lot of naturally occurring motivation as deadlines approach,” Steel pointed out. “Can you create artificial deadlines to mimic the same thing?”

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Make your targets as small, immediate, and specific as possible


our minds how awful it’s going to be,” he said. “So it’s like diving into a cold pool: the first few seconds are terrible, but soon it feels great.” So, set the goal of working on a task for a short time, and then reassess. Often, you’ll be able to stay on task once you’ve overcome that initial jump. “You don’t say, ‘I am going to write.’

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Of course, if you are an excessive procrastinator you may be unlikely to install such a program. “The ironic thing is that procrastinators put off dealing with their procrastination,” Steel said. So I have an idea: instead of doing whatever you’re supposed to be doing right now, take a look at Steel’s online procrastination test. There are few things we like more than online personality assessments and this one might even help you beat your procrastination. Just you wait and see.

Over Eating

Make them less obvious.” He points to an Android app that makes it more difficult for people to access the games on their phones. Steel’s own team has designed a phone and desktop app that adds a simple delay mechanism to distracting programs; when you click on, say, Candy Crush, your phone gives you a countdown that asks if you really want to go to the game, instead of taking you there directly. That little delay is often enough, Steel has found, to make us reconsider a favourite procrastination tactic.

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You say, ‘I will complete four hundred words by two o’clock,’ “ Steel says. “The more specific, the more powerful. That’s what gets us going.” The other part of Oettingen and Gollwitzer’s approach involves eliminating the roadblocks you may encounter on the way to achieving your goal. Identify the “hot” conditions for impulse control—those moments when you’re most prone to give in to distraction—and find ways to deal with them directly. “One of the easiest things to do is to realize that maybe it’s your distractions, not your goals, that are the problem,” said Steel. “So you make the distractions harder to get to.


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The procrastination equation Piers Steel Ph.D. For ‘Psychology Today’ Erin P. Age 21 Let me introduce you to Ms Erin P. In terms of procrastination, she is delay incarnate, scoring the highest possible on the procrastination survey. Regarding reasons for procrastination, she has checkmarks against all the contributing factors, a trifecta of expectancy, value and impulsiveness. What is most remarkable is that she wants to do something about here dillydallying ways and has her own blog as well. “I have always been a procrastinator. Even back in grades 6 & 7, when I had my first term projects, I would leave them to the last minute. It wasn’t uncommon for me to be finishing my work in a panic: sometimes a mild panic, sometimes a panicked panic. For the most part, I’ve been able to “fake it” - to cover up my procrastination with a final dedicated effort as I approach the deadline. But recently it’s been harder and harder to get away with procrastinating because the projects have gotten too big and I just can’t finish them in an evening or two. The results have been poor: I’ve gambled on extensions, and I’ve turned in some really sub-par work. 137 /

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FACT: Twenty percent of people identify themselves as chronic procrastinators. For them procrastination is a lifestyle, albeit a maladaptive one. And it cuts across all domains of their life. They don’t pay bills on time. They miss opportunities for buying tickets to concerts. They don’t cash gift certificates or checks. They file income tax returns late. They leave their Christmas shopping until Christmas eve. Procrastination is not a problem of time management or of planning. Procrastinators are not different in their ability to estimate time, although they are more optimistic than others.


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This time will be different. This time, I am 100% dedicated to my anti-procrastination quest. This time I recognize that I need to fix this problem. My new strategy is to just keep on trying: if one technique doesn’t work, then I can move onto another one until I find solutions that work for me, as an individual. I created a blog to document my journey. And I started looking up resources to help me (books, websites, online groups).

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I’ve tried many times before, using endless “anti-procrastination techniques,” such as chaining myself to my desk, setting earlier deadlines, scheduling each part of the project, giving up socializing, etc. Sometimes my efforts are helpful, but just for a short time.

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Managing your procrastination is about being a good parent to or having compassion for yourself. You deserve fun too and you shouldn’t create a life for yourself that you detest. Finding the balance between work and play, where we have enough of each, is a lifestyle we can commit to.

At this point, I somehow managed to finish my master’s degree, but I still have two related projects that I need to finish up before I can really move on with my career. Thus, I’ve decided to get rid of my procrastination habit.

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TIP:


Procrastinating

Against the clock Kyle S. Age 19 Currently I’m kind of in the middle of writing a research proposal due at in 5 hours. Not doubting I’ll get it done in time, but I can’t ever seem to get myself motivated until I look at the clock and realise I should have started working on this days ago! Personally, the worst it’s ever gotten for me was starting an essay at 2am and finishing at 7am the morning it was due, including the time spent to read the entire text. Got an A+ on that paper, and usually get great grades on every paper I write that way. The few occasions where I’ve starting writing gradually a week ahead of time like normal people do, I’ve gotten fairly poor grades.

FACT: There’s more than one flavour of procrastination. Dr. Ferrari identifies three basic types of procrastinators: • Arousal types, or thrill-seekers, who wait to the last minute for the euphoric rush. • Avoiders, who may be avoiding fear of failure or even fear of success, but in either case are very concerned with what others think of them; they would rather have others think they lack effort than ability. • Decisional procrastinators, who cannot make a decision. Not making a decision absolves procrastinators of responsibility for the outcome of events. 139 /

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Why can’t I do it?

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Procrastinators tell lies to themselves. Such as, “I’ll feel more like doing this tomorrow.” Or “I work best under pressure.” But in fact they do not get the urge the next day or work best under pressure. In addition, they protect their sense of self by saying “this isn’t important.” Psychologist, Sharon Stiles suggests that you try to do the activity for at least 10 minutes and usually you will continue to work further.

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FACT:

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I had an idea for a novel which I told to a friend of mine who is an editor of various freelance things. He liked the idea enough that he pitched it to someone he knew for some small publisher and they wanted me to write an outline and turn it in. It took me forever to write the outline, probably a few months, and even after all the time I took they still wanted me to write the first several chapters. I am not a writer, not professionally at least, and so for the past few months I’ve been giving zero effort. I wrote two chapters, which went over well, and even then I still can’t bring myself to write the damn thing. I’m pretty sure the whole thing has fallen apart and I’m surprised my friend is not as pissed at me as he should be since he went out of his way to help me out and I can not even put in the effort to write a few pages a day.

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Kyle S. Age 19


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What am I waiting for? Caroline K. Age 44 I started decorating the bathroom in 2000 when I moved in to this house. The tins of paint are still on display 12 years later and the work awaits completion. I still haven’t decided what colour towels I’m having.

Polly D. Age 39 I’m still getting round to putting the opticfibre Christmas tree away from last December and it’s now nearly September. As it got past the halfway mark of this year (June) I decided I might as well leave it because (a) it’s nearly Christmas again anyway (b) I quite like the effect of the lights (c) what’s wrong with having a Christmas tree throughout the year anyway? (d) I really can’t be bothered to fiddle around putting it in and out of the loft every year.

Sonia A. Age 28 I am a teacher, I once left a set of books unmarked for so long I was embarrassed to give them back to the students yet again unmarked. So I hid them, then went into the classroom and told them they had been stolen.

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Bigger fish to fry Ian D. Age 41 TIP: Most jobs have unpleasant or boring aspects to them and people may try to avoid doing them, but often the best way of dealing with these is to get them over with quickly, so that you can focus on the enjoyable aspects of the job.

A friend of mine, who I’ll call “Dave” (because that was his name) said he would do anything to avoid A-level revision. At one point he infamously found himself weighing the cat, convinced that he would only be able to settle down to work if he had that data to hand. As a result, some 25 years later, the act of procrastination is referred to by my family as “weighing the cat.”

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When I was asked to write a 2,000-word history essay for my architecture degree, I waited to the last week to act. I decided to set all my other tasks aside so I could wholly focus on the essay. I locked myself in my room, and yet for the first six days I only wrote 100 words each day. My piano and guitar improved loads and I saw a lot of good movies but this was not what I had been planning. It was only when the stress of a deadline and the possible retake of the module reached breaking point on the last day that I managed to complete the last 1,400 words. What this showed me is that it is possible but I wish that I was motivated by something other than stress.

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The key to beating procrastination is focus. We often give ourselves too many things to do and become overwhelmed. Start by choosing just ONE thing that you’ve been procrastinating and make a commitment to complete that task in the next week. Once you’ve narrowed it down to one task, you must take immediate action. Today. If it feels too daunting do a 5 minute activity to begin the task.

Over Eating

TIP:

Procrastinating

Theo R. Age 24


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GOSSIPING


GOSSIPING Alison Poulsen, PhD For ‘So What I Really Meant’ WHY PEOPLE GOSSIP AND HOW TO AVOID IT.

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ossip is unconstrained and often derogatory conversation about other people, and can involve betraying a confidence and spreading sensitive information or hurtful judgments. Research shows that people who gossip the most have very high levels of anxiety. They are generally not particularly popular because they cannot be trusted. Spreading private information or negative judgments is painful to others and reflects poorly on the gossiper. WHY DO PEOPLE GOSSIP? • To feel superior - People who don’t feel good about themselves temporarily feel better when they judge others negatively. • Out of boredom - When people can’t generate interesting discussions based on knowledge or ideas, gossip can rouse people’s interest. • Out of envy - People gossip in order to hurt those whose popularity, talents, or lifestyle they envy.

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• To feel like part of the group - People gossip to feel as though they belong to the group. Yet, when acceptance is based on being “in on a secret,” it is not based on a person’s identity, but on exclusion or maliciousness. • For attention - A person gets to be the centre of attention temporarily while divulging a piece of gossip. Yet, spreading gossip or rumours is like buying attention; it’s temporary and has little foundation. • Out of anger or unhappiness - A person can derive a sense of retribution with disparaging remarks.

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The key is to look at one’s intent in discussing other people and relationships. Is the intent to understand human nature and improve one’s quality of life and relationships? Or: Is the intent to temporarily feel superior or get attention by disparaging others?

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Most people have a natural curiosity about what’s going on among people in the community. Some of the best books are biographies that tell the life stories of other people. However, the best biographies give the reader an understanding of the nuance and complexity of the person’s character through facts. They are not based on one-sided, offensive judgments of the person.

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IS IT ALWAYS WRONG TO TALK ABOUT OTHERS?


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RESPONSES TO UNWELCOME GOSSIP: Let’s suppose that somebody is gossiping mercilessly about Jane. It’s important not to feed the gossiper with curiosity, agreement and further questions. It’s best to simply change the subject. Here are some other possible responses: “I notice that you talk about Jane a lot. I’m curious why she interests you so much?” “Let’s take a look at it from Jane’s side.” “I am more interested in what you are up to.” “Let’s talk about something more positive or decide what we’re going to do this afternoon.” “I feel uncomfortable listening to negative judgments about people unless we figure out how to help them.”

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Gossiping shows others the gossiper’s insecurity and mean-spiritedness. It also leaves everyone involved feeling as though they’ve just eaten a bad apple. Ultimately, insight into the intricacies of human relations and behaviour is more interesting, uplifting, and enlightening than one-dimensional judgments and rumours.

