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5 Urban Health Legends You Should Disregard

5 Urban Health Legends You Should Disregard

Medical specialists spend years studying the human physiology, so it’s not surprising that the lay person is bound to have some misconceptions about what is and isn’t good for the body. In fact, thanks to the Internet, urban health legends now abound. But you’ll just want to walk away the next time you hear one of these five bogus health myths.

Diet Soda is Healthy For You

Zero calories means zero problems, right? Nope. “Fundamentally, we have no convincing evidence that diet soda or artificial sweeteners are actually helpful for people trying to lose weight,” said Dr. David Katz, director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center. In fact, a group of French scientists showed that the artificial sweeteners like aspartame, commonly used to “sweeten” diet soda, can cause a body’s insulin production and resistance to go haywire. Coupling that with a confused metabolism that craves the energy these false sweeteners imitate makes a person more likely to develop type II diabetes, the research showed.

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Vaccines Cause Autism

Former surgeon and medical research Andrew Wakefield published a report in The Lancet linking the combined measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine to the development of autism spectrum disorders in young children. The media later revealed Wakefield had ulterior motives that led the medical community to eventually discredit him and his entire study a few years later.

To date, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stress that no reliable studies have shown a connection between vaccines and autism. However, many parents continue to under-vaccinate their children out of fear — a harmful choice that has led to dire outbreaks in the past.

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Watching TV Leads to Poor Eyesight

Your parents have probably told you to not sit so close to the TV out of fear you’d go blind. Chances are their parents told them the same thing, and for good reason — many TVs sold up to the late 1960s emitted radiation levels 100,000 times greater than what the federal government considered safe.

However, doctors have since refuted the notion that watching TV at any distance will directly lead to eye damage and say there is no connection between TV and poor eyesight. That being said, a sedentary lifestyle that revolves around watching TV for hours on end is bad for you anyway and can lead to health problems with every part of your body.

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Step away from the boob tube once in a while and use your eyes to focus on more pleasant things like trees, people, kittens, and the rest of your proximal physical reality you’ve chosen to ignore for so long.

Cracking Bones Leads to Arthritis

A well-executed cracking of the joints might make everyone in your general vicinity squirm with discomfort, but that’s about the closest you’re going to get to a legitimate health problem. The sound of a joint cracking isn’t caused by a physical breaking of any kind. Rather, the space between joints is filled with fluids and nutrients that naturally release a small amount of gaseous byproduct.

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When you apply pressure in a certain way, you can create a vacuum bubble that bursts and creates that familiar cringe-worthy sound. Despite the perceived repulsion, doctors say there is no link to joint cracking and the development of arthritis. However, those same doctors warn that habitual knuckle-crackers have a higher risk of damaging ligaments or dislocating tendons, so make sure you crack sparingly.

You Should Suck Venom Out of a Snake Bite

An old hiking wives’ tale once told snake bite victims to cut open their bite wound and physically suck the venom out before it can spread through the body. Don’t do this. Bacteria from your mouth could only exacerbate the problem and more blood loss doesn’t help anyone here. Rather, stay calm, keep the wound below the heart, and seek immediate medical attention.

Our understanding of health and physiology changes every day. Always be sure to take advice passed down from decades past with a grain of salt. What other urban health legends have you heard? Do you tell others to disregard them? Let us know in the comments.

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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