December 1, 2017

Weekend reads: The expert way to worry

Daily Briefing

    Ben Palmer's reads

    How to worry, according to experts. There's a right and wrong way to worry—but following a few simple strategies can corral disruptive worry into constructive motivation to change, according to experts. For instance, Sarah Kate McGowan, a clinical psychologist in California, recommends people set aside a certain time and place each day to focus their worrying productively—whether that means taking notes about your worries or attempting to resolve the source of concern. According to McGowan's research, the strategy lets people acknowledge their stressors so they can either move on or address them. Meanwhile, David Clark and Aaron Beck, authors of the Anxiety and Worry Workbook, urge people to distinguish between productive and unproductive worries by asking whether worrying about the issue will solve the problem or advance their goals—and if not, do their best to set it aside. Ultimately, however, people should simply be kind to themselves. As McGowan said, "We all worry to varying degrees, so it's important to be kind to ourselves when we notice we are worrying in an unhelpful way."

    Opening windows and doors before you go to sleep might help you sleep better. Opening doors and windows before you go to sleep can lower carbon dioxide levels—leading to better quality sleep, according to a small study in Indoor Air. For the study, researchers used data on 17 volunteers to assess sleeping quality and carbon dioxide levels, temperature, background noise, and relative humidity in bedrooms with open or closed windows and doors. They found that in the bedrooms with opened windows and doors, carbon dioxide levels were 717 particles per million (ppm) compared to 1,150 ppm in the bedrooms with closed windows and doors, while humidity and temperature were about the same (though the opened bedrooms were slightly cooler). When they compared the data to participants' sleep quality, the researchers concluded that "lower carbon dioxide levels implied better sleep depth, sleep efficiency, and lesser number of awakenings."

    Rachel Schulze's reads

    New scientific report further ruins the joy of eating raw cookie dough. Before you dive into that cookie dough, be advised the uncooked eggs aren't the only raw ingredient to fear. A new report in the New England Journal of Medicine that looked at a 2016 flour recall warns that uncooked foods with flour can cause serious illness. The report confirms that E. Coli bacteria—known to live in hamburger meat and leafy greens—can also be found in arid hosts, such as flour. Marguerite Neill, an associate professor of medicine at Brown University Medical School and an expert on food-borne illnesses, who was not involved in the study, also advised people to wash their hands in hot, soapy water after handling flour.

    Minnesota tabby becomes internet celebrity. Max is an orange tabby cat in St. Paul who just wants to roam around—but especially in the McAllister University library. Alas, he cannot. While his owner, who lives across the street from the school, has let him peruse the campus, Max wasn't allowed in the library, where he could cause trouble and set off a staff member's allergies. To keep him out, the library put up a sign on the door to explain the situation—and it went viral. Check out Karin Brulliad's report in the Washington Post that recounts the feline's rise to fame.

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