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CONCLUSION


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The triple filter test Jennifer Cook O’Toole From ‘The Asperkid’s (Secret) Book of Social Rules’ In ancient Greece, Socrates (the famous philosopher) was visited by an acquaintance of his. Eager to share some juicy gossip, the man asked if Socrates would like to know the story he’d just heard about a friend of theirs. Socrates replied that before the man spoke, he needed to pass the “Triple-Filter” test. The first filter, he explained, is Truth. “Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to say is true?” The man shook his head. “No, I actually just heard about it, and …” Socrates cut him off. “You don’t know for certain that it is true, then. Is what you want to say something good or kind?” Again, the man shook his head. “No! Actually, just the opposite. You see …” Socrates lifted his hand to stop the man speaking. “So you are not certain that what you want to say is true, and it isn’t good or kind. One filter still remains, though, so you may yet still tell me. That is Usefulness or Necessity. Is this information useful or necessary to me?” A little defeated, the man replied, “No, not really.” 149 /

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Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to say is true? “Well, then,” Socrates said, turning on his heel. “If what you want to say is neither true, nor good or kind, nor useful or necessary, please don’t say anything at all.”

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Imagine how different the world would be if we only chose to seek or create information that was true, good, or useful.

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Most people leave it at that and assume that the story is just about the information we spread. What if the real truth behind it, however, is about the information we seek and create. Imagine how different the world would be if we only chose to seek or create information that was true, good, or useful.

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Before you answer a question or voice your opinion, ask yourself: Is it true? Is it good? Is it kind? Is it useful? Is it necessary? If it passes these filters, speak up. If not, either find a tactful way to make it pass or better still, keep it to yourself.

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CONSIDER THIS


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Rumour has it Dana Dovey For ‘Medical Daily’ The science behind why we love celebrity gossip and tabloid magazines Before there was a Bey Hive or Bieber Fever, there was “Lisztomania” — the intense fandom directed toward mid-1800s Hungarian composer Franz Liszt, who was both dashing and a talented musician. People were fascinated with everything Liszt did, from where he went to who he was spending his time with. In many ways, the desire to know these things has not gone away. Our appetite for celebrity gossip is still insatiable, which isn’t surprising, considering it’s a combination of our two favourite things: fame and bad news. The human brain is hard-wired to tune into gossip, but there’s something different about celebrity gossip that sets it apart from everyday office chatter. Our interest in celebrity gossip has in fact persisted throughout history. In the book, FAME: What the Classics Tell Us About Our Cult of Celebrity, author Tom Payne traces this fascination back to early human civilizations and our ancestors’ love for martyrs and saints, The Atlantic reported. Daniel Kruger, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Michigan, says our desire to know 151 /

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about the activities of high-status individuals is a trait we share with other primates, and that it’s due to an evolutionary tactic that may have helped us live through the years. Speaking to LiveScience, he said there are two evolutionary benefits to celebrity gossip: The first is for our own personal benefit; “learning what high-status individuals do, so you might more effectively become one,” Kruger explained. The second reason is more political, and relates to how we have complex social circles. “Knowing what is going on with high-status individuals, you’d be better able to navigate the social scene.”

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But let’s not kid ourselves. Not all celebrity news is equally popular, and nothing sells a paper more than a good ole’ scandal. “So it’s making the best out of a bad deal, psychologically.”


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The no gossip diet Sarah K. Aged 33 Halfway through a loud bout of shared laughter with Janey, a Mom friend, I caught the sad stare of my 8-year-old son over her shoulder. He was passing through the kitchen as Janey and I, deep in conversation at the table, got to the bit where X — a new mother at school — turned up at our class parent cocktail mixer in an evening dress. With a plunging neckline and killer heels, X had horribly misjudged the casual vibe of the school regulars. “Why are you laughing at Dan’s Mom?” my boy asked. “I thought she was your friend.” Guilt is such a pure feeling. Ping! It stings before the clever part of your brain can get an excuse out. I had tried to make Dan’s Mom feel welcome at our school, I swear: I’d invited her to join me for coffee and teamed up with her at the book fair. And my comment wasn’t meant to be cruel — just catty female bonding. Yet here I was, laughing at her, something my son’s brain had connected with unpleasantness. To him, I was being nasty. End of story. After Janey left, I explained to my son that I wasn’t trying to be mean, and I promised that I would think more carefully about how I discussed others in the future. He shrugged me off with a simple “Okay, Mom,” leaving me to stew. Gossip had always been my social currency, a way to kick 153 /

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back and score a few popularity points, and I cheerfully accepted that I was probably the subject of similar chatter. But when I sat down and thought about the kinds of conversations I have with friends I truly love, I realized that they involved no spilling of another’s secrets or backstabbing “jokes.” Real hard-earned closeness doesn’t require bonding through trashing.

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I admit that it’s hard not to slip up. Just recently, a long-term single friend of mine confessed that she had signed up for online dating, and swore me to secrecy. Out for a glass of wine with a mutual pal, the temptation to tell was almost overwhelming — but I swallowed my juicy info with a healthy gulp of merlot. I’m sure some of my acquaintances have written me off as un-fun after a few non-dishing social occasions. Whatever. My conscience — and my karma — is clear.

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A few days later, I cancelled lunch with a former work colleague who has always been a mistress of the gossipy arts. It was a relief. Hours after our last (particularly nasty) session, my car broke down, both of my kids were up vomiting all night, and I sprained my ankle badly the next morning. It sounds crazy even to me, but I never could shake the creepy feeling that our sniping had brought me bad luck. It had taken my son to reveal what I knew deep down about gossiping, and remembering that episode of cosmic payback gave me the push I needed to ditch it for good.


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Confessions of a reformed gossip Kaila Y. Age 29 I’m going to confess. I have a huge gossiping addiction and it’s bad. I thought it was something all girls did, after all I was born and raised on gossip. Growing up I heard so much gossip, the seemingly innocuous kind, for example: “Did you hear that your cousin Amy got a 1500 on her SAT and got accepted to Harvard? Did you know that my friend’s son just graduated law school and is already earning a six figure income? None of this was “evil” gossip per-say, but gossip it was. I’m sure that many Asians can related to this! Early on I became conditioned to pay lots of attention to what other people were doing and then size myself up against their accomplishments. I could always easily rationalise away my gossip. I told myself: I wasn’t being an online troll, calling people hateful names, calling anyone a whore, or making up lies about people. I was just talking about people and their lives! Doesn’t everyone want to know who Brittany is dating now and who broke up with Sam and why? Or I was just venting out my frustrations and trying to find a solution! A common rationalisation of mine was: I’m just speaking the facts and anything I am saying to you about Cindy I would say to Cindy’s face.

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My friend told me a great analogy, that gossiping is like ripping a feather pillow open and scattering the feathers out into the wind. If you wanted to try to gather up every single feather again it would be impossible. Similarly with gossip if you tried to mend all the damage caused by your words, you would not be able to. Its like the Butterfly Effect , its impossible to know the ultimate ramifications of your words. Once I realised the seriousness of this defect of character came the obvious question: How can I possibly stop? What would my conversations consist of now? How would I connect with my friends? After all, being a gossip I had naturally surrounded myself with people who loved to gossip, or at least tolerated it. Really the solution is incredibly simple. Just stop.

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Accept the inevitable. Gossip is typically framed as a bad thing, but in some cases, it is harmless (or even well meaning), and in many respects, it’s a regular part of our social life, says McAndrew. Our evolutionary ancestors had to know whom they could trust, and people who were good at finding out about others were more successful than people who weren’t. It’s also a bonding ritual in groups, since if a person shares information with others, it means he trusts them.

I was told something recently which was mindblowing to me, that any time you talk about someone else constitutes gossip, even if you are speaking about the person positively! I was reminded of this famous quote “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people” - Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

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Occupational hazard Alison G. Age 35 I would like to say that I have been unwillingly sucked into gossiping/complaining with my co-workers about other co-workers. However, I am ashamed to admit that the truth is I have been a willing participant. But now I want out! Because my department is very small, I really risk my complaints getting back to one of my other co-workers, deeply hurting them, and damaging my reputation. I’m beginning to think that this is a silly question because the answer seems obvious – just stop participating, right? I have started to not say anything when my co-workers complain to me and just nod along. But, I would like to get to the point where no one includes me in their complaining/gossiping at all.

TIP: Refrain, reaffirm or redirect. If you prefer not to join in a mean-spirited gossip session but are worried about projecting an “outsider” vibe, remove yourself from the group unobtrusively, or redirect the conversation while remaining friendly and upbeat. You can also decide to participate only in innocuous gossip(celebrity news or a recent political scandal).


Elle M. Age 30 My last workplace was super gossipy and malicious, and my current workplace is not at all. It’s so easy to get sucked into the toxic gossip culture and in my experience, it makes it really hard to be happy at work and easy to be stressed. I love working somewhere where I can take things at face value, not worry about whether I’m liked or not, and get my work done effectively without reacting to real or perceived tone or intent by my colleagues. I never have to worry about something I said getting back to someone. I try to only practice “good gossip.”

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I want to be a good person, I want to help and emotionally, I feel like commiserating/ listening are the ‘right’ think to do. The problem is that misery is looking for company, not solutions. I ultimately had to ask to be moved away from the person who was consistently instigating uncomfortable chit-chat at my current job. However, at my previous job, the gossiping was really the result of a bad situation that no one could change. The COO at a small company was a giant ass. He constantly threatened to fire people, he made an effort to make people feel bad about getting raises, he played favourites, he told cringe-worthy stories about how he treated his wife. It created a terrible work environment, but as the economy was utter crap, people couldn’t leave and they turned to gossip instead, to relieve the pressure.

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Bianca T. Age 42

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Now that we are pretty certain that most of us are gossiping, and we’re clear on whether or not we’re spreading information or participating in “idle chat,” the question is- exactly who is perpetuating the cycle of gossip? It was reported by a Social Issues Research Centre that gossip accounts for 55% of men’s conversation time and 67% of women’s, a much smaller gap between the two sexes than usually thought.

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Ruined by the rumour mill Erin N. Age 24 I never thought much about gossip until a girlfriend of mine showed up to my house one day with a very juicy tidbit accompanied by a scandalous video. I’ll be intentionally vague so as not to bring more pain to the person at the centre of the scandal, but the video (so I’m told, as I never actually agreed to watch it) exposed a young woman doing things she likely would not have done had she known she was being filmed (she didn’t) and that were clearly the actions of someone who was troubled. The video was initially circulated by the girl’s roommate, who felt personally wronged by the actions portrayed in the video and wanted the girl “to pay.” (Note: The actions were not actually harmful in any way to anyone except, arguably, the girl doing them.) I don’t know the young woman in the video, but a lot of people I know do, and every last one of them seemed to be talking about the events in question. When I heard all of this, I felt ill. The girl in question probably would have benefited immensely from the roommate’s—or anyone’s—concern and compassion. Instead, her life was, by some measures, ruined by the rumour mill.

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Shoe on the other foot Layla H. Age 16

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“Only worry when people aren’t talking about you.” It would be great if no one gossiped about you again for the rest of your life. However, I would argue that maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world to consider the fact that those gossiping about you have nothing better to do than talk about you, whereas you have many, many more productive, instructive and enlightening conversations happening in your life now that you no longer engage in negative gossip.

I am always hearing gossip about myself as it makes its way to my friends. It’s always about my family or something I’ve said and is never true. But I’m no stranger to gossip as I used go be a part of it when I was younger, it’s not so much fun when it’s about you.

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TIP:


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HAIR PULLING

“TRICHOTILLOMANIA”


HAIR PULLING From ‘NHS Choices’

T

richotillomania is a condition where a person feels compelled to pull their hair out. They may pull out the hair on their head or in other places, such as their eyebrows or eyelashes. Trichotillomania is an impulse-control disorder, a psychological condition where the person is unable to stop themselves carrying out a particular action. They will experience an intense urge to pull their hair out and growing tension until they do. After pulling out hair, they’ll feel a sense of relief. Pulling out hair on the head leaves bald patches. Trichotillomania can cause negative feelings, such as guilt. The person may also feel embarrassed or ashamed, and may try to deny it or cover it up. Sometimes trichotillomania can make the person feel unattractive and can lead to low self-esteem. Impulse-control disorders are more common among teenagers and young adults. Trichotillomania tends to affect girls more than boys. WHAT CAUSES TRICHOTILLOMANIA? It’s not known what causes trichotillomania, but there are several theories. Some experts think hair pulling is a type of addiction. The 163 /

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more you pull your hair out, the more you want to keep doing it. Trichotillomania may be a reflection of a mental health problem. Psychological and behavioural theories suggest that hair pulling may be a way of relieving stress or anxiety. In some cases, trichotillomania may be a form of selfharm, where the person deliberately injures themselves as a way of seeking temporary relief from emotional distress.

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Little medical research has been conducted into treatments for trichotillomania. The most effective treatment is therapy to change the hair-pulling behaviour, combined with a network of emotional support. Psychotherapy is a type of talking therapy that can be used to treat emotional problems and mental health conditions. It involves discussing emotional issues with a trained therapist. In particular, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that may be recommended. It helps you manage your problems by changing how you think and act. CBT often involves behavioural therapy, also known as habitreversal therapy, which aims to help you change the way you behave.

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TREATING TRICHOTILLOMANIA


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When anxiety has you pulling your hair out Melissa Dahl For ’New York Magazine’

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t’s an ancient human habit, and yet it’s one psychiatrists are still struggling to understand: compulsive hair-pulling. The behaviour can be caused by anxiety or stress, boredom, or seemingly nothing at all, explained psychologist Ali M. Mattu, who spoke about the history of the disorder on Columbia University Medical Centre’s biweekly podcast. He explained that hair-pulling is now lumped together in the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the DSM-V, with other “body-focused repetitive behaviours” like skinpicking or nail-biting. But it stood as its own diagnosis for a long time, previously known as trichotillomania, and so there are a few things researchers have pinpointed that are specific to this disorder. Here are some of the highlights from the podcast. HOW COMMON IS HAIR PULLING? It used to be thought of as relatively rare, Mattu said, but now psychiatrists know that it’s actually pretty common. About 1 in 50 165 /

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adults struggles with the compulsion, and though it didn’t make its first medical journal appearance until 1889, there’s evidence that some ancient Greeks and Egyptians were hairpullers, he said. Hair-pulling tends to start around puberty, and women are more likely to do it than men — though, Mattu said, it could actually be that women are simply more likely to seek treatment, and that men blame selfinflicted hair loss on baldness. What’s behind the hair-pulling urge? For some people, it’s a method of stress relief. “They come home; they had a hard day, and want to pull that hair,” Mattu said. “For a lot of people, it helps them regulate the way they’re feeling.” When they’re overanxious, it can be a way to calm the nervous system down; when they’re bored, it helps pick them up, he explained. That doesn’t apply to everyone, though, and there are more complicated answers as well. Plenty of people pull their hair without even realizing they’re doing so. Mattu said it can come down to genetics, environment, or some amalgamation of the two. “It used to be this idea that you’d feel tension before and release after,” Mattu said. “What we know now is that’s not true for everyone.” ARE THERE ANY TREATMENTS? Psychiatrists have struggled to find effective treatments, Mattu said, likely because there are “no two people with hair-pulling that are exactly the same.” So far, the most thoroughly tested medication has been fluoxetine — Prozac – but the results were inconclusive.

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But for people who pull their hair out while barely registering that they’re doing so, habitreversal training can help. This has been used to treat other disorders that cause tics, like Tourette’s, and it seems like the same mechanisms are at work in hair-pulling. Psychiatrists work with hair-pullers to help them get an increased awareness and understanding of everything that might lead them to the behaviour. “What’s happening in your arm?” Mattu said. “What is the first sensation, the first warning sign, that you are about to pull your hair?” He has his patients practice clasping their hands until it subsides.

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Half of hairpullers also suffer from anxiety or depression

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This doesn’t work so well for the people who pull their hair out intentionally. These people “want to pull their hair,” he said. Practicing mindfulness and simply keeping their hands busy, helps a bit, he said. But often, this comes down to treating an underlying mood disorder; in fact, about half of hair-pullers also suffer from anxiety or depression, he said. But most people do respond to treatment, he said. “At the end of the day, I think this is normal grooming behaviour that has gone awry.”


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People were staring at me Valentina B. Age 24 Hair pulling has been apart of my life since I was about 6 years old. I don’t know exactly what triggered it, but it has greatly impacted my life. It hit the hardest when I was in the 4th grade. I was a 9 year old girl with no eyebrows and only 5 eyelashes on each eye. I knew back then that it was wrong, but I just couldn’t stop myself. And at that time I had just gotten contacts, so I could no longer hide my shame behind my glasses. I could tell that people were staring at me, and I couldn’t help but feel ostracised. It was later revealed to me that people called me “Spongebob” behind my back because of my lack of eyelashes. Even at home I couldn’t escape it. I was always bombarded with stabbing questions like “ Why are you doing this? Why don’t you just focus on something else? Why cant you just stop?” I know my parents tried hard to understand, but the truth is that you never will truly understand until you go through it yourself. I try really hard to stop, but it seems like I just can’t. I have found that I am a stress puller. So between the constant pressures of school and my social life, pulling is the only relief that I have. There is something oddly satisfying about grasping a hair and extracting the root. It gives me a wonderful sensation of relief only to be followed by extreme guilt and disgust. 169 /

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FACT: Studies show that the age of onset for trichotillomania is variable, with a mean age of onset between 9 and 13 years of age, and a peak prevalence at 12-13 years. Although trichotillomania seems to be more common in children than adults, severity of presentation appears to be higher in adolescence and prognosis becoming poorer as onset age approaches adulthood. This means that adolescent to young adult sufferers usually has a more longlasting form of the disorder and do not respond as well to treatment.


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I’m trying to stop

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So this is new for me because I usually don’t talk about it because I’m ashamed. The pulling isn’t new. I started pulling out my eyebrows in the 8th grade and my school had a policy about makeup so I couldn’t do anything about it except embrace it. During the school year is when it’s hard for me to stop that’s why freshman year I started pulling my eyelashes too. 1 became 2, 2 became 5, 5 became 10 and so on. At first my Mom thought it was my ADD medication so I changed medications and dosages, nothing has changed. I’m trying to stop, honestly. I feel like people notice but are afraid to say anything. I wish the other girls knew how it felt to be jealous of someone’s eyelashes and eyebrows. I wish they knew how hard it is to look at yourself in the mirror everyday and hate the person staring back at you. I wish they knew how hard it is to pull yourself together and pick up the pieces after you have breakdown after breakdown after breakdown. I wish everyone knew but they don’t. I just want to stop pulling. I need to stop pulling.

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Anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorders are commonly co-occurring in individuals with trichotillomania, and it is thought that the hair pulling may be triggered by stress associated with increased tension or pressures experienced. Other biological factors may also play a role in the development of Trichotillomania, such as an imbalance of hormones and chemicals in the body that can affect how the brain controls impulses.

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Katie C. Age 15


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Lived in bobble hats Roseanna B. Age 19 Up until a year or so ago trichotillomania never really infringed upon my life, but in the last year it has impacted a lot. I’ve had extreme hair loss and lived in bobble hats, but it got to the point of no return where the best thing to do was to shave my head. So that is what I did. Some people have been more understanding than others, but that’s natural, and up until very recently (around a month ago) I decided to become open about it, if people asked me I’d just tell them. I went to college without a wig on and most people were very accepting, I’m very lucky.


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No end in sight Sarah E. Age 27 I’m not sure when I started pulling my hair but I have been doing it for years and I’m now 27. I also have depression/anxiety which I’m on medication for and have had a difficult past. I have tried shaving my hair and letting it regrow but it hasn’t worked. I thought it was just a habit I could get over but never had been able to. About a year ago I found out it’s actually a condition and has a name. I had been too scared to go see someone about it but when I finally went to my GP she said to speak to my psychologist. I have an appointment at the end of the month with them. I wear wigs all the time as I pull from the crown and can’t cover it. Yes I am ashamed I have ‘trich’ and would love to stop pulling and have my hair back the way it was before I started pulling but I don’t think it will ever go back that way.

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The exact cause of trichotillomania isn’t known. It may be related to abnormalities in brain pathways that link areas involved in emotional regulation, movement, habit formation, and impulse control. Psychologist, Sharon Stiles explains that hair pulling may start as a reaction to feeling out of control and the person repeats the action the next time they feel that way. After a while it becomes a habit that can be very difficult to stop.

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Make a wish Riley S. Age 24 There were signs, I guess, when I was a toddler. But it started in earnest when I was in kindergarten. I had unbearable itching on my eyelashes, somehow pulling them out provided temporary relief. After a while, my teacher overheard me tell my friend what I was doing and she brought me to the school counsellor. I was able to stop for a good two years. But one day I had heard the whole “look, loose eyelash, you can make a wish!” And somehow, that made me want to try and cheat by pulling one out. And of course it just cascaded from that. I’m 24 now. It’s essentially been a life-long problem. I pull mostly from my top eyelids. But also now my eyebrows. I’ve been told by many it’s not very noticeable, but I grew up hearing otherwise. Frankly, my mum severely scarred me. She would say all kinds of things ”You won’t be able to get a job looking like that! Nobody will hire you because they’ll see there’s something wrong with you and worry about the cost of healthcare.” Or, “You must be doing this to manipulate me emotionally.” Or even, “If you really cared you would stop.”

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I’m so over it Georgia H. Age 29

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My New Years resolution? Trying my hardest not to pull. It’s been taking over my life for over a decade at this point and it’s time for it to stop. I’m sick of covering up bald spots, using extensions all the time, wearing wigs, weaves, filling bald spots in with eyebrow pencil, wearing hats, styling my hair in weird ways to cover my bald spots. I’m sick of not allowing people to touch my hair in fear that they’ll find out my secret. I’m sick of getting rude stares from people who think I’m weird for having this. Most of all, I’m sick of having somewhat of a f***ing mullet. I’m sick of it, I’m so over it.

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The main treatment is a type of behaviour therapy called habit reversal training. This means replacing a bad habit with something that’s not harmful. They first learn to identify when and where they have the urge to pull hair. Next is to relax and do something else, that doesn’t hurt them, as a way to help ease tension when they feel the urge to pull their hair.

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A long and difficult word to say Bonnie J. Age 14 The hardest part of having Trichotillomania is probably the envy or jealously you have for other people who have hair. I know it’s a nasty & torturous thing to do but sometimes I can’t help the strong longing & envy as I watch my cousins braid their hair, or brush it, maybe even considering dying it. I’m simply surrounded by people who have something completely normal, & it makes me smile sadly as I lay on my bed & curl into the tiniest thing & sob. I don’t think my family cares about my condition, maybe they just think I’d be uncomfortable talking about it, but honestly I wish someone could just hug me & say that I’m just fine & that they’re here. I’m so fed up that I can’t swim in public while my cousins can, that they can pull their Spanish brown hair into a ponytail or at least run their fingertips through the nice loose strands. I get depressed & I get alone when I sit on the corner of the couch as I watch everyone else take something for granted and sometimes I wish I could just stand up & say “I have Trichotillomania, & I know, it’s a long & difficult word to say”.

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My secret potion Kristen L. Age 26

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I washed my face in the morning and evening with tea tree face wash before putting on the oil. Then I smooth it over my lash line and lashes top and bottom. Eventually I just put it on once or twice a week for maintenance without ever feeling like pulling. If I went very long though, the feeling would come back just a little, where I would get irritated, but a once a week maintenance serum isn’t bad in my book.

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I have been pulling for 10 years and am now one year FREE. I tried everything - therapy, prescription (and non prescription) drugs, selfwill, prayer, accountability partners, fidgets of every kind - you name it, I’ve tried it. The only thing that has worked and continues to work is a DIY eye serum. I say mostly because if I don’t follow the protocol I will pull a lash or two occasionally (but not all of them anymore). In the beginning, if I was consistent to put the serum on every time I felt like pulling, it would smooth the lashes and make them feel less sticky, soothing whatever physical aspect was stimulating the pulling desire, and provided aromatherapy qualities because of the smell of the BHO/hash oil.


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UNTIDINESS


UNTIDINESS Dan Scotti From ‘Elite Daily’

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ll our lives, we’ve been told to “be organized.” Organization has always been pegged as a direct key to success. Whether at home, school or in your bunk at camp, organization is something that has been instilled in everyone pretty much from birth. On the other hand, being messy has been equally condemned and made to be a quick path to failure. And, honestly, no rebuttal could say otherwise. I mean, what good can come from being disorganized, right? Perhaps more than you might think. More recent studies, conducted by the University of Minnesota last year, provide us with a new side of the debate. The pro-messy one. There has always been this sort of “urban legend” that has floated around modern society deeming people with messy desks as having a high affinity for creative reasoning. Frankly, I initially thought that people with “messy desks” had to be creative, out of necessity, to survive outside the boundaries of organization. Last week’s take home test, still undone, in one corner. A page from last month’s Playboy ripped out and crumpled next to the bottle of cocoa butter in the other. Empty Arizona cans distributed across the 179 /

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surface, like a battlefield. Your desk is a mess. Then again, it’s your mess, and thus, it feels very in-control. When you habitually fail to put things in their designated place, you’re bound to get creative figuring out ways to make everything, I don’t know, fit. And fit comfortably.

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The next question is, what exactly constitutes “creative thinking,” and how will your pig sty of a room help? Creative thinking, in its purest form, is thinking outside the lines of “conventional” reasoning. When considering this, it should be no huge shock that messy rooms containing possessions misplaced from their “conventional” locations would promote creativity. I suppose if you prefer to “lay,” and I use that term very loosely, your clean clothes on the floor of your bedroom, when the empty dresser is only a few feet away – you’re certainly thinking outside the lines of conventional reasoning. And that same concept could be applied to more abstract conception.

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While it might look completely random to strangers, a lot of times, a person’s mess is very methodical – with respect to himself. Psychological scientist Kathleen Vohs, from the University of Minnesota, who set out to debunk this urban legend, didn’t confine her study to solely the desk. No, Vohs, clearly a creative mind, chose to think outside the desk. She just sounds messy. The creative kind of messy. Using a paradigm consisting of one messy room and one tidy room, and a series of trials, Vohs concluded that messy rooms provoke more creative thinking – and provided scientific evidence!


Consider this from Albert Einstein, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, then what are we to think of an empty desk?” Obviously, Einstein’s desk looked like a spiteful ex-girlfriend had a mission to destroy his workspace, and executed it rather successfully. Yet, there’s no denying Einstein’s creativity. Einstein wasn’t alone. Mark Twain, too, had a cluttered desk. Perhaps even more cluttered than that of Albert Einstein. Mark Twain was one of the most imaginative minds of his generation. If the likes of Einstein and Mark Twain don’t catch the attention of Generation-Y, I give you Steve Jobs. No wonder he invented iBooks, it’s clear he had trouble maintaining his real life ones. His desk, and office alike, were f***ing disasters. I suppose this just added to his brilliance. So what does this mean to you? Trash your desks, trash your rooms and hope for a touch of genius? Not exactly. The relationship between messiness and creativity 181 /

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If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, then what are we to think of an empty desk?

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By curbing your sloppy desk, room or tendencies, – keep in mind – you might also be curbing your overall creative tendencies. Ultimately, the only way for you gauge the effectiveness of your mess-induced creativity is to go out and experiment for yourself. So, go ahead, make it rain with all your important files and paperwork, toss your clean clothes across the room, have a blast. See what you come up with, after. PSA: If you have a roommate, tell him not to send me any hate mail if your dorm room turns into a zoo while you experiment with this. I am not liable for any of the future messes readers may create.

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is by no means causal. Being messy won’t find you waking up one morning more creative. The two are, however, correlated. If you are “messy by nature,” perhaps finding a healthy medium between your usual mess and that urgency to clean, is optimal.


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Say yes to the mess Emily Ferber For ’Into The Gloss’

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f cleanliness is close to godliness, I am deeply submerged in the trenches of hell. Maybe that’s a little extreme. It’s not so much that I’m living in a pit of my own filth as I am just supremely OK with all of my clothes finding refuge on my floor for weeks on end. I tell myself I’ll get to it at the end of the day—because everyone is always incredibly energized when they get home from work—but I usually just take off everything I’m wearing as soon as possible and heave it onto the existing pile, repeating to myself that I’ll get to it when I’m super energized in the morning. And so begins the cycle of waiting to be awake enough to tidy up. And don’t think I limit this to solely clothing I’ve worn already. No—once, when I was a freshman in high school, my mother grounded me for three months because I had failed to put away my clean laundry. My excuse? I simply hadn’t seen it. This has long been a struggle between my mother and myself—she’s the neat one who fantasizes about getting a part-time gig at the Container Store, while I went to the Container Store once and saw Michelle Harper wearing 183 /

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It’s not even organised chaos; it’s just plain chaos.

Margiela and left because it just wasn’t going to get any better than that. People in college like to say things along the lines of “I’m messy, not dirty,” but to me, as a messy (and sometimes dirty) person, it smells of excuse. There’s a very fine line between disorganisation and not knowing which socks are dirty and which socks are clean at the foot of your bed. It’s a line that’s often covered by dirty socks. The line is clearer when it comes to people who are neat and people who are not—at least according to the internet. “Organised People Are Probably Better Than Disorganised People” claims a headline on Huffington Post (Canadian edition, so there’s that). People with tidy desk spaces may tend to be more ethical, better at time management, and more capable at dealing with unexpected roadblocks in their work—you know, the boring stuff—as well as are more likely to give to charity and eat a healthy diet. For the purpose of the rest of this essay, we will refer to these as “good habits.” 185 /

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Every January, every spring, and every September I resolve to be neater. I’ll get myself a planner, or a letter tray, or download some app that I promise to use religiously to instill some order in my life. Whatever I do, it never sticks, and I’m starting to worry—isn’t the definition of craziness doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result that never comes? So seeing that it’s now spring, with spring-cleaning fever about to take hold in full force, I’d like to reintroduce myself: I’m Emily, and I’m a messy person. This is a fact that I’m generally OK with for now. Though I did lie earlier—that time I saw Michelle Harper at the Container Store, I ended up buying an acrylic lipstick riser. I am not kidding around when I say that it is literally the best thing in the entire world.

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On the flip side of that, there’s loads of research that people with disorganised desks are generally more creative (I may or may not be blowing this out of proportion because I am an unethical slob). It makes sense when you think about it—the creative process is one that doesn’t lend itself to neat boxes or uncluttered countertops. It’s not even organised chaos; it’s just plain chaos. To back that up, researchers have found that test subjects left in messy rooms draw more creative pictures and devise more creative plans than their counterparts in clean spaces. Which isn’t to say I don’t feel a refreshingly uninhibited state of mind when my desk is totally cleared off—just don’t expect it to stay that way.


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Right back to being a slob Jessica K. Age 26 I am messy. I have a chronic problem with clutter and not putting things back where they’re supposed to go and if for some reason this sounds like a minor problem, it’s a major problem for me. I grew up in household where things were kept fairly neat for the most part. My brother and I had to make our beds every day and pick up after ourselves, and I know this problem of mine is not derived from how I was raised. It is intrinsic for me – a personality trait that I was born with and that I will likely have to work to overcome for my entire life. Thankfully, because I was raised that a house needs to be near perfect for company, I make a strong effort to have a spotless home when people come over – everything in its place, immaculate. I’m usually pretty successful at this, given that I have enough time to prepare. Once my house is company-ready, I’m usually able to maintain and enjoy that level of clean for about a week’s time after the company leaves, and then I go right back to being a slob. For many people, this might be alright – but the problem for me is that I actually HATE having a messy house. It stresses me out and makes me irritable and sort of loathe myself, and yet I continue to be messy.

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FACT: A new study warns a messy room disturbs sleep, can increase stress and aggravate mental illness. People at risk for hoarding disorder report more problems with sleep than their tidier counterparts, researchers found. A messy room negatively impacts sleep, can increase stress and aggravate mental illness, a study found Hoarding disorder is a condition where people excessively save items that many would consider worthless, and become anxious parting with possessions. This leads to untidiness that disrupts their ability to use their living space.


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This is who I am Celia D. Age 32

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I am not a very organised individual in nature. (BUT I love making organisation look pretty!). It takes a lot for me to remember and remind. I even lose my to-do lists. Sometimes I look at other people who seem to have all their ducks in a row, and honestly their ducks are in much better rows than mine. Sometimes I feel like mine can rarely ever be found in the same location. I am not a type “A” personality. And as of late… I thought I had to pretend to be. People who are successful, I thought, are organised. Their world isn’t messy. Their lives, even if it’s full of kids with medical and school issues like mine, still aren’t messy enough for it to compensate for their organisation and successfulness, especially within their business.

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A great way to tidy up your home is to get rid of the stuff you no longer need. Having three piles: keep, donate and throw away will allow you to make quick decisions about your items. If you think “but I might need it” and you haven’t used it in years you will probably never will. Once you are left with your “keep” items you will be able to assign them a new place in your home.

Over Eating

TIP:


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‘House Beautiful’ we’ll never be Claire M. Age 48 The other day, I finally stole some time and vacuumed out my minivan. I was starting to live in fear of someone asking me for a ride. Not only was there garbage, random hats, a broken umbrella and tracked-in leaves on the floor, there were bits of pretzels and popcorn and some unidentifiable foods stuck between the seat cushions of the middle and back seats. My kids weren’t complaining (which was good, since they were mostly responsible for the mess), but it was crossing the line from messy to unsanitary. We just aren’t neat people. Our house is constantly cluttered. It’s not like we don’t ever clean — we do, and we hire people to come and really clean every couple of weeks. But surfaces (tables, countertops, chairs, sofas, floors) get covered (with books, newspapers, magazines, coats, school papers, clothes, toys and various random objects). It’s their natural state. We’re not going to get featured on “The Hoarders” or anything, but it’s a bit chaotic. Not only that, but as the house is old, there’s always something that we are in the midst of fixing. Let’s just say that entropy rules. With six people, a dog and two cats, clean is hard to come by — at least not without a fair amount of effort. It’s totally true that I could come home from work and get everything off 189 /

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It was also generally pretty messy. Sometimes even pretty dirty. It never bothered me. The message that the messiness sent to me was we have more important things to do. If there is some time left over after we talk, eat together, play together and finish this really great book, we’ll clean. If not, well, it can wait. That makes sense to me. Maybe I’m just making excuses for my messy house and car. It’s entirely possible. But truly, my time is so limited and as I watch my children grow, I know how fleeting it is. We intervene before things get (too) unsanitary, and we do make the house nice for special occasions, but ‘House Beautiful’ we’ll never be. So, if you come to visit or if I give you a ride, I hope you won’t mind the mess too much. I hope that what you will remember is that we made you feel welcome and appreciated — and that you had fun.

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the counter and table (again) and clean the bathrooms (again) and yell at the kids (again) to pick up all their stuff, but, well, I’d rather not. When I was growing up, I spent a lot of time with the family that lived around the corner from us. I loved that family (I still do). They enjoyed each other and enjoyed life. They laughed a lot, read lots of books, cooked wonderful meals and loved to talk. They made everyone who visited feel welcome and appreciated — including me. It was fun to be there. I loved their house, too. It wasn’t elegant, and was in various stages of renovation, but it had lots of places to curl up with a book. There were drawings and pictures of family and friends everywhere, in frames, stuck on a big cork board, taped to cupboards. The house was as interesting and welcoming as they were.


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Living with dust bunnies Jamie P. Age 22 Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve been a really, really, really messy person. I’m pretty good about common spaces (I’m not a monster) but when it comes to my own personal living space, there are clothes, books, and various other items covering at least half the floor at any given time. I’m not living in squalor, mind you; there are no dirty dishes or science experiments lying around. But my messiness does make it tougher to sweep, so my room has a higher population of dust bunnies than it probably should.

FACT: Even psychologist, Sharon Stiles admits that untidiness is her bad habit. Being busy with work and her social life leaves her little time in her home that she would rather spend relaxing. There’s nothing wrong with organisation, but there’s nothing wrong with chaos either. Allow your messy environment to inspire you and try not to worry about cleaning it up now. Still, it’s important to maintain a balance between organisation and chaos.


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Stop with the judgement Kara A. Age 24

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It’s not the mess that bothers me (if it bothered me, it wouldn’t be there), but the judgments it causes people to make about me. Are they right to judge me? Maybe I am a sh***y, incompetent person because of the way my room looks. I mean, I hold a steady job, give money to charity, and carry on meaningful relationships with people, but there are undies on the floor and none of my socks match, so what? It sounds silly, but these judgments have made me question my entire self-worth at times. Over the years, I’ve been told that I wouldn’t be able to think straight if my surroundings were chaotic, that I wouldn’t have any friends (I do, we just tend to hang out in the living room), and that I wouldn’t be able to find anything I needed, ever.

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A way to keep on top of your tidying is to assign a time in your schedule of a set time slot to do as much of your cleaning as you can. If you commit to this your home will be a lot more in order; even if you didn’t manage to clean the whole house. This way you won’t feel like you’re always avoiding cleaning.

Over Eating

TIP:


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The messy person’s guide to staying organised Emma Siemasko For ’The Muse’

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ake it from my old roommates (who used to collect my stuff and put it in a laundry basket outside my bedroom) or my boyfriend (who not-so-affectionately refers to my mess as “Emma droppings”): I am a really messy person. So, I’m constantly on the lookout for easy (and they have to be really easy) ways to stay organised to keep myself, my co-habitants, and my co-workers sane. There’s tons of information out there on how to get organized , but it’s almost always created by neat people. Although these neat freaks have the best intentions, they just don’t understand how it feels to suffer as a messy person when tidiness comes naturally to them. I’m going to share my tips on what’s worked for me, a real-life, semi-reformed messy person. Here are a few ways to get a bit more organized, fit for the messiest.

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1. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH ORGANISED PEOPLE Trust me: If you surround yourself with roommates and co-workers who are neat, it actually will rub off on you. It’s not just because you’ll see them having a generally easier time in life, but also because they’re really helpful resources. For example, I can’t tell you how many times an organised friend took pleasure in helping me pick up and straighten out my closet. My mum’s best friend is a professional organiser, and she taught me how to fold my clothes so they’d fit in my drawers. I know not everyone has a friend who is a professional organiser, but almost everyone knows one or two people who are super neat.

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For years, I’d throw business cards and paperwork on top of my desk. They never really had an official home, so they’d pile up in a random corner, spilling over into the real work I was trying to get done. Sound familiar? Well, you can reduce the messy explosion if you just make sure that every single item that you own has a place. I repeat: Every single item that you own should have a place. For example, any snack I bring to work lives in a certain desk drawer. Any outgoing mail item lives in front of my monitor so I remember to send it out. At home, all my catalogues and magazines live in a mail holder.

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2. MAKE SURE EVERYTHING YOU OWN HAS A PLACE


3. TURN IT INTO A CHALLENGE If you turn cleaning up into a game, you can make the process fun. It sounds ridiculous, but I’ve found this strategy really works. For example, my boyfriend and I recently came up with a challenge: When either of us leaves an item of clothing on the floor, we get a tally mark. Whoever has the most tallies at the end of the month has to do the laundry for the next month. We did it for the month of October, and it (mostly) worked. We fell off track after a vacation, but for the most part we were able to keep our clothes in the hamper. At work, you can easily create this kind of challenge. We have all types of competitions at my office, so it was pretty easy to convince the guy next to me to have a cubicle cleanliness contest. 4. GET RID OF YOUR STUFF It’s really hard to stay neat when you have a closet that doesn’t fit your clothes and a drawer in your desk overflowing with greeting cards from your distant cousins. So, once a month (yes—that often!) do a big purge. Donate the stuff that no longer fits you and recycle the business cards floating atop your desk. “But I might use it someday,” is not an excuse if you want to stay tidy. You do not get to keep the t-shirt from high school for the memories or the thank you note from the conference you attended. You are allowed to have one box of sentimental items at home and one folder in your desk at work, but no more than that. It’s the only way to a tidier you. Every time I clean out my desk, I reward myself and get to buy one special new thing to make up for all that I threw away. 195 /

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5. ACCEPT THAT YOU’LL NEVER BE PERFECTLY NEAT It’s easy to get overwhelmed when the mess gets big, which is why you’ve got to accept that you’ll never be perfectly neat—and that’s OK. Messy people beat themselves up all the time. We don’t have fun being messy—we know that society thinks we’re slobs, and we get really stressed out before we have people over to our homes or our desks. But this down-on-yourself attitude gets in the way of actually cleaning up. There have been so many times when I’ve slinked around my apartment, convinced the cleaning would never get done. When I actually started cleaning, though, it only took me about 30 minutes to get through everything.

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Even small changes can make a big difference.

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So, cut yourself a break. Even small changes can make a big difference. If you take a little bit of time and follow these tips, you’ll be on your way to a cleaner you. And as a real-life messy person, I promise it’s worth it.


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Over Eating

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“POTTY MOUTH”


SWEARING John M. Grohol From ‘Psych Central’

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hy do people swear? Why does using a swear word make us feel better? How do we choose which word we use? Luckily for you, the Association of Psychological Science’s Perspectives on Psychological Science just published an article that answers these important scientific questions. If swear words hurt your eyes, you may want to stop reading now. Jay notes that swear words (or taboo words, as he calls them) can include sexual references (fuck), those that are profane or blasphemous (goddamn), scatological or disgusting objects (shit), animal names (pig, ass), ethnic/racial/ gender slurs (fag), ancestral allusions (bastard), substandard vulgar terms and offensive slang. Taboo words can be mildly offensive to extremely offensive, and people will often use a more mild euphemism to replace a swear word when in mixed (or unknown) company. How do we choose what word to use and when? We make choices about which word to use depending upon the company we’re in, and what our relationship is to that company, as well as the social setting. We’re more apt to use less offensive terms in mixed company or in settings where more offensive swear words 199 /

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might result in recrimination (such as work). For instance, people are more comfortable and are more likely to use technical terms for sexual references in mixed crowds, and to reserve the taboo words for same sex crowds or with their sexual partner. Most people feel uncomfortable saying, “Fuck” in a business or public crowd, instead falling back on less offensive words like, “Dammit.”

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Taboo words can be used for a variety of reasons, including to achieve a specific reaction from others. Swearing injects a direct, succinct emotional component into the discussion, usually in order to express frustration, anger or surprise (up to two-thirds of our swearing is for just such expressions). These insulting swears can be name calling or

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As Jay notes, “Swearing is like using the horn on your car, which can be used to signify a number of emotions (e.g., anger, frustration, joy, surprise).”


wishing someone harm, so it’s no wonder they are often a defining feature of hate speech, verbal abuse, sexual harassment and obscene phone calls. Swearing is beneficial in ways that people may underestimate or take for granted. Swearing is often cathartic — it often frees us of the feelings of anger or frustration we hold and allows expression for them. It can also be a useful substitute to physical violence (who would rather be punched out than to withstand being sworn at?). Swear words can also be used in a more positive manner, in the form of jokes and humour, sex talk, storytelling, self-deprecation or even social commentary. Imagine when you want to emphasize how great you feel something is, a swear words emphasizes the positive feelings you have for that object, situation, person or event (“This concert is fucking awesome!”). Sure, we could just say “This concert is awesome,” but the addition of the swear word emphasizes the emotional reaction we have toward it — and easily conveys that emotional reaction to others. Virtually all people swear, and people swear pretty consistently throughout their lifetime — from the moment they can speak to the day they die. Swearing is almost a universal constant in most people’s lives. Research, according to Jay, has shown we swear on average from 0.3% to 0.7% of the time — a tiny but significant percentage of our overall speech (frequently-used personal pronouns occur at approximately 1.0% rate in speech). Swearing is more common than you might think. But 201 /

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personality research suggests that people who swear more, not surprisingly, score higher on traits such as extroversion, dominance, hostility and Type A personalities. Swearing is not just for the uneducated or people of a lower socioeconomic class — it knows no social boundaries in its expression. Swearing is a natural part of human speech development. We learn which words are taboo and which words are not through our normal childhood development. We also learn that not all swear words are equal, as Jay notes — “Fuck you! represents a greater level of anger than crap!” We then learn that we may be able to say a swear word in one social context, but not another.

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Jay’s article was a bit of an eye-opener for me as well, as I didn’t know that swearing was really as commonplace as he notes, and I never much considered the beneficial effects of swearing. Jay calls on more psychological research to be done on this topic, and after reading his article, I’d have to agree.


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I am woman, hear me curse Cass Geller For ’Femsplain’

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Am Woman, Hear Me Curse: Confessions Of A Potty Mouth For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a common user of swear words. It wasn’t until more recent years that I have begun to uncover the many stereotypes given to women who curse. Why had I never noticed it growing up? Was it because I was raised in a household where I was able to voice my opinions? Don’t get me wrong, my parents didn’t promote the use of curse words, but they also didn’t condemn it. We were free to believe what we wanted and express that in the way of our choosing. I understand that not all people were raised in a similar way, but I would like to address some misconceptions around women who embrace their potty mouths. MISCONCEPTION #1: CURSING ISN’T LADYLIKE Over the years I’ve found that because I’m a woman, people apply a double standard that I shouldn’t curse. Wrong. Who the hell is anyone to tell me what is and isn’t ladylike? Especially in this day and age where women are overturning hundreds of stereotypes on a 203 /

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daily basis. I think dropping an f-bomb into a conversation is damn sexy. And to you ladies, I raise my glass. Thankfully, I am living in a world where more and more women are coming forward defending our right to use swearwords. And that doesn’t necessarily mean the context is vulgar, but I am a firm believer that it can be necessary. In 2013, Dame Helen Mirren was quoted telling the Daily Mail, “If I’d had children and had a girl, the first words I would have taught her would have been ‘f*** off’ because we weren’t brought up ever to say that to anyone, were we? And it’s quite valuable to have the courage and the confidence to say, ‘No, f*** off, leave me alone, thank you very much.’” It wasn’t the first time she was quoted using bad language and I’m sure as hell that it won’t be the last. MISCONCEPTION #2: A WOMAN’S CHOICE OF WORDS MEANS SHE’S UNEDUCATED

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I was an overachiever in school. The fact that I was lucky enough to have an education provided for me meant that I absorbed as much as my brain would allow. While I don’t like to toot my own horn, I do believe that I received a good education, I am creative and can hold down an intelligent conversation with the best of them. So what if I drop the word “shit” into one of those conversations? Of course I could use words like excrement, faecal matter, dung or defecation, among many others. However, the fact of the matter is, I like the word “shit.” For those that have made/will make the assumption that because of that fact I am less intelligent, you are wrong.


MISCONCEPTION #3: CURSING MEANS YOU ARE BAD-MANNERED I will argue this point until I am blue in the face. Yes, I have a few curse words in my regular vocabulary bank but does that mean I am bad-mannered? I was raised to understand just what it means to be polite. Not only does this include the basics — please, thank you, you’re welcome — but I’ve also always been at the top end of courteous. I will continue to tell each and every person I come in contact with to “have a lovely day” and mean it. Bad manners are something that has never been in my repertoire, and just because I like to drop a few f-bombs doesn’t mean I should be categorized as “ill-mannered.” MISCONCEPTION #4: THERE’S NO POINT TO PROFANITY When used correctly, profanity can be very powerful. Not in the demeaning “let’s throw slang terms for female genitalia at people” kind of way. What I’m trying to say is that if used in the right context, a curse word can really emphasize a point. For example: I’ve just received good news: “That is so fucking awesome!” I’ve just received bad news: “What the hell? This is shit.” I’ve just been given an opportunity of a lifetime: “Fuck yeah!” Oh, you don’t like it when I swear? With everything going wrong in the world, is it right to tell women, again, what they should and shouldn’t do or say? Life is too short to give a shit.

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Life is too short to give a shit.

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The middle finger could also be classed as a swear. “It’s one of the most ancient insult gestures known,” says anthropologist Desmond Morris. “The middle finger is the penis and the curled fingers on either side are the testicles. By doing it, you are offering someone a phallic gesture. It is saying, ‘this is a phallus’ that you’re offering to people, which is a very primeval display.”

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FACT:


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Stay at home swearer Sienna W. Age 25 My boyfriend mentioned a few months ago that I swear too much. Like at home, while we’re out shopping, things like that. I just brushed it off. I honestly didn’t think I was like that. I always saw myself as well spoken, because my line of work is very professional, and I have to be very well spoken. So we’re out at a grocery store, and I have no idea what we were talking about, but I was suddenly self aware - I would swear like every sentence. “Holy shit, those fucking mangoes are on sale!” “Ah FUCK! Do we need milk? I don’t remember, shit!” “Why the shit, is this shit so fucking expensive?” Just to name a few... I don’t know what it is, but when I’m at work, I never swear. The second I’m outside of work, oh god it’s horrible. I get how home is different from in public, but I’m pretty sure my boyfriend doesn’t like it when I swear so much even at home. It’s getting to the point where I’m becoming a bit of an embarrassment. I used to be indignant about it, like, what do I care about what other people think about me? Now I’m starting to think I shouldn’t swear so much. I think it boils down to comfort? I feel 100% comfortable and I can just be myself with my boyfriend. So I’m always putting on a face at work and with friends 207 /

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There is no stopping it Kieran G. Age 27 I am constantly swearing, even when it has no relevance whatsoever. I’ll be driving and a song will come on and I’ll just say “I fucking love this song.” I think it’s because I don’t live at home anymore and I feel completely free. When I was a teenager I was careful to only swear with friends and never at home; then I’d occasionally, accidentally cuss at home and get yelled at. Now there is no stopping it, I’m rarely with my parents these days and probably concentrate more on not swearing with them than I ever did on my school work. But I’m sure they wouldn’t say anything if I did; after all I am 27.

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Avoiding TV programmes, films and music that uses excessive swear words could help you to swear less yourself. They could have been the way that they became a part of your vocabulary. Also examining when you choose to swear; for instance during road rage incidents. Try to react more calmly and appropriately to the severity of the incident.

Over Eating

TIP:


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Confessions of a cursing librarian Roz W. Age 42 I recently strained a tendon in my foot. My podiatrist suggested a cortisone shot. “This will hurt,” he warned, as he angled a gigantic needle toward my foot. When the needle plunged in, and the searing pain hit, I let loose with a stream of profanity that clearly shocked my doctor, a pleasant and amiable fellow, who also happened to be an Orthodox Jew. I wasn’t swearing at him. I was just swearing. But the verbiage I’d unleashed was at odds with my demeanour. I’m a mild-mannered, middle-aged librarian. Up to that moment, I’d been ladylike and well spoken. Nary a “damn” had crossed my lips. Of course, up to then, he hadn’t stuck me with any sharp objects. Growing up in the 60s, my role model for correct behaviour was my mother, a woman with exquisite manners. Mom was no aristocrat, just a middle-class housewife. But appropriate behaviour meant a lot to her. She was ladylike to the core and raised me to be the same. And a lady didn’t swear. Ever. As a young girl, I never once heard my mother say any of the words I’d just inflicted upon my poor podiatrist. Upon occasion, Mom would say “darn.” If truly provoked, she’d allow herself to exclaim “Jesus Christ!” which was always followed by this disclaimer: “I’m a Jew, I don’t 209 /

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FACT: One recent study (from the journal Neuroreport) found that people subjected to a painful experience (plunging a hand into cold water) could better endure the pain if they were allowed to swear. Concluded the study’s author: “I would advise people, if they hurt themselves, to swear.” A study, published in the journal NeuroReport, measured how long college students could keep their hands immersed in cold water. During the chilly exercise, they could repeat an expletive of their choice or chant a neutral word. When swearing, the 67 student volunteers reported less pain and on average endured about 40 seconds longer.


believe in him anyway.” My Mom wanted to set a good example for her daughters and she did. Then I became a rebellious teenager and the counter-culture kicked in. I didn’t want to be ladylike. I wanted to be liberated! I didn’t want to be well-behaved. I wanted to challenge authority. I grew my hair long and wore torn jeans and smoked pot and used profanity. And if you didn’t like it, you could just go *%@ yourself.

One such structure is the amygdala, an almondshaped group of neurons that can trigger a fight-orflight response in which our heart rate climbs and we become less sensitive to pain. Indeed, the students’ heart rates rose when they swore, a fact the researchers say suggests that the amygdala was activated.

Mom was appalled. But perhaps, also, just a little intrigued. I think I was a good influence. By the time I hit my twenties, she had loosened up a little. The occasional “damn” crept into her speech. I believe she enjoyed it. And why not? As far as I’m concerned, profanity is the spice of life. To this day, at home, and with friends, I love to employ a well-chosen swear word. Of course, when I got a job at the public library, I had to put a lid on it. Under no circumstances can you say “fuck” when you’re working in a public library. Dropping a heavy book on my sandal-clad foot, I can only exclaim “Sugar!” Tripping over and falling flat on my face, I’m allowed to shout “Dang!” Even when a hotheaded patron, infuriated because I refuse to waive a fine, begins shouting and swearing and calling me nasty names, I’m not allowed to “return fire.” The worst I can say is “I’m so sorry you feel that way.” But when I’m not at the library, I swear. For emphasis. For flavour. To liven up an otherwise dull sentence. When it comes to profanity, I lead a double life. On the job, I’m the perfect lady Mom raised me to be. But inside my own head, and in my own home, and with my close friends, I’m Gordan Ramsay. 210 /

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How swearing achieves its physical effects is unclear, but the researchers speculate that brain circuitry linked to emotion is involved. Earlier studies have shown that unlike normal language, which relies on the outer few millimetres in the left hemisphere of the brain, expletives hinge on evolutionarily ancient structures buried deep inside the right half.

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Swearing

The F-bomb rehab Hilary M. Age 30 Let’s be honest: dropping an f-bomb here or there can be immensely satisfying. When you’re stressed or upset, swearing can be a good way to release those negative emotions (science proves it!). The odd well-placed R-rated word? Everyone needs it. Cursing all the time? Could make small children and your grandparents uncomfortable. That’s why last fall, I decided to get my seven year habit of cursing up a storm for no reason under control. It wasn’t easy and it took a lot of trial and error, but with the help of a few friends, a calendar, and some made up words, I was able to clean up my act a bit. If you’re trying to stop or just cut down a bit, here’s some good ways to swear off the swearing. 211 /

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FIND A GOOD MOTIVATION It’s pretty difficult to make a change in your life without a good reason. I’ve heard reasons that range from wanting to be a better example for kids to wanting to expand your vocabulary. Mine was that I was looking into a part-time job and I didn’t want to wind up in hot water with my boss for letting something slip in front of a customer. Your reason can be as big or small as you want as long it’s important enough to motivate you to do better. PLAN AHEAD FOR WHEN YOU’RE UPSET More often than not, my swearing was a result of me being mad or upset and I know that goes for a lot of other people to. Identify the kinds of situations that cause these emotions and figure out how better to deal with them. A muttered cursing under your breath in the car? Sure. A stream of expletives at a traffic cop? Yeah, not so much. Think about other ways to let off steam. Maybe just singing aloud to the radio in the car or the classic counting to ten. BUDDY UP!

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Everything’s easier when you have a little help. I got my best friend to quit with me and that made a world of difference. We swapped advice, made up new words together, and motivated each other to keep going. But if nobody wants to do it with you, don’t fret. Just let a few friends know what you’re trying to do and have them hold you accountable and remind you to keep it clean.


TRY MAKING UP SOME REPLACEMENT CURSE WORDS This is the fun part: making up new words! Curse words do serve a purpose, after all, so they need replacements. My bestie and I managed to come up with quite a few such as “friggle fraggle,” “razzle my dazzle,” and countless more. If you don’t feel creative enough to make up words or think they’re too weird to say in public, just replace every swear word with heck. Example: “Holy heck! Why the heck did I leave my hecking keys back in my room?” It gets the point across nicely while remaining inoffensive. PRETEND YOUR LITTLE SISTER OR COUSIN OR DAUGHTER MIGHT BE LISTENING If you’re stressed or angry and you feel like releasing a string of profanities, just imagine you’re surrounded by innocent ears. What would your grandparents think if they heard you say what you want to say? Or a classroom full of first graders? Or Eddie Redmayne delivering his Oscar speech? DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP IF YOU SLIP UP Hey, it happens. No one’s perfect. But the more you work at something, the easier it gets. Learning to control your swearing can be difficult, especially if you do it without even thinking like I did. But if you make a plan and stick, you’ll have the mouth of a freaking angel in no time.

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Swearing

We’ve all heard of the swear jar idea to get people to put money in whenever they swear but it can actually work. Alan Stokes said that he had uttered just 18 expletives at $5 per swear word since swearing off swearing seven days prior. Psychologists reckon the average person swears between 40 and 60 times a day. Alan’s old average was closer to 400. Perhaps the monetary risk is enough to get people to kick the habit and save some cash.


Over Eating

OVER EATING


OVER EATING From ‘WebMD’

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hink back to the last time you ate so much you felt absolutely stuffed. Were you tearing into a huge cake to celebrate a friend’s birthday? Loading up on turkey and sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving? Or were you at home alone, maybe at the end of a tough day? How did you feel afterward -- simply annoyed that you gave yourself a stomach ache? Or were you tormented by guilt or shame? Eating too much every once in a while is normal. So is eating for emotional reasons. “From the moment we’re born, we’re nurtured with food, rewarded with food, and so emotional connections to food are normal,” says Michelle May, MD, author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat. People who compulsively overeat, though, may use food as their only way of coping with negative emotions. As a result, they often feel that their eating is out of control. They think about food all the time and feel guilty, ashamed, or depressed after eating. “That’s very different from what someone feels after, say, eating a big Thanksgiving meal,” May says. “You might feel full, and you might regret having had that last slice of pie, but you’re not consumed with shame.” 217 /

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Some people who overeat have a clinical disorder called binge eating disorder (BED). People with BED compulsively eat large amounts of food in a short amount of time and feel guilt or shame afterward. And they do so often: at least once a week over a period of at least 3 months. Not everyone who overeats is a binger. You might eat a lot of food throughout the day, rather than all in one sitting. And you might not do it regularly, but only when you’re feeling stressed, lonely, or upset. HOW DOES IT START? In some cases, people simply overeat out of mindless habit, like always sitting down with a bag of chips in front of the TV at night. But often-times, it’s the result of underlying emotional problems. Having a negative body image can play a big role. For many people, compulsive overeating is part of a cycle that starts with a restrictive diet. May calls it the “eat, repent, repeat” cycle. You might begin a diet because you feel bad about your weight or size but find that it’s too hard to stick to -- especially if you use food as a coping tool. Eventually, you hit a breaking point and binge on “forbidden” foods, and then the guilt and shame set in, and the restrictions begin again. The cycle can be hard to break. “Even people who say they’re not on a diet often have ingrained ideas about ‘good’ or ‘bad’ foods,” says Marsha Hudnall, president of Green Mountain at Fox Run in Vermont, a centre for women who struggle with overeating. “But when you have a substance that is naturally appealing and soothing and comforting, and you make it off-limits, it just becomes more attractive.” CREATURES OF HABIT

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CAN PEOPLE BE “ADDICTED” TO FOOD? In recent years, food addiction has become a popular idea among some scientists. Those researchers say that certain foods high in fat, sugar, and salt are addictive, causing changes in the brain similar to those made by drugs. Studies in animals have shown that rats that binge on sugar, for example, can develop signs of dependency. But the idea of food addiction is controversial. For one thing, the standard treatment for addiction is abstinence, and that’s not possible with food. Also, “dieting is a very strong component of the binge eating cycle,” May says. “From that standpoint, it’s counterproductive to label certain foods as negative.” There’s no doubt that eating can stimulate the release of feel-good chemicals in the brain, Hudnall says. “But that doesn’t make food an addictive substance. There’s evidence that it’s actually the behaviour -- the restrict/binge cycle -- that causes the signs of dependency, not the food itself,” she says. Some researchers have even stated that the term “eating addiction” is a more accurate term than “food addiction.” HOW CAN I CONTROL COMPULSIVE EATING? Seek help. It can be hard to stop overeating on your own, particularly if there are deep-rooted emotional problems involved, says Robin B. Kanarek, PhD, professor of psychology at Tufts University. Working with a counsellor can help you uncover the psychological triggers -- like a negative body image -- that may be driving your behaviour. 219 /

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Avoid labels. “Understand that you’re not a bad person doing bad things,” May says. “Labelling yourself can become a self-fulfilling prophecy in terms of continuing the cycle.” The same goes for labelling foods. “Food is food -- it’s not ‘good’ or ‘bad,’” Kanarek says. “It can be hard to get over those deeply held beliefs, but research shows that if you eat what you deem a ‘bad’ food, you’re more likely to overeat afterward.” Take a pause. When you feel like eating, pause for a moment and ask yourself: Am I hungry? “Sometimes people get so focused on what they want to eat that they don’t stop and ask themselves why they want to eat,” May says. If you use food as a coping tool, you may be out of touch with the cues that signal hunger or fullness, and it’s important to bring your awareness back to your body. Change your environment. “A habit is very often simply a behaviour that’s on autopilot,” Hudnall says. Making a tweak to your environment can return your focus to your behaviour and give you a chance to make a more purposeful decision. For example, Hudnall says, “if you always sit in a certain chair to eat, move it to a different place in the room -- or sit somewhere else entirely.” Give into cravings -- in moderation. Banning foods can cause you to overeat them later on. If you’re really craving something -- even if you’re not hungry -- give yourself permission to have a small amount. End restrictive diets . “Overeating and restrictive eating are often two sides of the same coin,” May says. “Deprivation can be a trigger for overeating just like stress, anger, or anxiety.” CREATURES OF HABIT

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Over Eating

Confessions of an overeater Justin Grinnell

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have something to confess. I am a HUGE overeater! Yes, a trainer of 14 years and training facility owner LOVES to eat! Big shocker, right? But who doesn’t love to eat? Well, I think I have a few skeletons in my closet that I need to clean out. People who know me will tell you that I can eat an unreal amount of food, and sometimes it is BAD food. 1. When I go out to dinner with my wife, I want to get the bread basket, appetizer, maybe two of them, a salad, a large main course, and sometimes desert. My wife hardly eats half of her meal, so I eat the rest of it along with all of my meal. The server often comments on how much I just ate in disbelief that all of the food is totally destroyed. 2. For dinner, I will often eat a meal large enough for 2 people. Less than an hour later, I will start looking through the fridge and pantry. The “second dinner” usually consists of one, or more of the following: 3 bowls of my kids cereal, low sugar, but still, it’s cereal; If a chocolate bar is around, I will devour it; 2-4 pieces of cinnamon raisin Ezekiel bread with coconut oil and peanut butter; My wife and I will share pint of ice cream; 4 scoops of Progenex Cocoon protein powder and an apple; 221 /

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The server often comments on how much I just ate. CREATURES OF HABIT

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And maybe some of the leftovers from dinner and while some of these are healthy options, does my body really need it? Probably not. 3. I once ate 6 Junior Bacon Cheeseburgers and a Biggie fry after a long day of tailgating. I was still hungry 2 hours later. 4. When my wife and I order pizza, we will get 2 large pizzas. My wife eats maybe a quarter of one of the pizzas, I eat the rest. 5. Since meeting my father in-law he has had to double his groceries and ingredient list when we come up north to visit. I always thank him and tell him how much I love his cooking. I eat everything he makes, and eat a lot of it. I think this is the only reason why he likes me since I am his biggest food fan. 6. When I was young, my brother and I would go on “food trips” where we would pre-plan each fast food restaurant that we would go to. We would count to the last penny to how much food we could buy with the money we had. It was an all out fat ass eating journey. No wonder we both went through our “fat kid” phases. 7. After many of my bodybuilding shows, I would gain 15-25 pounds within 2 days. I would eat whole boxes of cereal, 1/2 gallons of chocolate milk, and donuts for breakfast, along with whatever else I could get my hands on. Pizza, burgers, you name it, I would eat it. No holds barred. The extreme dieting always pushed me to the limits and when I was done, I was ready to eat! I could go on and on with my eating stories, but I think you get the picture. I can eat a lot of food and I might have a 223 /

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problem. Well, maybe not a problem, but I tend to do things in extremes. I have an addictive personality by nature. When I enjoy doing something, or feel like I can do something well, I dive right in and do it to the extreme. Take my career and training for example; at 20 years old I started with the intentions to do whatever it took to become successful. I noticed that I was kind of good at it, so I let it consume me. The same goes with bodybuilding. However much it took to workout and diet to look the way that I wanted, I would do it. The mass gaining phases of the sport was also enjoyable. As long I ate enough of the right nutrients, I was allowed to eat a ton of food. This let my inner fat kid come out to the extreme. Somewhere down the line, I started to realize that the extremes were too tough to manage all of the time. Going from one extreme to the next was tough. Eating a bunch of food and then thinking I could out train a high calorie diet to maintain my 6-pack just didn’t cut it mentally or physically. That is when I really started to understand nutrition and eating habits. I had tremendous knowledge about nutrition, supplementation, and working out. Putting it to use consistently and developing the habit was and is the hard part. This is how writing my book all started. I wanted to share the key fundamentals of creating good eating habits that I did always practiced despite my extremes. Below is the table of contents so you can get a better picture of what I talk about in my book. Overeating is something that I still do once in a while. Now that I am older and more aware CREATURES OF HABIT

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of what is good for my body, I don’t go to the extremes as often as I once did. Even when I did go to the extremes, I always followed the guidelines that I describe in my book. I always made sure that I was putting quality nutrients in my body, everyday, despite the occasional binge eating. Even before I started to write my book, I have balanced out my good and bad nutritional habits. It’s just not worth it to continue to damage my body and have to regroup in order to feel better form the binging. I have also taken a different approach to exercise. The “more is better” approach in order to make-up for the extra caloric intake is also something I do not practice. I know that as long as I get a good workout in, 4-5 days per week, and eat the way I should 90% of the time, I will be just fine. I love to workout, and would workout more if time permitted, but I understand that it’s quality, not quantity. Just like it is when you are eating. Life balance is something that we are always trying to strive for. Many of us may never find that balance, which is totally OK. When is comes to eating and exercising, you need to find that balance as much as possible. Exercise enough to improve health and fitness, eat well enough 90% of the time and enjoy the foods you love 10% of the time. Get some sleep and take a vacation. It will be a constant job throughout your life to do this. The biggest thing is to never give up and always put your health first. Developing strong habits one at a time is the key. Get started on your habits today. Don’t wait for a good reason to start because YOU are already a good enough reason! 225 /

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It’s just not worth it to continue to damage my body. CREATURES OF HABIT

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If it’s there, I’ll eat it Mandy T. Age 53 I have lost 70 lbs. and I always feel like I am on the verge of reverting back to old ways and gaining it all back. Recently I have been under a great deal of stress and I have been overeating carbs. I feel bloated and out of control, but I haven’t been able to get a handle on it yet. Even as I am eating, I am saying “what the heck are you doing”. I suppose that’s actually a step up from mindless eating where you don’t even talk to yourself about it, just keep stuffing it in.

Peter R. Age 46 There are very few days in my life when I feel really in control of my food consumption. Sometimes, it’s easy to get through the day, sometimes it’s impossible. I do believe it has a lot to do with what’s available, what’s tempting you, what you allow to be in your house. For example, I was doing just fine with food until my family came and left lots of Christmas left overs here. Of course I couldn’t let those go to waste, and I was the only one that liked them so I just had to eat them. I have a hard time throwing food away, especially if it’s something I really like. I will rationalise it like; I’ll just eat it, and then get back to my diet tomorrow. Procrastination has cost me the last 15 years of my life.. 227 /

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Greediest food moment Natalie H. Age 26 I once ate five McDonald’s cheeseburgers in one sitting. Admittedly, I was on the tail end of a big night out, and I was hungry. Also, after a trillion vodkas, McDonald’s cheeseburgers are next-level delicious. But it was, by far, my greediest food moment. I felt so disgusting the next day that I took myself on a four-hour bike ride to work off all the calories from the cheeseburgers (approximately 1410, if you’re wondering). I’ve always been pretty ashamed about this incident. And until last week, I hadn’t told anyone about it, fearing that they would judge me for my poor and greedy food choices. But then I found this epic Reddit thread, where hundreds and hundreds of people were discussing their greediest and most shameful food moments. Apparently everyone’s got a moment that meets my fivecheeseburgers-in-a-row slip-up. And there’s something very cathartic about sharing those moments – who knew?

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Gorged Juliette B. Age 32 I ate half of a cake once when I should have only one piece. I was horrified and didn’t want anyone to know, so I finished the cake, baked a whole new one, forced myself to eat the one allowed piece… Then I barfed in the middle of dinner.

Michael F. Age 37 I told my wife I was going to the gym, but somehow I ended up going to McDonald’s instead. I ate my cheeseburgers in a parking lot, and waited a little while until it seemed long enough for a workout. When I got home, I poured water on my head and shirt to look like I had been sweating.

Melanie K. Age 28 I ate two pans of brownies in less than an hour. I didn’t even realise that I’d eaten that much until I saw the two empty pans. It’s like the brownie monster came alive in me and I didn’t realise what I was doing until there was no going back.

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TIP: Learn to listen to your stomach. Frequently asking yourself “Am I full?” can sometimes immediately put things into perspective. Often, we mindlessly eat without paying attention to what our body is trying to tell us. Over eaters typically keep consuming long after their stomachs are full. It may be helpful if you rate your hunger level on a scale of 1 to 10, with one being so hungry you feel dizzy, weak or starving and 10 being full to the point you feel sick. 5 represents feeling satisfied, neither hungry nor full. Eat when your hunger is at a 3 or 4, and try to avoid ever hitting a 1 or 2. Stop eating when you hit a 5 or 6 either satisfied, or a “pleasantly full.” Stop a quarter way through your meal and ask yourself: “Am I still hungry?” If you are, continue eating. Then stop again when you are halfway through and ask: “Am I still hungry?” Remember, you don’t have to clean your plate.


Over Eating

Just a treat? Kate J. Age29 My boyfriend and I love popcorn, so everytime we go to the movies we get an extra large box and two choc-tops each. We always swear to never do it again because we feel so sick afterwards. But so far we haven’t been able to break out of our shameful movie ritual.

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I have never forgotten about any food anywhere EVER. Bella L. Age 34 I realised only recently that I am an overeater. If I compare my relationship to food with that of other people it seems to me that I am not normal. I feel like I am tormented by food and that nobody else around me understands what that’s like. I am not overweight right now (although I have been seriously overweight in the past) and in theory I know exactly what to do to live a healthy lifestyle. My problem is that every now and again I will go on a feeding frenzy and eat until I am sick. Then I feel incredibly guilty about it for days afterward, become very depressed and generally not a pleasure to be around at all because I’m grumpy and pick fights (just ask my husband). If I know there is food in the cupboard, I will obsess about it until either it gets eaten by someone else, or I eat it. It’s almost like being tortured until the food has been removed as a temptation. My husband doesn’t get this at all because he can leave a bar of chocolate in the cupboard for a week because he’s “saving it” for the weekend (a concept I simply can’t grasp) or because he’s forgotten about it (I have never forgotten about any food anywhere EVER). He has to hide food 231 /

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Eat a diet low in fat and sugar. Research suggests that individuals who overeat and have high sensitivity to reward, also eat a high fat and high sugar diet. High fat diets may even promote overeating, and increase the likelihood of abusing food. Eating foods higher in fat actually makes you feel less full than low-fat foods. Find alternative foods that are healthy in order to reduce food cravings. For example, when you crave sweets eat an apple instead.

from me if he wants it to still be around by the time he’s ready to eat it. That’s not normal! and he shouldn’t have to live that way. I can go for weeks feeling on top of the world about my level of discipline to food and then all of a sudden, seemingly without warning, I’ll just crash and burn and stuff my face like there’s no tomorrow. I am trying to get to the bottom of this because I am really proud of myself for losing over 70pounds in the last 2 years but I can feel that I am not in control. And I risk gaining all the weight back unless I can figure out why I have this messed up relationship to food and how to fix it. I want to be free from the constant anxiety I have about eating. I want to spend my time thinking about something other than my weight/my dinner/that chocolate in the cupboard. 232 /

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Acknowledgements Special thanks to psychologist, Sharon Stiles for informing my approach to this book and for her expertise on the subject of bad habits. Essays and articles featured in this book can be found on the following websites. Nail Biting http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20140710-why-do-we-bite-our-nails http://www.theverge.com/2016/11/13/13597824/why-nail-biting-habit-science Smoking https://www.quora.com/Why-do-people-smoke-8 http://www.vogue.com/article/how-to-quit-smoking-forever Nose Picking http://www.livescience.com/52341-nose.html https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-excess/201401/snot-my-fault http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-c-miller/how-you-pick-your-nosede_b_1551442.html https://melissinbliss.wordpress.com/2011/02/16/how-to-stop-picking-yournose-and-eating-it/ Restless Legs http://www.gracebelgravia.com/restless-legs-syndrome/ https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/feb/09/restless-legs-syndromeisnt-trivial Clicking/Tapping http://shine365.marshfieldclinic.org/bone-joint/dont-fret-about-fidgeting/ http://thedalharttexan.com/index.php?mact=News,cntnt01,print,0&cntnt01 articleid=298&cntnt01showtemplate=false&cntnt01returnid=27 233 /

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Over Spending http://www.therecoverygroup.org/odat/spending/spendingaddiction.html http://www.today.com/popculture/spent-memoirs-shopping-addictwbna37217560 Procrastinating https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-the-age-anxiety/201103/why-doyou-procrastinate http://www.newyorker.com/science/maria-konnikova/a-procrastination-gene https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-procrastination-equation/201104/iam-procrastinator-the-ongoing-story-one-persons-s Gossiping http://www.sowhatireallymeant.com/articles/personality-traits/gossip/ https://philipchircop.wordpress.com/tag/gossip/ http://www.medicaldaily.com/rumor-has-it-science-behind-why-we-lovecelebrity-gossip-and-tabloid-magazines-362710 Hair Pulling http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/trichotillomania/Pages/introduction.aspx http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2014/08/when-anxiety-has-you-pulling-yourhair-out.html Untidiness http://elitedaily.com/elite/psychology-behind-messy-rooms-messy-room-maynecessarily-bad-thing/708046/ https://intothegloss.com/2015/03/being-a-messy-person/ https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-messy-persons-guide-to-stayingorganized Swearing https://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/03/30/why-do-we-swear/ https://femsplain.com/i-am-woman-hear-me-curse-confessions-of-a-pottymouth-9793eeb55439 Over Eating http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/eating-disorders/binge-eating-disorder/ features/compulsive-overeating-and-how-to-stop-it#1 http://grinnelltraining.com/confessions-of-an-overeater/ 234 /

CREATURES OF HABIT


NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING


NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING PROCRASTINATING GOSSIPING HAIR PULLING UNTIDINESS SWEARING OVER EATING NAIL BITING SMOKING NOSE PICKING RESTLESS LEGS CLICKING/TAPPING OVER SPENDING


CREATURES OF HABIT Confessions of the things we cannot help but do Edited By Alice Robinson Having a bad habit is a part of the human experience. Our brain loves routines and every part of our lives is made up of actions (habits) that we repeat almost daily. However, not all habits are helpful to how we live our lives and can actually hold us back from enjoying things. A bad habit is something which is causing someone a problem or perhaps they are embarrassed about doing. Here we expose the reasons and anecdotes for why we have the bad habits that we do. Read the scientific explanations and suggested strategies to help quit our bad habits for good.

The server often comments on how much I just ate.

Creatures of Habit  

Confessions of the things we cannot help but do. A publication exploring the whys and treatments for some of the most common 'bad habits'. F...

Creatures of Habit  

Confessions of the things we cannot help but do. A publication exploring the whys and treatments for some of the most common 'bad habits'. F...

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